Give Us Clean Hands

Vaniz   |   March 30, 2020 

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8

The last few months have seen unprecedented times in history through the rise of the coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19. Nations are coming together, doing their best to fight the virus and keep people safe. The best of medical research has been underway to find a medicine to this rising pandemic which is impacting country after country.

Washing one’s hands thoroughly with soap and water and to maintain proper hand hygiene through alcohol based sanitisers has been the repeated recommendation of medical experts, to prevent the attack. The world is going back to the very basics in response to the pandemic that is painfully claiming lives and causing deep holes in the world economy.

The Bible talks about a deeper, more meaningful context to the washing of hands. In the Bible, cleaning of hands has been symbolic of innocence, of having a pure heart. It symbolises a righteous person, whose heart is straight and pure before the Creator. Washing of hands was also a Jewish ritual. And in the New Testament, Jesus speaks a few times about the difference between a mere ritual of washing of hands versus having a clean heart.

Mark 7 says, “The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus 2 and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles. So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

And in Luke 11: “When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal. Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.  You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.”

How clear it is that we are encouraged to not just focus on the outside but a lot more on what’s going on inside of us. As humanity rises up to the occasion, with lockdowns and reset buttons on life, personally the pandemic situation has taught me to be grateful for everything I touch, for my family and for the food. And the one thing that I am reminded of, in these times of crisis is to focus not merely on washing my hands, but also look to God seeking for a clean heart.

If for the sake of extending my life in this mortal world, I am willing to wash my hands a few hundred times a week, how much more frequently with eternity in perspective, I need to reflect upon the cleanliness of my heart for my immortal soul. I am thankful for Jesus whose sacrifice has made me clean and the Spirit who empowers me to live this out in my life. So now, every time I wash my hands for the recommended 20 seconds or more, I sing

“Give us clean hands and give us pure hearts,
Let us not lift our souls to another,
Let us be a generation that seeks Your face, Oh God of Jacob…”

 

 

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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Vaniz

Hi, Nice to e-meet you :)! I'm a student of life, a child of God and a person who loves to celebrate the simple joys of creation. There is love and beauty in everything around us only if we have the eyes to see it. Though I'm imperfect, and inconsistent, I've learnt that God sees our availability more than our ability, He calls and He qualifies. I'm a full time HR professional, mother of two children and love music and the rain.

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