“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
“Bring back the new again, I want to see you again.
Bring back the way it was, When we began.
“How did I miss the road? When did I lose the glow?
Where did the wonder go? Bring back the new again.”
Gordon Jensen, “Bring Back the New Again”
I was introduced to this song on a youth retreat when I was in high school and it put words to a feeling that I had experienced on more than one occasion. And as a minister, I have spoken to more people than I can count who have expressed a similar sentiment. “I want to go back to that feeling I had when I was a new believer. Where did that go?”
I believe that God gives us that initial exhilaration at ‘spiritual birth’ not only as a byproduct of having the weight of sin lifted off of us and the acceptance into His eternal family, but also to carry us through the initial bumps that jounce us out of any naive thoughts we might carry that life will be nothing but smooth sailing now that we’ve crossed over to the Lord’s team. Once we get past that misconception, we no longer depend on our feelings to remind us of God’s love and our unshakeable place in His grasp.
And though our spiritual standing isn’t based on our feelings moment to moment, there is a noticeable difference in the feeling we have when we are right relationship and fellowship with the Father. It’s like sliding your tongue over your teeth right after getting your braces off!
I imagine David, in deep thought after his gut check with Nathan, wondering how far he had wandered from the zeal of that young shepherd boy, passionate about His God. In this psalm of repentance, David knew he needed a total spiritual overhaul and in order for that to take place, he needed a time of deep cleansing.
David referenced a desire for ritual cleansing. A purification ritual tied to worship was the sprinkling of hyssop dipped into water over a person. This was an outward symbol of cleansing. We do something similar in our worship when we come to the altar and kneel or follow through in believer’s baptism.
Secondly, he asked God to turn away from his sin. He recognized that only God could get their relationship past this roadblock. There was nothing David could do on his own.
And finally, David asked that God cleanse him within, something beyond ritual, that would make his heart pure again and renew his joy once more.
While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following questions:
- Do you resonate with the longing to feel the ‘new’ again? How important are your feelings to your faith?
- Is there something outward that you can do to start the process of renewal? Have you been baptized as a symbol of dying to yourself and humbly submitting yourself to new life in Christ? Have you kneeled at the altar to pray for revival for yourself and for Belmont?
- Have you accepted Christ as your savior – the only way for God to truly cleanse you from sin?
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?
Jon Price, Associate Pastor