Tuesday 23 September 2014

If only transformation were as easy as finding the magic wand and waving over the head while repeating the incantation, “Abra-cadabra.” And then, poof, Clark Kent turns into Superman, the frog becomes a prince, the sinner is transformed into a saint.  But it doesn’t work that way.  Transformation is a process and it involves a lot of scrubbing!

King David had some pleasure, no doubt, in the arms of Bathsheba.  And in some carnal way, she made him happy in those moments of adultery.  And there is no doubt David felt some relief from his stress when he received news that Bathsheba’s husband had been killed in battle.  Perhaps David was thinking that Bathsheba was really the woman he should have married from the beginning.  Maybe she was more than just physically beautiful; maybe she really did make David happy.  And doesn’t God want His children to be happy?  After all, what is wrong with our personal happiness?

While David lay in the arms of Bathsheba he didn’t have any idea of how his sin would hurt the nation.  He couldn’t see the day that his son Absalom would rise up against him in a civil war.  That more than 20,000 men would die in battle, all because of his transgression.  David just didn’t see how a moment of pleasure would cost so much.

When David was finally confronted with his sin by the prophet Nathan, he cried out to God, “Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.”

To “wash” in Hebrew literally means “to trample with the feet.”  It paints a picture of the way in which clothes were washed in that time.  The women would bring their clothes to a source of water  and literally stamp on the wet clothes as a means of washing them.

Far too often we seek the easy road to transformation, the path of least resistance.  However, true change in character comes at a great price.  The Bible in no way advocates the ascetic lifestyle of self-flagellation.  Nevertheless, the book of Hebrews says, « For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. »  (12:11 ESV)

Anything worth having is worth paying the price to get.  And personal transformation comes at a price.  God doesn’t want to just apply to your soul a little “stain remover.”  He wants to get out heaven’s Brillo pads and scrub away the built-up gook until your soul reflects His moral purity.

Jesus said, “If someone throws himself on the rock (of truth) he will be broken.  But if the rock falls on him, he will be crushed.” (See Matthew 21:44)  It is far better to be broken, then to be crushed.  If by your own volition you will throw yourself onto the Word of God’s truth, it will hurt a little.  But if you hide and pretend that nothing is wrong and the Word of Truth falls on you, it will hurt a lot.

So we plead with the God of truth and encouragement, “Wash me.  All of me.  I don’t want this dirt any longer in my soul.  I want to be as white as snow.  I want to pure and holy.”

We are only in the first few days of the fast.  But today I want to encourage you to go deeper with God.  Ask Him to shine the light of His Spirit into the dark regions of your soul.  When God reveals a weakness or a sin, He always gives the grace necessary to deal with it.  So take the list you started yesterday and lay your hands on it, professing the graces of God.  Make this declaration: God wash me today.  Take a hard brush to my soul and cleanse me from everything that You dislike.  Then, I will be whiter than snow.

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