Clean Hands and Hearts
Verse of the Day: “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word and following its rules” (Psalm 119:9).
Mom leaned out the back door and called to her daughter, who was playing in the neighbor’s yard. “Sheila! It’s time to eat!”
A few moments later, Sheila came in and saw the dinner table already set with plates, napkins, silverware, and bowls of steaming food. She started to sit down in her usual seat next to Dad, who sat at the head of the table.
“Sheila, honey,” Mom said, “please go wash your hands first.”
“Do I have to?” she asked.
“Yes, you have to,” Dad answered. “Please hurry,” he added.
Sheila returned to the table a few moments later after washing her hands, and the family ate dinner. Afterward, Dad reached for the Bible and opened to Psalm 24 for devotions. ‘”Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?’” he read.”‘Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have right standing with God their savior. They alone may enter God’s presence and worship the God of Israel.’”
“I know why you read that,” Sheila said when he had finished.
“Why?” Dad answered coyly.
“Because I didn’t want to wash my hands before dinner.” He smiled. “That’s right,” he said. He winked at his daughter.
“You see, honey,” Mom offered, “we want you to wash your hands before you eat because, if you don’t, the dirt and impurities and germs can make you sick.”
“They can?” Sheila asked.
Dad closed the Bible and returned it to its place on the sideboard. “That’s why we require you to have clean hands when you come to the table. And it’s sort of the same reason God wants you to have a pure heart.”
“Will I get sick if I don’t have a pure heart?” Sheila asked innocently.
“In a way,” Mom said. “If you have any impurity in your life, it can make you feel guilty and even shameful, and those things can make you feel far from God.”
“I don’t want to be far from God,” Sheila said.
“We don’t want that, either,” Mom said. “And God doesn’t want that.” “Clean hearts are important, aren’t they?” Sheila said. Dad nodded, and Mom added, “And clean hands are too!”
TO DISCUSS: What good things does today’s Bible reading say will happen to “those whose hands and hearts are pure”? How does God’s command to be pure protect us from guilt and shame? Each time you wash your hands this week, remember the importance of clean hands—and clean hearts.
TO PRAY: “Help us. Father, to have clean hearts before you.”