Wash Me and I Will Be Whiter Than Snow (Psalm 51:1-15)

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This is a guest post from my 15-year old daughter, Reese Couture. She wrote this devotion for a Kentucky WMU Acteens retreat that she helped lead.

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Sometimes the best feeling is to get clean. After a long day of hard work, whatever that work may be, it is satisfying to shower. Being greasy or sweaty or dirty probably isn’t one of your favorite things to be, but feeling fresh at the end of the day might be. No matter how gross or smelly you get, you are only a bath away from being comfortable again. In Psalm 51, we read David’s cry to God for a spiritual bath.

When you start reading these verses, you are in the heat of King David’s conversation with God. So much passion and intention are in these words, it seems like too much to unpack. In order to fully understand what is going on, we need to rewind. David was one of the most remembered kings of Israel. He was described as “a man after God’s own heart.” Unfortunately, he is remembered for both the good and the bad; Psalm 51 comes after the bad.

Long story short, King David saw a woman one day named Bathsheba and he instantly knew he wanted her. Bathsheba was a beautiful woman, but she was married to Uriah, an elite in Israel’s army. Since David had kingly powers, he decided to use them to get what he wanted. He was sexually immoral, he lied, he murdered, and he caused unnecessary pain. The prophet, Nathan, confronted David about what he did, which is where these verses pick up.

There are so many things that are asked of God here: to have mercy, to blot out transgressions, to wash away iniquity, and to cleanse from sin. The magnificent thing is that God can (and will) do all of those things for us, we just need to ask Him. His unfailing love will never run out, no matter how many times we come back to it and ask for it again. Have you been corrected by someone and all you want to do is just tell them all of the things they have done wrong? It is an unfair feeling for someone to seemingly place themselves above you when you are equal. The only person 100% justified in judging you and correcting you is God. He is 100% perfect. When you sin, you are sinning against God and His commandments. Being shown by Him what you are doing wrong can be a scary feeling that makes you feel small, but it is truly such a blessing.

Sin is a paralyzing feeling; it comes little by little until you are trapped. The scary thing is, Satan has been doing this for years and he knows the best way to get you. You come to this point where you can’t escape regret or guilt and it just feels like your sins are permanently hanging over you. You are absolutely devastated at yourself and it feels like you can’t do anything to shake the feeling. David was at this point. He was mourning and grieving, so clearly upset at what he had done. That’s not the end! We don’t just get left at this cliffhanger where our main character is at his all-time low. He asked God for forgiveness. He wanted to experience joy and gladness; he wanted to rejoice. David didn’t throw himself a sin pity party and wallow in his wrongdoings, he was able to have freedom when he gave his wrongdoings to God.

Renew and restore are some of the most beautiful words. They present a new outlook on life and create a new chapter. David asked God to renew a steadfast spirit within him and to not take His Spirit or presence away from David. Once we have God, He is with us forever. To be made new in Christ is something so spectacular; everytime we mess up, we can experience that over and over. It isn’t a one-time-only feeling. David also asks for his joy of salvation to be restored and to have a sustained, willing spirit. The encounters had with God cause great joy in Christians’ lives. It is the best feeling in the world to be filled with the Spirit. When we ask for our same old, boring interpretation of life to be transformed into a joyful outlook, things radically change. Having God’s restoration in your life will open up a pathway for you to be able to teach others how they can be restored as well.

In verse six, David talks about God’s desire for faithfulness. Life is busy, it’s just a fact. Every corner you turn there is something else competing for your time and attention. It gets so overwhelming. God wants us to give Him our schedules and focus. This is obviously so hard to do, but our Father really wants to be a part of every aspect of our lives. He wants not only the Church You, but the Work You, and the Social Life You, He even wants the Saturday Night Movie and Ice Cream You. When you give every part of your life to God, He becomes the most important thing in every part of your life. It is a full-circle moment because when God is at the center of attention in everything we do, we are using our energy to please Him. That in-turn lessens the tolerated sins that occur when we place God on the backburner in our lives.

Worshipping God when He once again helps us is so important. The reason we have the ability to praise God is so we can do just that. He gives us opportunities again and again to freely receive His compassion that we do not deserve whatsoever! Not only do we need forgiveness once, but we need everyday when we struggle on our path to righteousness. I think it is especially hard for a Christian to feel trapped in their sins because they have already been originally forgiven. It can feel like uncharted waters. You need to remember we all struggle and we will all always need God’s unfailing love and compassion. You can always turn around and be renewed and restored. Start a new chapter in your life where you are closer to God than you ever have been. Stop procrastinating and take a spiritual shower because you know you need one. He will wash you and make you whiter than snow.

 

 

Why Do I Have to Wait?

waitng by the roadWaiting seems like a waste of time.   It makes us feel unproductive, ineffective, and sometimes worthless.  It wears us down. Like treading water, waiting dulls our senses and saps our strength.

No one looks forward to waiting.  We pay large amounts of money and go to great lengths to avoid it.  We judge our satisfaction of products, places, and even people by how long they make us wait.  Patience may be virtue, but only in a bygone era.

Recently, I realized that waiting is a major theme in the Bible.  Many of the major characters in the Bible had to wait for days years, and even decades for their situations to be resolved and God’s promises to be fulfilled.

Noah waited for over a year on a boat filled with wild animals for the flood waters to recede (Genesis 7:6, 8:13-14).

Abraham and Sarah waited for 25 years for the birth of their special son, Isaac (Genesis 12:4, 21:5).

Joseph waited for two full years for the chief cupbearer to remember him and get him out of jail (Genesis 41:1).

Moses watched his father-in-law’s sheep on the back side of the desert for 40 years waiting for God’s plan to unfold (Exodus 2:23, Acts 7:30).

Job waited for seven days and seven nights for a comforting word from his so called “friends” and even longer for a comforting word from God (Job 2:12, 38:1).

<strong>David waited about 15 years to ascend to the throne of Israel (1 Samuel 16:1-13; 2 Samuel 5:1-5).  Mary and Martha watched their brother, Lazarus, die and then waited four agonizing days for Jesus to come to them (John 11:1-46).

The Apostles waited for three dark days before Jesus appeared to the them and commissioned them as witnesses (John 20:19-23).

The Apostle Paul waited for three years in the desert before starting his ministry to the Gentiles (Galatians 1:17-18).

In addition, the prophets waited for God’s judgment to fall (Jonah 4:5).  The Wisdom literature contains repeated references to patience and waiting (Psalms 27:14, Proverbs 15: 18, Ecclesiastics  7:8).  Patience is even listed as one of the nine fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

So what lessons can we learn from this survey of waiting in the Bible?

1.  Waiting is normal.

Following God does not mean you will have a wait-free life.  In fact, it guarantees that you will have to wait as He works out His perfect plan for you.

2.  Waiting is beneficial.

Waiting builds character as you learn to depend on God and His promises.  Waiting brings perspective to your life as you view things from the lens of eternity.

3.  Waiting is difficult

There are no short-cuts to patience.  Waiting is hard work, even if it feels like no work is getting done. 

Can you name another lesson we can learn from tracing the theme of waiting through the Bible?