Cleanse me4.  Cleanse me

           “. . . and cleanse me from my sin.”      – Psalm 51:2b

Many of the psalms follow a pattern which is very much in evidence in Psalm 51.   Verses often have a Part A and a Part B.   (You may have noticed that my notations from our devotionals thus far have been Psalm 51:1a, 51:1b, 52:2a and now 52:2b.)   The Part A phrase makes a statement, and then Part B develops that thought further.   What does it mean for God to have mercy?  God blots out our transgressions.   How does God wash us of our iniquities?  God cleanses us from our sin.  Watch this pattern as we continue thru Psalm 51.

An image that came to my mind initially when I thought about the cleansing of sin was that of Shout! or some other stain remover that we apply to our clothes.   Some stains come out readily.  Others are more stubborn.   But considering our verb of the day — cleanse — brought me to another passage of scripture — Paul’s second letter to Timothy.    In this passage, Paul uses the  image of dinnerware and other utensils:

In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary.  All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work.  Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.  Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.  And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness.  (2 Timothy 2:20-25)

Paul provides a number of  suggestions in this passage for how we can cleanse our lives.   Do any seem relevant for you?  In what ways do we need to cleanse our lives?

Psalm 51 had focused on what GOD will do to remove our sin whereas Paul focuses on what WE can do.   And undoubtedly we can do much.   But certainly Paul’s prescription for OUR actions is premised on our relying on God to give us the wherewithal, the guidance, the strength to live the life that God intends for us.


Dear God,

Help me to make the changes in my life that will honor you.  And where I run out of steam or energy or vision, please take over and cleanse me.



(Note:  My next Lenten post, for the 5th day, will be on Monday.)