Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Snow is remarkable for whiteness. As it glistens on the mountains, or lies in virgin purity on the fields, what can compare with it? And yet David speaks of something whiter. Where? Not in nature, but in the kingdom of grace. Of whom? Not Christ, not the holy angels, not the saints in glory, but, strange to say, of himself. Like Paul, he was "the chief of sinners," and he was, therefore, the fitter ensample of the marvellous kindness and grace of God. In his prayer we find -
I. THE RECOIL OF THE SOUL FROM SIN. Many find pleasure in sin; but when once the soul is quickened, there is an end to this. Sin is felt to be vile and loathsome. Its touch is defilement; its presence is abhorrent; its effects are dreaded as the most terrible.
II. THE YEARNING OF THE SOUL FOR PURITY. All things around us that retain their freshness and their purity condemn us and put us to shame. They show what we have lost; they intensify our pains and our sorrows. At the same time, they help to keep alive our hopes. While they testify that we are fallen, they testify also that sin is not of our true nature - that it is not something that rightly belongs to us, but that it should be abjured and abhorred. The more we compare ourselves with God's Law, and the more truly we realize God's will concerning us, the more earnestly shall we cry for deliverance.
III. THE SUPREME TRUST OF THE SOUL IN GOD. There is the cry, "Wash me!" This implies weakness and submission. We cannot "wash" ourselves. Our tears and prayers, our penitences and endeavours, are in vain. We cast ourselves implicitly upon God. Let God, who is holy and good, do this great thing for us, and do it in his own way. It is not the priest, it is not the saints; God only can save. There is also the glad faith. "And I shall be whiter than snow." The lost purity will be restored. What God does, he does perfectly. What joy in being "whiter than snow"! - not only pardoned (Isaiah 1:18), but cleansed (1 John 1:7; Revelation 7:14). It is heaven begun. - W.F.
Parallel VersesKJV: Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.