Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Ash Wednesday 2-9-05

Good morning, Lord Jesus. As best as I can and all by Your grace, I humble myself in Your sight and wait in the silence of surrender for Your lead. ... Today is the day many traditions throughout the body of Christ call "Ash Wednesday." The ashes seem to speak of humility before God, recognizing our need for repentance and cleansing of all that defiles our souls. Under the Old Covenant, You used the laws and rituals to teach Your people Your spiritual truths, to point Your people to You. If anyone became unclean through the things they had done or the things done to them, they knew they needed to be cleansed. So it was for any who became unclean through the defilement of death in their camp: "For the unclean shall take some ashes from the burnt purification offering, and running water shall be added in a vessel; then a clean person shall take hyssop, dip it in the water, and sprinkle it on the tent, on all the furnishings, on all the persons who were there, and on whoever touched the bone, the slain, the corpse, or the grave. The clean person shall sprinkle the unclean ones on the third day and on the seventh day, thus purifying them on the seventh day. Then they shall wash their clothes and bathe themselves in water, and at evening they shall be clean" (Numbers 19.17-19). We are unclean by the sin in our hearts, and we feel unclean by the shame we bear from the things we have done and the things done to us. As David cried out, "Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.... Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51). We all fall short of the glory of God; we all need the cleansing of Your Living Water and the purification that comes only by the Blood of the Lamb of God, willingly and eternally sacrificed in Your love for us. All that was foreshadowed in the laws of the Old Covenant is now revealed in the grace of the New Covenant through coming of the promised Messiah. Though we were dead to ourselves, we are now alive in Christ. You have taken the hyssop wood of the Cross to apply the Blood of the Lamb to our sins and shame. We are washed in the Living Waters of Your Word, for You are the Word. On the third day, You rose from the grave and sprinkled us clean by Your victory over sin and death. On the seventh day, we enter in to the rest that You have prepared for us. We are holy and pure by the sacrifice of Your love, as we cease from striving to earn our salvation or earn our purification, but simply trust in You with repentant and thankful hearts. "For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, how much more will the Blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God" (Hebrews 9.13-14). Thank You, Lord, for letting us see our need to repent in the humility of ashes so that we can turn to You by Your grace and be made clean. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen. Be encouraged this day! In the Love of Jesus, Tommy Hays To subscribe/unsubscribe/reply please send a note to me at Messiah Ministries -- "preparing the way of the Lord" -- God bless you!