Aug. 5, 2020

What Does Washing Your Hands Have to Do With Approaching God? James 4:8b Bible Podcast

What Does Washing Your Hands Have to Do With Approaching God? James 4:8b Bible Podcast


Join us in today's episode as we explore how the ceremonial washings in the Old Testament relate to how we need to approach God.

Once you understand the history and culture of James 4:8, this Bible verse comes alive.


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Hey, welcome to The Simple Truth. I’m Julie Carruth 

Yesterday, we explored the incredible promise in James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”  

Today we move on to the 2nd part of James 4:8 as it continues with, “Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” 

Wash your hands, you sinners? What does that even mean? It sounds like something you’d hear in the bathrooms right now as we deal with this whole corona thing. Washeth your hands, you sinner. Lol  

But seriously…This is where knowing the history and culture of the text really helps bring this scripture alive for us. In the Old Testament, we see that before the Levitical priests could minister in the tabernacle, they were required to wash their hands (and their feet, in fact). It symbolized cleansing oneself from everything unpure in the world in order to approach a Holy God.  

And when James says to “purify your hearts, you double-minded” he’s indicating that we need to have the right attitude and pure motives in our hearts. 

So, washing hands is a symbolic outward behavior to say that you reject worldly fleshly desires, whereas, purifying your hearts indicates an inner thought life that desires to please God alone.  

Psalm 24:4, a psalm the original readers would’ve been familiar with, possibly even had it memorized, states that only those who have clean hands and a pure heart can stand before God. In Matthew 5:8, Jesus said that those with a pure heart will see God.  

And to end this verse, James addresses them as “double minded,” as in “purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  

Other translations use the word “hypocrite” here. The idea being that you say you believe one thing but live your life like another. It’s like someone who wants to satisfy their flesh by hanging onto what the world can give them, but also wanting to all the benefits of hanging onto God. You’re trying to serve two masters at the same time.  

In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” 

 So, your simple truth for today: When you draw near to God, cleanse your heart and your life.  

I want to thank you and congratulate you for putting God’s Word first in your life. And encourage you to keep up the good work by simple asking your Amazon smart speaker to “PLAY BIBLE STUDY.” 

I’m Julie Carruth and I’ll see you again tomorrow.