Friday, February 1, 2013
Psalm 51:7 – “Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
It snowed last night, not a lot but enough so that school would be closed. School has been out a lot lately due to floods, ice, and snow. I’m not a fan of floods or ice but I love snow.
Snow is one of those things that arouses clear feelings in people. You either love it or hate it, there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. I celebrate when it snows and I know others that do to, but some people just look at us and say, “you all are strange. Why would anyone love snow?”
I’ve actually spent a lot of time contemplating that question and I think I’ve found the answer. Growing up my dad was a teacher and a football coach, which meant during the fall I didn’t see him a whole lot. In the winter time when it snowed however I did. I was home from school, he was home from school and so on snow days we got to spend a lot of time together.
I also love snow now because it gives me opportunities to spend time with my wife and boys. My wife teaches and my oldest son is in school, so when there is a snow day I get to spend time with them as well. The snow last night certainly wasn’t enough to go sleigh riding in or build a snowman, or even have a snowball fight. But it does give us time together and family time is so desperately needed in our world today.
So I’m thankful for snow for those reasons but as I pondered the question of why I like snow so much, I came up with another answer, a deeper answer. Believe it or not a more meaningful answer: I like snow because it reminds me of the most important thing in the world – the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
David in the Old Testament was known as a man after God’s own heart, but he also struggled with sin. He fell into sin with Bathsheeba and then in an effort to cover up his sin he had her husband killed. Then in Psalm 51 he writes about the weight of guilt that he feels, “deliver me from blood guiltiness”, he cries. “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.” He is saying I don’t hear or experience joy and gladness anymore. All I feel is guilt. God hadn’t broken his bones, but the guilt of what he had done made him feel like his bones were being crushed within him. He was a sinner, he was guilty, and he so desperately needed to be forgiven.
We may not have done what David did. Had an affair, been deceptive, and ultimately have committed murder, but we are sinners to aren’t we? Sinners who are guilty, and we just like David need to be forgiven.
David cried out, “wash me and I will be whiter than snow.” In other words my sins have stained my life God, please take the guilt and the stain away. Cover me with your love and forgiveness just like the snow covers the ground. Bring freedom from guilt, bring forgiveness.
We need the same thing don’t we? We need the forgiveness of God. We need Him to take our sins away and the only way that is possible is through His blood. On the cross Jesus brought forgiveness and freedom. Snow may be a winter time event, but it reminds me of something that we celebrate in the spring, Easter and the cross of Jesus. For on that cross He suffered, bled, and died, so that He could wash us whiter than snow.
John Stott says “we can’t see the cross as something done for us until we see the cross as something done by us.” In other words it was our sins that put Jesus on the cross. That is the depth of our sin, but yet because He loves us He willingly went there. And while hanging on that old rugged, wretched cross he said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” He said that not only about those who crucified him but He said it about us. We put Him on the cross, but He extends His forgiveness to us. He loves us that much. Enough to truly wash us whiter than snow.
So when it snows don’t just celebrate or grumble. Don’t just stay in and stay warm or go out and make a snowman. Don’t just pray for the sunshine to make it go away or make snow cream, take time to remember the Gospel, to remember what Jesus did just for you. He shed His precious blood to wash you whiter than snow.