Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7
When we were newly married, my wife and I decided we would spend a few hours on Saturday morning cleaning our house. I started by straightening our bedroom, picking up things that were out of place and returning them to their spot. She, on the other hand, immediately pulled all the shoes out of her closet and piled them up in the middle of the bedroom floor. Needless to say, I was confused.
My wife explained to me that while I could straighten everything in the house, in order for it to be clean she would have to clear the floor enough to vacuum and wipe down the baseboards, starting with the closet. She didn’t want it straight. She wanted it clean.
There is a major difference between those two ideas. In our text for today, the Psalmist doesn’t ask to be rearranged in a pleasing fashion, he asks to be clean. More than an exterior clean, he wants the spiritual cleansing associated with the hyssop plant – famous in ancient times for its fragrance. And he doesn’t want a partial cleansing. He wants to be whiter than snow.
Clean and straightened are not the same thing.
A straightened life has things where they are supposed to be.
A clean life may or may not be well arranged but it rests on a base of purity.
A straightened life is good looking on the outside.
A clean life is whiter than snow on the inside.
A straightened life is fraught with concern that the inside you will be found out.
A clean life is humble but at rest.
One can readily identify someone whose life is ordered or straightened.
Knowing who is clean requires a deeper relationship.
There is nothing wrong with having a straightened house or a straightened life. But if your life is well ordered but unclean, you are in the worst of all possible places – too healthy looking to be treated but too sick to survive. Insist on purity, my friends. Make whatever mess you have to but clear the clutter off the floor long enough to get clean. Confess, apologize, repent, and look to the Lord to make you whiter than snow.