Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 1:16-20 ESV
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51:7-12 ESV
Have you ever left something outside in the sun for a long time, and noticed that the color fades? Or maybe you’ve seen this happen in your house, when the sun shines through the windows, and after a long time the furniture or other things lose their color. What happens is that some dyes have chemical bonds that give them their color. The light from the sun includes ultraviolet rays which have a lot of energy. These rays give energy to the chemical bonds in some dyes that causes them to break and even to rearrange themselves. When the bonds in these dyes break and are rearranged, they lose their color, and in time they might even become white. We sometimes call this sun bleaching.
The prophet Isaiah talked about a different kind of bleaching. He talked about the sins of God’s people being so bad that they were as red as crimson. He especially talked about the sins of hurting people who were weak and helpless and not doing justice. They weren’t taking care of children who had no father and of women whose husbands had died. Isaiah told them they needed to wash themselves and make themselves clean. But then God said something wonderful to them. He said that even though their sins were as red as blood, they could be as white as snow. This would happen because God would forgive them and give them new hearts and lives.
We also have sin in our lives that we need to be clean from, and we can’t clean ourselves. God sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross and take the punishment for our sins. Because of what Jesus did, God forgives all our sins. He washes us when we are baptized into Jesus, and makes us as white as snow. We can go to God every day for forgiveness, and know that he will give it to us for Jesus’ sake. He sends us his Holy Spirit to give us new hearts and lives, helping us live for him now and always.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending us Jesus to make us as white as snow. Please forgive our sins and help us live for you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.