Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Fresh New Canvas For The New Year

While I don't necessarily like the cold temperatures required to bring about a snowy day, I must say, I do so love the brilliant white beauty of freshly fallen snow. It is so perfectly designed to fall at the time of year when we are all thinking of New Years resolutions, fresh beginnings, and a chance for a do-over.

The snow makes me think of all the ugly of the old year being washed away in the the blanketing of snow...as if it were a slate wiped clean. A fresh canvas lying before us, clean and white, ready to take on all the colors of the New Year. Oh the possibilities that lie before us!!

This fresh white blanket covering the dirt and the grime of the dead leaves that had fallen to the ground remind me of something else...my own dirt, wrong actions, selfish behavior...sin. But only as a reminder that Jesus has stepped into this world to wash away my sin, and yours...to cover over the depravity of our human nature and offer forgiveness, redemption and restoration to our souls. I am so thankful for this reminder!. Not only do I have a fresh new year before me, but a freshly cleansed spirit and soul, as His blood washes over me...redeeming me...restoring me to the purpose He created me to fulfill.

I'm reminded of the old hymn:

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole
I want Thee forever to live in my soul;
Break down every idol, cast our every foe;
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

Whiter than snow;l
Yes, whiter than snow
 Now wash me and I shall be
Whiter than snow. 

In Psalm 51, David acknowledges his own need to be clean before God after being confronted by the prophet Nathan about his act of committing adultery with Bathsheba. He begins by pleading for God's mercy and grace.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 
In verse 7 David references the imagery of  fresh fallen snow, as he goes on to plead:
            Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be whiter than snow.  

Can you imagine? Whiter than fresh fallen snow?  David certainly had some heavy duty sins to be covered. Not only had he committed adultery, but he essentially had a man killed in this lustful pursuit.  (For the full story see 2 Samuel chapters 11 & 12).  He had really blown it and knew there was nothing he himself could do to wipe out the sin he had committed. He knew the significance of the purging with hyssop.

In Leviticus, God had the priests use hyssop, as a paint brush of sorts...a purification tool. Hyssop was used in the ceremonial cleansing of both people and houses. It was also the instrument used to apply lamb's blood to the doorposts so that the angel of death would 'pass over' them...marking God's people as pure and not deserving of the punishment that was about to be dealt to the Egyptians (Exodus 12:22).

 I find it especially noteworthy that as Jesus hung on the cross, the very moment He chose to utter the words, " it is finished' and breath His last breath, was immediately after he was offered the drink of wine vinegar lifted up to his mouth on the stalk of the hyssop plant (John 19:28-30). I don't believe this to be coincidence. The ceremonial purification cleansing with the blood and the hyssop branch, the painting of the doorposts, the last moments of Jesus earthly life...all of this is was merely the
foreshadowing of the cleansing that is available to us to each and every one of us through Jesus Christ.

As the hyssop branch was extended as an instrument of purification...so Jesus' life, death, burial, and resurrection is the only way through which we can be forgiven of our sins and given a fresh canvas
on which to begin new life.  We need only follow David's example. Acknowledge our need for forgiveness, turn away from our sin, and reach out to take the 'branch' that is offered.

I will continue to take the branch. To accept the fresh white canvas on which to begin again in the pursuit of His purpose for my life in this New Year.

I'm linking up with other bloggers for  #TestimonyTuesday. Check it out here:
Holly Barrett