Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7
Most people love a “white Christmas”—a blanket of fresh snow that has gently fallen like a silent white shroud. But why is snow white when it’s actually just made of crystals of ice? The reason is, when light waves of different frequencies (colors) hit the ice crystals, they are reflected off the snow so all the colors blend to create “white”—the color that results when all color frequencies are combined.
While the writers of the Bible may not have understood the science of white snow, they understood this: Snow was the whitest, or purest, thing they knew. Pure white snow doesn’t have any marks or stains or blemishes, and thus they equated the image with sinlessness and holiness. Daniel saw the Ancient of Days wearing a garment “white as snow” (Daniel 7:9). John saw Jesus with hair “as white as snow” (Revelation 1:14). When we see our sin, we know we need to be made as “white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).
The more we see the holiness of God, the more we become aware of our need to be made pure as well (Psalm 51:7).
The purer your habits, the closer to God you will come. Ravi Zacharias
Psalm 51 – John Piper
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
We were almost home when I noticed it: the needle of our car’s temperature gauge was rocketing up. As we pulled in, I killed the engine and hopped out. Smoke wafted from the hood. The engine sizzled like bacon. I backed the car up a few feet and found a puddle beneath: oil. Instantly, I knew what had happened: The head gasket had blown.
I groaned. We’d just sunk money into other expensive repairs. Why can’t things just work? I grumbled bitterly. Why can’t things just stop breaking?
Can you relate? Sometimes we avert one crisis, solve one problem, pay off one big bill, only to face another. Sometimes those troubles are much bigger than an engine self-destructing: an unexpected diagnosis, an untimely death, a terrible loss.
In those moments, we yearn for a world less broken, less full of trouble. That world, Jesus promised, is coming. But not yet: “In this world you will have trouble,” He reminded His disciples in John 16. “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (v. 33). Jesus spoke in that chapter about grave troubles, such as persecution for your faith. But such trouble, He taught, would never have the last word for those who hope in Him.
Troubles small and large may dog our days. But Jesus’ promise of a better tomorrow with Him encourages us not to let our troubles define our lives today.
Reflect & Pray
What does it look like for you to surrender your troubles to God? What might you use as a prompt to remind yourself to offer up your anxieties to Him throughout the day?
Father, troubles never seem far away. But when they’re close, You’re even closer. Please help me to cling to You in trust today.
Have you ever read about sacrifice in the Old Testament and wondered what it was for? The only payment for sin is death (Rom. 6:23), and the Lord graciously allowed animals to be offered as a substitute for human lives. So people regularly brought sacrifices to God as atonement. However, it was only a temporary solution and had to be repeated often.
In order for mankind to be eternally freed from the guilt of sin, God required that the once-for-all sacrifice had to be completely pure (Lev. 22:20). What’s more, it could not be an animal. After all, the guilt belonged to man; therefore, the world was in need of a perfect and sinless person to be offered.
What an impossible situation: Man was responsible to pay the price, but God alone was capable of sinlessness. The only possible solution was for Jesus Christ—who was wholly God and wholly man—to offer His life on our behalf. Unlike the blood of bulls and lambs, Christ’s blood was a fully sufficient one-time payment for all sin.
This is why we say that we’re saved by the blood of Christ. Jesus did what we could not—He set us free from our sins. Consider the immensity of the sacrifice He made on your behalf. Have you thanked Him lately?
“Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.” (Psalm 119:41)
The Hebrew word hesed, used here for “mercy,” has a breadth of meaning. Its basic connotation is “kindness” and is most often used in God’s patient dealing with the nation of Israel through their long, and often rebellious, history. The most frequent contextual use focuses on God’s withholding judgment during specific times or events rather than executing the just sentence demanded by disobedience to His laws.
It is in that sense that “salvation” is often connected to mercy. God “rescues” a person or nation from the consequences of foolish or rebellious actions because He is merciful: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
This section of Psalm 119 clearly states that these mercies are according to the Word of God. No event dilutes the holiness of God. No judgment withheld violates the innate nature of the thrice-holy Creator. Mercy may delay judgment for the sinner, and justification through redemption will eliminate judgment for the sinner, but God’s holiness does not abrogate the law. The sentence is carried out—either on the sinner or on the Lord Jesus Christ in the place of the sinner (Proverbs 11:21).
The psalmist thus praised the basis for God’s mercies, told of his trust and hope in the Scriptures, and then gave a series of promises to the Lord that marked his own commitment for obedience (vv. 44-48). As the stanza closes, the psalmist promised he would lift up his hands in public praise of the Word and meditate in private as well.
Would God that all of God’s children emulate the heart of this dear brother from the past. HMM III