Psalm 51:7–12 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which 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 steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.
Did you know that God gives the gift of joy to Christians? The Bible uses the word joy 1179 times, and describes God as the source of joy. David said in Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Our faith relationship with the Lord is designed to give us joy.
- Joy is a natural byproduct of worshiping God.
- It comes when we hear the good news that Christ has befriended sinners…Like us.
- We come to know joy in serving him.
- We even rejoice in our sufferings.
As much as the idea of true joy appeals to us, we need to spend some time talking about what it isn’t before defining what it is. True joy does not depend on circumstances or our experiences. Our culture has come to define joy as an experience that blows your mind:
- It could be a dream vacation, dream house or dream date.
- It could be an awesome shopping trip. [ A friend of mine calls this retail therapy]
- It could be riding a roller coaster upside down at 75 miles per hour.
But when we unbuckle our seatbelts and step off of the ride – when we come back to daily life, the joy we thought we had fades in a hurry. And so our world invites us to become experience junkies: spending our time and energy chasing down the next high. True joy is not a roller coaster. It remains constant because it comes from our God who never changes.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. WHEN THE WEIGHT OF SIN AND REGRET ARE REMOVED, WE ENTER INTO JOY. That weight was laid on Jesus as he was nailed to the cross. We pray a four word prayer: purify me…wash me. The result? I shall be clean; I shall be whiter than snow.
The hyssop plant was used as a brush to apply blood for purification – as when blood from a sacrificed lamb was painted on the doorposts of homes on Passover night. To pray purify me with hyssop, is to ask God to purify us with the blood of the Lamb of God. BUT IT COMES WITH A WARNING: anything untouched by the blood remained unpurified, and instead will receive the touch of the Angel of Death. The joy comes when we come to believe that God has rescued us from the touch of death by purifying us with his Son’s blood.