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Friday, March 18, 2022

Pitching at an Amish school recess
 Stephen was drafted to pitch for an after-lunch baseball game at a one room schoolhouse yesterday.

"Give Us Clean Hands"

Message summary: Today there are many forms of religious symbolism but above all we need to cry out to God, "Give us clean hands".

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"Yet the righteous holds to His way, and he who has clean hands grows stronger and stronger"  (Job 17:9)  "Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation" (Psalm 24:3-5). "So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, 'I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves'” (Matthew 27:24).

Stephen at Smucker Laser
Early yesterday morning I visited for a few minutes with Stephen, a longtime friend we see at Smucker Laser. When I approached him he had been doing maintenance on a huge laser cutting machine. As I extended my hand for a handshake he was hesitant due to a bit of work grime on his hands. But I assured him my hands will wash just fine.

That prompted me to consider the convenience of having hands that are easily washable. Washing our hands doesn't require any special treatment such as removing and sending them off for specialty cleaning. They can be washed in the universal solvent, water, which is readily available. Of course we also now have wipes and hand cleanser. Going all the way back to the patriarchal period Job spoke of cleansing his hands with lye (Job 9:30) which is still an ingredient in many soaps, especially in homemade soaps.

Growing up we all learned from Mom's rules at home and the teacher's rules at school to wash our hands. And over the last two years there's been a lot of emphasis on hand washing with signs posted everywhere reminding people to wash their hands. But my mom was always big on reminding her children to wash their hands and to this day I can still hear her voice, "Stephen, did you wash your hands?"

The Scriptures also speak of the importance of clean hands but in most contexts with a spiritual meaning.

In our first text from Job "clean hands" are used to describe a righteous life. Our hands can be used to honor God or used for vile purposes such as the bloody hands of the abortionist. In the great hymn "Take My Life" Frances Havergal writes, "Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love."

In Psalm 24 clean hands are one key to being able to enter into God’s presence for worship: “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart" (Psalm 24:3-4). "Clean hands" is not a reference to personal hygiene but rather a metaphor for our spiritual condition—being cleansed from sin (1 John 1:9).

Bill Crowder writes, "It speaks of a life committed to what is right and godly—enabling us to stand blameless before our Lord in the privilege of worship. As His life is lived out in our lives, He can help us to do what’s right so that our hands are clean and our hearts are ready to give worship to our great God."

Our final reference is a desperate attempt by Pilate to have clean hands. At the trial of Jesus he "took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, 'I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves'” (Matthew 27:24). Yet as expressed in the Apostle's Creed he goes down in history with the phrase concerning Christ, "suffered under Pontius Pilate". The symbolism of washing his hands did nothing to cleanse his heart. Today there are many forms of religious symbolism but above all we need to cry out to God, "give us clean hands".

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we ask for clean hands, a pure mind, and a steadfast heart that follows hard after You. Temptation regularly knocks at our door, but with Your Holy Spirit residing within, we have the will and desire to turn it away.  We don’t want even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, or anything considered improper for Your holy people. It is through Christ that we can live such a life above reproach and honoring to You. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Give Us Clean Hands"  Video    Chris Tomlin

Amish school
Yesterday we joined the children for lunch at an Amish School.
The walls of the school are covered with inspirational posters and art work the children make. Do any of our readers remember using these types of school desks? We had a friend in college named Max Graves who went all 12 years of public education in a one room schoolhouse near Burwell Nebraska.

Amish school
Another view to the front and the giant heavily utilized blackboard.

Amish class rules
These rules would work anywhere and would be very well appropriated to modern classrooms!
Click to enlarge

Heat stove at an Amish schoolhouse
The heating stove also serves as a sock dryer!

Teeter Totter
How many first graders were on the other side of this teeter totter do you suppose it took to make this balance?

Finally today:

Yesterday I had our van in for service and an annual inspection. We have some critters who have invaded our ventilation system and the service tech found this mess on our cabin air filter. I don't know whether the culprit is squirrels or chipmunks but I replaced the filthy filter and am searching again for a means of critter mitigation. They can actually chew into the wiring! The scene brings to mind Song of Solomon 2:15.

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Stephen & Brooksyne

Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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