As we reach the middle of March, with the promise of April showers coming up, it’s a good sign that we’re getting ready for prime “mud pie” season! Of course that is generally the responsibility for the younger generation, but those of us who are gardeners are well aware of how much mud you can get into while trying to get your springtime garden into shape. Not to mention the danger of tracking it into the house!
But it’s not just our spouses that may notice the occasional dirty footprint. Did you know that being clean is also important to God? He told the people of Israel that they were to notice the difference “between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean.” (Leviticus 10:10) It’s an important difference to keep in mind!
God also cares about washing up afterwards. Taking a bath? Good Thing. Using a washcloth? Good Thing. Even if as kids we didn’t LIKE taking a bath, it’s still considered a Good Thing. And if you’re familiar with Calvin and Hobbes, you understand just how much six-year-old Calvin is in the anti-bath camp!
And yes, the Bible says that taking a bath is worth the effort. In the book of Isaiah, God says that people should “…wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong.” (Isaiah 1:16) And in John’s gospel, Jesus says "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean… (John 13:10)
How about keeping your hands clean? That's one of the things we all learned during COVID. And it's true whether you’ve been making mud pies or not. I have a personal dislike of getting “sticky and gooey” stuff on my hands. This makes my wife laugh, as whenever I help her in the kitchen, I am constantly running my hands under the faucet to get that stuff OFF!
I’m sure you’re not surprised that the Bible also talks about clean hands. In Genesis, King Abimelech said “I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands." (Genesis 20:5). The book of Job tells us that “those with clean hands will grow stronger.” (Job 17:9) And in Psalms, King David talks about those who have “clean hands and a pure heart…” (Psalms 24:4)
God even wants us to keep our clothes and our dishes nice and clean. And this is not just a task for the moms in the family, us dads should be in on the job as well! In Leviticus, God says that “the man must wash his clothes, and he will be clean. (Leviticus 13:6). He told the Israelites later that he would wipe Jerusalem like a man wipes a dish, “wiping it, and turning it upside down.” (2 Kings 21:13) Jesus even told people HOW to wash their dishes: “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” (Matthew 23:26)
But most important of all, we need to be sure that it’s not just our outsides that are clean. Our hearts and thoughts need to be just as spotless. The psalmist asks God to “create in me a clean heart” (Psalms 51:10), and God makes us the promise that “I will give them one heart, and a new spirit will I put within them.” (Ezekiel 11:19)
Being clean to God is a big deal – and we need to make certain that it is for us as well. If you’re having trouble being a clean machine, just ask for help and He’ll turn on the water in the heavenly bathtub for you. As Patch the Pirate sang in the song Pigs Don’t Live in Houses, “…pick up your dirty bedroom, and show you’re Christian clean!” - Dave Fairchild