Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7
“Wash me!” Though those words weren’t written on my vehicle, they could have been. So, off to the car wash I went, and so did other drivers who wanted relief from the grimy leftovers from salted roads following a recent snowfall. The lines were long, and the service was slow. But it was worth the wait. I left with a clean vehicle and, for compensation for service delay, the car wash was free of charge!
Getting cleaned at someone else’s expense—that’s the gospel of Jesus Christ. God, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, has provided forgiveness for our sins. Who among us hasn’t felt the need “to bathe” when the “dirt and grime” of life have clung to us? When we’re stained by selfish thoughts or actions that harm ourselves or others and rob us of peace with God? Psalm 51 is the cry of David when temptation had triumphed in his life. When confronted by a spiritual mentor about his sin (see 2 Samuel 12), he prayed a “Wash me!” prayer: “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow” (v. 7). Feeling dirty and guilty? Make your way to Jesus and remember these words: ”If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
What does it mean for you to cry out to God, “Wash me”? What’s keeping you from asking for His free forgiveness and cleansing through Jesus now?
God of heaven, You see every stain in my life that needs to be dealt with. Wash me, forgive me, and help me to honor You.
Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of confession for his sins. Regarding his sin with Bathsheba, there’s important cultural background that Westerners may miss. First, as king, David had absolute authority and could do whatever he wanted with impunity (except for the ever-watching God). So, Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, would have had no voice or rights in this matter. Second, the primary theme of the event is a shame-honor contest between David and Uriah. Shame-honor contests always took place publicly, hence Uriah’s public refusal to go home and give apparent legitimacy to his wife’s pregnancy. Third, after Bathsheba is introduced (2 Samuel 11:3), she’s no longer named until the conception of Solomon (12:24). In between, she’s always referred to as “the wife of Uriah”—no doubt underlining the author’s intent of exposing the heinous nature of David’s actions both with her and with Uriah.