“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalms 51:7 ESV).
At the time of this writing we are having a snow storm. It’s mostly slowed down now, but it was snowing so heavily that we were allowed to leave work early. It took twice as long to get home as usual, and I went straight to work with the snow blower when I arrived.
As I worked I was thinking about a topic for this post. Naturally, the first thing that came to mind was snow! As I age, snow has lost a lot of the appeal it had in my younger days. Once a cause for rejoicing, snow is now mostly thought of as work. But this evening it reminded me of something far more endearing.
Snow has always been used to represent the brightest and most pure white. More than that, it has been used to refer to righteousness, purity.
Psalm 51 is David’s cry to God for forgiveness after Nathan the prophet confronted him about his sin with Bathsheba. In it, David acknowledges his sinfulness and God’s righteousness. He understands that forgiveness is only found in Him.
The first part of Psalm 51:7 says, “purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean.” Hyssop is a plant that was often used in Hebrew purification rituals. Nearly all uses of the word in scripture are in regard to purification.
David reiterates his plea in the second half of the verse, “wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” The thought that comes to my mind is a condition called snow blindness. It occurs when the sun is shining on the white snow and the eyes are overwhelmed with the intense light. Snow by itself is brilliantly white, but when the sun reflects off that white snow it is “whiter than snow.”
In a day or two the snow banks alongside the roads will be sullied by sand and dirt thrown on them by the plows. It reminds me of our righteousness. Isaiah 64:6 says that “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (ESV). Yes, we’ve been made righteous through faith in Christ, but we continue to sin. It’s like spilling something on a white shirt.
But when we call out to God as did David, He forgives us and makes us so clean that we are whiter than snow.
Blessings on your day!