Sunday May 17, 2020
Better Than Soap and Water
“Wash your hands!” We have heard this from childhood. Before you eat, wash your hands. Before you touch that, wash your hands. Before you get sick, wash your hands. Health experts have been telling us for years that hand washing is crucial for physical health and well-being. Today, it may even be life-saving. But way before the “experts” recommended clean hands, the writers of the scriptures declared a greater more powerful truth: having spiritually clean hands leads to eternal life.
Yet the righteous will hold to his way, and he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger. (Job 17:9)
Now we know that this is not speaking of our physical hands, it is a metaphor of our spiritual lives. There are two Hebrew words for the word clean with two very distinct meanings: taher, “to be bright and pure, sound, clear, unadulterated, uncontaminated,” and naqiy, “to be blameless and guiltless.” One has to do with how we appear in the spirit realm and one has to do with our standing with God. (See WORD WISDOM for a deeper study of appear)
Job uses the word taher that describes our appearance. It denotes an innocence and a holiness. We can use all the hand sanitizer in the world, but if our true being and our very nature are filthy dirty, what profit do we have? But if our spirits are washed we shall only grow “stronger and stronger!” When the Lord looks upon us and sees hands that are beautiful and bright, He fills those same hands with infinite power.
The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His judgments were before me, and I did not put away His statutes from me. I was also blameless before Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His sight. (Ps.18:20-24)
David tells us in Psalm 24 that the only way we can be in the holy presence of God is to also have clean hands, but he uses the word naqiy.
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Ps.24:3-5)
As God again looks at our clean hands (our inner being) and finds them blameless, He invites us into His holy presence…into the midst of His holy habitation. Power and position…we receive both with clean hands.
So how do we accomplish this holy hand washing? David gives us the answer, “I will wash my hands in innocence and go about Your altar.” (Ps.26:6) This word innocence means, “clearness; the absence of guilt.” It is most often used with the word blood. Innocent blood is the only way to have clean hands. Now wait…here it comes…this is what Judas called the blood of Jesus.
Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” (Matt.27:3-4)
We are to wash our hands in the crimson flow of the cross. And once our hands are clean, we have the power and position to use our hands to bless (Gen.48:14-15), to impart the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:19), to pray for one another (Acts 6:6), to heal (Lk.4:40), and to praise our God and King! (Ps.134:2)
Jesus tells us that if our hand offends us we are to cut it off (Mk.9:43). It is better, He says, to enter eternal life crippled than to be cast in to Hell with both hands. Perhaps it would be much more prudent and beneficial to simply keep our hands clean…washed in Jesus. Amen.