When the “Tide” goes out, the beach is clean!
In DownEast Maine (Downwind and east of Boston) the tide comes in and goes out on a regular basis, and that’s so on the beautiful Sandy River Beach of Jonesport, where my mother and father (Gertrude and the original “Buzz” Mitchell) built their small honeymoon cottage. You can dig holes on the beach, make appropriate campfires on the beach, try to defeat the incoming tide as me and Pete used to do, and just generally make a big mess, but high tide will come, encompass the mess, and when it goes back out again, your “mess” will be all cleaned up. Ergo, the name Americans are familiar with for cleaning up their dirty laundry – Tide!
In comes the Tide, out goes the mess! When I was young(er), someone landed a plane on the beach, and I’ve seen horses trotting up and down the white sands, and there was definitely some major residue after that! But the tide came in and went out, and things were clean again! What a great thing! Too bad life doesn’t imitate the art of the tides. Sometimes we make a mess in our lives that the tide just can’t take away. The washing machine of life, no matter how many computerized magic buttons it boasts, can’t wash our sins out to sea.
You can ask the great King David about that. Did he get himself into a mess! And speaking of washing, that’s one of the things that got him into the mess. He was hanging out one evening on the roof at his place, enjoying the view (“Oh be careful little eyes what you see”) and he saw from that vantage a woman washing herself, and God’s word tells us that she was beautiful. Now, the really good preachers can absolutely “plow corn” with this one, but truth be told, we’re not told if bath-sheba (how’s that for “what’s in a name”?) was wearing a negligee, a nightie, or nothing. It didn’t really matter, she was beautiful, and David was interested. They did what they did, God did what He did, and soon the evidence would begin to show. So David got to work trying to clean up his mess, and you’d have to say that the clean-up got even messier than the mess itself. Bottom line, David had a very, very, good man killed. God states that David despised the commandment of the LORD, did evil, and more specifically that he slew husband Uriah “with the sword of the children of Ammon.” (2 Samuel 12:9). And you can reference my sermon on “de facto sin-ification to see that David was guilty of murder, just to ice the cake of adultery.
It was sin at close to its worst, but David had a good heart fighting against that bad heart that lies deep within us all, and he repented with true and honest sincerity, praying in Psalm 51:7 “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” This was a mess that only God could clean up, and David knew God was the one who would have to bring the hyssop. According to my good friend, Dictionary.com, Hyssop is “a small bushy aromatic plant of the mint family, the bitter minty leaves of which are used in cooking and herbal medicine, and (in biblical use) a wild shrub of uncertain identity whose twigs were used for sprinkling in ancient Jewish rites of purification.” Well, purification is definitely what David needed and longed for, and he could take care of the outside, but he needed the hyssop of God to take care of the inside, and replace the stench of his sin with the minty fragrance of God’s righteousness.
We’ve all needed that hyssop applied! Many of you are thinking right now of that first Passover, when “a bunch of hyssop” was dipped in the blood of the Lamb and then struck on the lintel and the two side posts of the house of the owner. And David had it right when he said “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Isaiah 53:5-6 tells us “But he (Jesus) was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Then, in In the New Testament, we see in Revelation 19:8 that the Bride of Christ has been granted “…that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” That perfectly clean righteousness comes only through the grace of God in Christ,
The imputed righteousness of Christ worked for Abraham (Romans 4:3) “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” It worked for King David (Romans 4:6) “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,” and it works for us (Romans 5:21) “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” You see, (2 Corinthians 5:21) “For he (God the Father) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” It’s the sweet smell of God’s forgiveness bought and brought by the grace of God’s cleansing hyssop. Micah 7:19 is beautiful in its application “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”
When the tide of God’s cleansing goes out, it carries with it all the stains left on the Sandy River Beaches of our lives, and our sins are gone forever, buried in the depths of the Atlantic of God’s forgiveness!
Love and Prayers to you all,