6 I wash my hands in innocence, and go about thy altar, O LORD,
7 singing aloud a song of thanksgiving, and telling all thy wondrous deeds.
Dove soap may leave you with softer, smoother skin after washing, but it leaves a nasty after-taste in your mouth. I was about 10 years old when my mother caught me playing a game with friends we were visiting in Colorado. The game was to say as many dirty words as you could, and for each word the other guy to your right would slug you in the arm. The more you cussed, the more you got hit. Pretty stupid, isn’t it? Well, the other kids talked me into playing, and sure enough, I got caught.
My mother didn’t hear the horrible things the other kids said, she only heard me as she came up behind us without being noticed. Moms are good at that sort of thing. I actually thought I was winning the game as the kid next to me began to hit me harder and harder, and faster and faster. He was actually trying to get me to shut up, as he saw my mother approaching. I thought I was going to lose my left ear as my mother grabbed it and pulled me off to the bathroom to wash my mouth out with soap.
Don’t you just hate how you feel when you know you’ve let the Lord down in your sinful behavior? I’m glad Jesus doesn’t wash our mouths out with soap, once was enough for me. Yet, how many times since then have I failed to honor God with my mouth in other ways? St. James reminds us our mouths should be vessels of honor…
“From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:10)
And, Jesus tells us what comes from our mouths is what comes from our hearts…
“…it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” (Matthew 15:11)
In Psalm 26 we hear the voice of Jesus proclaiming his innocence before the LORD’s Altar and having washed His hands before God. While Jesus is the only one who can claim such innocence before God, we too are called to be “blameless” before our God…
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:4)
Through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, imparted to us by God to cleanse our hearts and make us pure and blameless, we too can pray as Jesus did in Psalm 26. We too can “sing aloud a song of thanksgiving”, and “love the habitation of thy house, and the place where thy glory dwells.” Our prayer in Psalm 26 should be to wash our hands before the LORD’s Altar, which means to repent, and to say, “But as for me, I walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me.” (Psalm 26:11).
Nothing in me felt pure that day in Colorado, not even my mouth after all the Dove soap. In fact, I felt dirtier than ever for falling to such peer pressure. What about you? Is your heart pure before God today, or does your heart convict you? Won’t you take your conviction to Jesus and let him wash you? Jesus will do better than just washing your mouth out with soap, He’ll cleanse you through and through. Repent and He will make you holy and blameless before Him.