“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin—for I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.”
In Christ we find complete cleansing, both without and within.
As the king, David knew quite well the Levitical sacrificial system and the various kinds of sacrifices required for the many offerings (burnt offering, peace offering, sin offering, etc.). He’d witnessed firsthand the animal sacrifices. . .their throats being slit and their blood pouring out. . .their bodies being cut in half from the tip of the nose, down the back to the tailbone. . .and the smoke rising from their bodies as they lay atop the altar.
Yet, he also knew that no amount of “You are forgiven” pronouncements from an earthly priest could “cleanse his conscience from dead works” (Heb. 9:14). That’s why he pleads with the Lord to “wash him thoroughly from his iniquity and cleanse him from his sin.” He knew such inward cleansing of heart, mind and conscience could only come from the Lord.
It’s interesting that the Hebrew word “rabah” is used for “thoroughly” and also means “to increase, be in abundance, heap up, be plenteous, etc.,” while “taher” is used for “cleanse” and basically means “to be bright, clear, pure, uncontaminated, holy, etc.”
Thus, it’s clear that David was wanting to be “squeaky clean” before the Lord, with no residuals or remnants of his sins continuing to lurk in the recesses of his mind. He also longed to once again have the “bright countenance” he once had during his earlier days when he slew the lion, the bear and 9’9” Goliath in the Name of the Lord.
That’s why he said “I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.” He didn’t want to leave any doubt concerning his guiltiness. He knew what he’d done. And, he knew it was wrong.
But, He also knew this same God Who’d sent Nathan to say “You are the man!” (II Sam. 12:7) was also the same God Who could “wash him thoroughly and cleanse him completely.” And, dear Pilgrim, the same is true for us when we’ve sinned against God and are being tormented by our guilt.
We must come to Him in simple sincerity. . .openly confessing to Him our specific sins. . . realizing we have no hope apart from His “lovingkindness and tender Mercies” (v.1). We can’t make it up to Him. No amount of good deeds or benevolent gifts can erase our guilt or pay our sin debt.
Only Jesus’ Blood can do that (Rom. 5:6-11).
Yet, by “coming clean” with Him through confession and throwing ourselves upon His Mercy, we’re able to experience that newness that comes from Christ’s atoning Blood and abundant Mercy (Lam. 3:21-23; II Cor. 5:17). How wonderful His “thorough washing” that takes away our guilt and His “complete cleansing” that covers all of our sins. Hallelujah! Have you experienced those, dear Pilgrim? If so, why not tell someone today?