Being Made Clean

Psalm 51

Focus: Psalm 51:7

After King David’s huge moral failure (murder and adultery), he discovers how desperate he really is. David’s failure breached his relationship with God as well as the relationship to Israel and the relationship to his own family and friends. So often I have heard that one’s personal choices are a private matter and should not affect public privileges. In the family of God, that is far from true. Private choices make or break an entire community.

It is important to recognize David’s response to his shortcomings. He initially ignored his problem, but through the gentle care of the prophet Nathan, David faced his wrongs. At that point, he did not run away to isolation. Rather, he humbly turned to God for restoration to be made clean. He recognized that he had a heart that had acted in rebellion against God thereby causing huge problems. His only hope was in God’s steadfast love (51:1). In the New Testament, this love is called “grace.”

David prayed to be purged with hyssop. Hyssop was used as the tool of applying the blood of sacrifice to an object for its sanctification. It applied the blood of atonement that covers over sin and provides cleansing. David needed to be sanctified through the means of God’s gracious mercy.

If we are all honest with ourselves, we are all just like David. We all mess up at some point. Some more often than others. But we all have a choice. When we breach our relationship with God and with others, how will we respond? In isolation and neglect? Or will we humbly seek God’s grace to provide for our shortcomings?

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