Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Planting Hyssop!

I am not much of a gardener, as my yard is proof of that. It’s not that I don’t like to do it or that I don’t like the results, I just don’t like the bugs and the heat of the summer. So, I don’t spend a whole lot of time out there in my garden. But today, the Lord had me learning about a shrub that He used throughout the Old Testament, He had me learn about a plant. (Knowing I am not much of a gardener didn’t deter Him one bit!) David, the king, psalmist and “a man after God’s own heart” wrote a Psalm about repentance which is where I landed this morning.
Psalm 51 was written by David after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba, while her husband was out fighting the enemy, found she was pregnant with his child and had her husband killed so that David could cover up his sin. We can’t hide from God. Even though we try very hard to hide, God always knows where to find us. Nathan, the prophet of God came to David and told him that God knew of his sin, and that He was not happy with David. (2 Samuel 12:1) David, knowing he had sinned against God went and wrote this Psalm.
It was in verse 7 of Psalm 51 that the Lord had me stop and investigate. “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Hyssop- what exactly does purging with Hyssop have to do with making one clean? To understand the significance of Hyssop, we need to understand the depths of our dirt, and why we need to be made clean.
We have a Holy God, a God who cannot dwell with sin. Way back in Genesis, when God created Adam and Eve, He created them to have fellowship with Him, to live with Him, to walk with Him, to talk with Him, to have a personal, intimate relationship with them. And they all did, they were all happy to dwell with one another. The beginnings of Genesis tell us that they walked together in the cool of the day. That gives us a good picture of the desire God has towards you, and what you were created for. He desires to walk with you, talk with you and have a relationship with you. But something happened to that wonderful harmony that they were all living in. It is called sin. Sin, is our disobedience, our rebellion of what God has told us to do. (That is another lesson for another day. When we break one of the Ten Commandments, we have sinned- and not one of us can say we have not sinned. Read Romans)
God had to do something, Adam and Eve were created to live with Him, to be with Him, but God being a holy God could no longer have that fellowship because they sinned against Him and ate the fruit from the tree which He specifically told them not to do. (Sound familiar?) God did not want to cast Adam and Eve out of fellowship with Him, He was heart-broken. He desired to have His children as close to Him as possible- but God cannot dwell where sin resides. So what was He to do? He provided a way for all His children to have that personal, one on one, intimate relationship with Him- He provided Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins. So what does all of this have to do with Hyssop, a plant that grew everywhere and all over everything?
Hyssop is a plant that was used in the Old Testament to clean with. It was kinda like our laundry detergent today. We use Tide, Gain, Era, etc.  to make our dirty clothes clean- the people of the Old Testament used it to make their garments clean. There is an object lesson that we use in children’s ministry to teach them the concept of “being washed clean”. We take a clean plastic bottle and fill it with water, and then we add a drop of blue food coloring. We tell the children that this represents our souls, we then add more blue food coloring, and the water gets a little darker. As we continue to add the coloring, we explain to them that this is sin, as we sin against God our souls get darker and darker and we get farther and farther away from God. (Eventually the water turns black) But, there is hope! We take an eye dropper full of bleach and begin to add the bleach to the water. As the bleach takes effect the water becomes clear and looks clean again. We explain to them that the bleach is Jesus Christ’s blood and that only He can make us white as snow and cleanse us from our sins. Just as the Hyssop was a way for the Old Testament believers to get clean, and have that fellowship with their God again- Jesus Christ and His sacrifice is the only way that we can be clean.
Hyssop was used to clean up the dirt that attached itself to the body and to the garments of our Old Testament family. Every day I sin, every day I fall short of the glory of God, every day I have to ask to be washed clean, by the blood of Jesus Christ. There is no sin that is too great for our God to clean. We use stain remover, laundry detergent and everything else we can imagine to get our clothing clean and fit to wear again. Jesus is the ultimate detergent, what He did for us on that cross was enough to wash every living soul clean, all we have to do is accept it and believe. No scrubbing or soaking for us! The Lord Jesus Christ did it in one day!
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow,” Isaiah 1:18. No matter what you have done in your past, no matter where you are right now in your life, the Lord Jesus Christ wants to take His True Hyssop and cleanse you, creating in you a new and clean garment- one that He can embrace and be a part of.
We all want to go to heaven; I do not know anyone that willingly wants to go to hell. But every day we are faced with a choice- we can either choose Christ and what He has done for us, or we can choose the alternative. God desires to have a relationship with you, but He can’t until you allow the blood of Jesus Christ, the True Hyssop to wash you clean.
It is your choice, but for me- I will go to the garden of Christ and choose His hyssop. I will bow my knees and proclaim as David did, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7. Amen
I think I will plant some Hyssop this year!