Grace For The Journey
One of the most beloved chapters in the Bible for many Christians is Psalm 51. This chapter relates King David’s confession after his sinful encounter with Bathsheba and subsequent murder of her husband, Uriah. Verse 7 contains a statement that rings somewhat strange to our 21st Century ears: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
Having been confronted by the prophet Nathan, David was filled with an overwhelming godly sorrow for having sinned against Bathsheba, Uriah, all of Israel . . . but most importantly, against God. With a broken and contrite heart David cried, “Purge me with hyssop.”
After reading this, maybe you are asking . . .
What in the world is hyssop
Why did David want to be purged with it?
Hyssop is a small, perennial garden herb of the mint family, with small, violet-blue or sometimes pink or white flowers. The hyssop of the Bible (also in 1 Kings 4:33 and John 19:29) may have been a similar plant. But . . .
Knowing about the hyssop plant
Will not provide insight
Into David’s heartfelt confession.
Knowing Old Testament history will.
David’s prayer recalls the time of the Passover, when the angel of death struck down the firstborn of Egypt while God protected His people. The Bible describes this procedure in Exodus 12:21-33, “Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.’”
David was undoubtedly remembering God’s instruction to “take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood [of the lamb].” The bloody doorposts were a sign for the angel of death to pass over the homes containing the firstborn of Israel. Frankly acknowledging the reality of the depravity of his own heart, David cried out to the only One who could help him – God.
David needed protection.
David needed forgiveness.
David needed cleansing.
David needed what only God can provide.
We, too, need protection, forgiveness, and cleansing; and we have it in the once-for-all shed blood of the Lamb of God. The first Passover was but a shadow of that great Passover, when Jesus Christ would lay down His life for sinners. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we can cry out with David, “Purge me with hyssop,” knowing that our protection is promised, our forgiveness is freely given, and our cleansing is continual.
David had the promise.
We have the Person,
His name is Jesus Christ.
Because of His saving blood, we are finally and fully clean from all our sin in the sight of God . . . He sees us as whiter than snow!
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”