Wiped Clean

“The Clearing,” © Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

© 2018 Lynn Abbott

To most people, the painting appeared successful.  But as its creator, I knew what lurked beneath the surface.

The composition had radically departed from my vision for it.  Portions of the painting exhibited the wrong values…in art speak, values refer to the dark or light tones of a piece.

Sometimes, for one reason or another, a canvas and particular brand of paint don’t play well together. In this case, one area of the canvas had “seized” the paint.   That part of the composition had definitely assumed an overly dark tone.

It had gone rogue.

Then, there had been the cover-up.  An unsuccessful one at that.

Yup.  You see, buried under globs of gooey oil paint, the darkness remained.

No one else might recognize it, but I knew…

That part of the painting had defied my vision, my purpose and plan for its greatness, beauty and glory.

I also recognized the remedy for its rebellion.

So I picked up a rag that had been soaked in Turpenoid, and wiped the offending area clean.

The composition had gone rogue.

It couldn’t be helped.  The wrong values would never succeed.  The foundation must be corrected. And no amount of overlaid paint would fix it.

Had I not cleaned that area of canvas, I ultimately would have found it necessary to remove the entire painting from public view and use.

After all, it did not accurately reflect its Creator and it certainly didn’t measure up to its potential.

Thus, I worked to clean the canvas; to wipe away every trace of the offending and poorly placed value; to restore the composition’s original potential and beauty.

That’s right. At times, life imitates art.

As I  reworked the canvas, my thoughts wandered to my recent readings in Samuel and Kings.  And you betcha… David immediately came to mind.

David, God’s beloved composition, moved in the wrong direction.  He not only made a poor choice, he rebelled against his Creator.

In 2 Samuel 11,  David embraced dark values when he not only slept with Bathsheba, the wife of one in his inner circle, but also arranged to have his faithful friend conveniently assassinated in order to cover up the deed.

God, however, sees past cover-ups. He always has and always will.

Who can forget His pointed questions to the first couple in the garden, “Where are you?” and later, “Who told you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (Genesis 3:9, 11).

And Adam replied, “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

Indeed, sin makes us vulnerable.  But apart from the Creator, the canvas is helpless to correct the situation.  Thus, we attempt a cover-up.  Humanity’s modus operandi has changed little since the garden.

At times, life imitates art.

But while heavy paint might successfully hide darkness from the majority, the Creator always knows what’s beneath the surface.  For this reason, God sent Nathan the prophet to do a little clean up and to expedite David’s restoration.

Most are familiar with David’s story. But what especially impresses me is David’s honest and humble response to Nathan’s correction.  After all, David’s predecessor had disobeyed God as well, but his response to Samuel’s rebuke contrasts greatly with David’s.

Like Adam and Eve, Saul made excuses for his disobedience; he even blamed his people.

David, on the other hand, said, “I have sinned against the LORD,” (2 Samuel 12:13).

In this, we find the answer to a question some might be tempted to ask,”How could God call David ‘a man after God’s heart’ after the Bathsheba fiasco?”

The plain and simple truth is…David genuinely repented.

I dunno about you, but I find tremendous comfort in David’s outcome.  Although natural and negative consequences followed despite David’s “broken and contrite” spirit, God nevertheless declared David forgiven, (2 Samuel 12:13b).

In addition, David  remained on the throne.  He was still God’s man.

Eager to know more about David’s life after sin, I  skipped ahead a few books to the book of Psalms.  And there, I found the expression of David’s grief and repentence.

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love…Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin…Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow,” (Psalm 51:1-2; 7).

Then,  in Psalm 103, David recounts God’s forgiveness: “Praise the LORD, O my soul…He does not treat us as our sins deserve…For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us,” (Psalm 103:1; 10-12).

The plain and simple truth is…David genuinely repented.

As far as the east is from the west… That’s certainly an interesting comparison.

It’s significant that he didn’t say “as far as north is from south.”  North and South on this ole’ globe have definite points of destination–the North and South poles.

But east and west?  The longitude line that separates them is simply an agreed-upon– albeit arbitrary choice–made by cartographers and geographers.

In truth, we could circle the globe continuously and not find a distinct point differentiating east from west.

David’s description, then, perfectly illustrates God’s love and grace as demonstrated toward His beloved children.

As John wrote in his epistle, once we have “confessed our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9).

And David assures us that Abba removes the dark spot as far as the east is from the west…

The Creator permanently wipes rebellion’s stain from the canvas; the composition is once more “blameless” or in right standing.

David understood his Sovereign-Shepherd’s love forgiveness first-hand.   And he trusted God for the long-haul.

Without a doubt, God’s perfect love “casts out fear,” ( 1 John 4:18). In fact, although David’s sin resulted in some extremely difficult family dynamics, he humbly accepted his circumstances and placed his life in God’s hands (2 Samuel 15).

Saul, on the other hand, continually tried to dodge the consequences of his sin.  In his unrepentant state, Saul even consulted a medium, the Witch of Endor.

Without a doubt, fear characterized Saul’s life from the moment he refused to humbly confess his sin.

David, however, trusted God.  And despite his sin, David’s life and reign became the Scriptural standard by which all other kings of Israel and Judah were judged.

In this,  I find incredible hope.  Although my life’s canvas may be darkened by sin, God stands ready with the remedy.  And in response to my genuine confession, He removes the dark values that threaten the beauty of His ongoing work in my life.

Yes, He removes our sin as far as the east is from the west.  And you and I can be sure that He will restore and transform the composition of our lives.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.  As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him,” ~Psalm 103:12-13

74 thoughts on “Wiped Clean

  1. I love your analogy. This is so true. Not matter how hard WE try, we can’t erase the ugliness of sin. Only God can do that and oh what a great God he is❤️

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  2. Absolutely love this post, Lynn. It speaks directly on the condition of humanity’s sinful and God as the artist; who is willing to remove the dark areas of our lives if we just confess our sins to Him.

    In your post, I like when you said, “Although my life’s canvas may be darkened by sin, God stands ready with the remedy.  And in response to my genuine confession, He removes the dark values that threaten the beauty of His ongoing work in my life.”

    Life is like a work of art and God is always standing there; ready for us to get down on our knees and confess our sins so that He can use the “remedy” to remove the sinful stains.

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    • Oh, I’m so glad, Joshua! Your encouragement truly means a lot to me as I so respect your indepth studies of Scripture. I especially love the thoughts that you express here: “Life is like a work of art and God is always standing there; ready for us to get down on our knees and confess our sins so that He can use the “remedy” to remove the sinful stains.” Thank you for your wise words!

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  3. What a great example Lynn of what lies hidden beneath and who does and doesn’t know—and that being the Father knowing everytime—
    Wow!
    We’re all like that arent’ we—
    We “half behindly” try our hand at something, doing a terrib​​​​​​​​​le job, attempting to patch, cover, repair whatever it ​is…ju​st enough to pass it off—except….we know….and God knows…
    I was much like you when folks would oooh and ah​hh over something I’d painted. Yet I knew it was all wrong from the get go—I wouldn’t be happy with it despite those untrained eyes who liked it—-it simply wasn’t right, and I knew it—so much like my life.
    I come to God, ​and I know what I’m hiding, covering up or trying to pass off as acceptable—but He knows..​​..
    A marvelous lesson this Monday morning Lynn—thank you!

    Liked by 4 people

    • I knew I could count on you–my kindred blogging spirit–dear Julie to fully understand this post! And like you, I’m truly grateful that the Father not only knows me through and through, but that He has a better plan for me than I could ever imagine! Thank you, my wonderful and caring friend, for your faithful and kind encouragement! You and your friendship are such a blessing to me! Love and hugs!

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      • Such sweet words Lynn–a balm always to my soul 🙂
        I suppose this one little painter has covered up one too many messes not to see exactly that of which you write—I could have written your same post verbatim as I’ve been so guilty of it all—in both my paintings and my life—and it was a perfect analogy 🙂
        I think in the painting aspect, I will feel that the painting is all wrong no matter how much I’ve reworked it and despite others telling me that they love it and they don’t see a darn thing wrong—troubling thing is that I don’t feel good about it—I can look at that painting a will always see the flaw, mistake etc…I won’t feel good about displaying it, giving it away, etc—-thank Heavens God, who sees the same in us, can see past it as He has given the “fix” and restored it all to perfection 🙂

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      • Yes and amen! Oh, you are truly my soul sister, dear Julie! So, “been there; done that!” I’ve got to find a way to tag along with Tim next time he flies to corporate headquarters in Atlanta! You and I probably have enough conversation to last for days on end 😉 ❤ and hugs!

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  4. I love the comparison of using east and west instead of north and south, especially since Isaiah knew nothing of the north and south poles. Only God could come up with that.

    Psalm 51 – the great psalm of David’s remorse. I turn too this whenever II have done something I regret. We serve such a merciful God.

    Wonderful post, Lynn. Only the Creator can see what lies beneath. So true

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  5. “And you and I can be sure that He will restore and transform the composition of our lives.” Thank you, Lynn, for these encouraging words. This post reminds us that He’s not finished with us just yet. FYI – my younger son is an artist and has amazed us from his early childhood days with his eye for detail. He, like you, is also open to God’s leading and so appreciative of God’s beauty. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.

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    • Amen! I’m so grateful that God is still at work in my life. Thank you so much for your thoughtful words and kind encouragement, Dorissa. It means a great deal to me. And oh, I would love to see your son’s work! Does he have a website? It is always so encouraging to meet other artists who follow Jesus. God bless you greatly!

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      • Lynn, one of his sites is http://www.warpaintgraphix.com. It is one of his businesses. He designs logos for clothing and logos, business cards and websites for businesses, among other things that I can’t remember… He designed the cover for my book and you can see it if you will go to my site and check out the “book” heading. I don’t know how to get photos of some of the artwork he’s done for me onto my WordPress site, but I’ll try to figure it out or get him to help me. I would love for you to see the paintings of moms and babies he’s created. I feel so blessed to have his artwork displayed in our home! My husband and my older son are both very creative, too, and all three have a gift for music, as well. So, I am blessed to get to enjoy their creativity … and I can make really great brownies from a box, so there!!!

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      • Oh, Dorissa… your son does amazing graphic design! I loved his website! I’m sure that his paintings are incredible. How very fortunate you are! It sounds as though there is no shortage of artistic talent in your home… you are a writer, your husband and sons are musicians and your youngest son an artist! People must love to visit your home and family. And the brownies? Well, that’s just an amazing bonus. Thank you so much for sharing the link with me. It was such a delight to browse your son’s work. God bless you big time, dear Dorissa! ❤

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  6. I love viewing life as an art canvas! As we go through life, our paintings are filled with gloriously bright moments, as well as times of complete darkness … but when we step back and take in the whole painting and not just what we’re currently experiencing, we’re able to see how everything goes together perfectly in His plan. ❤

    This post was a joy to read, Lynn! ❤ Reading about your experience with that wonderful painting, as well as relating them to the stories of those men from the Bible – they went so well together. As always, thank you for sharing! 🙂

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  7. Beautiful post, beautiful summation. I’m following King David’s lead right now with an area that I have neglected and trusting God will truly fix the problem and wipe aside my neglect and partial patch job. You’re such a gift to us Lynn, thank you for the words you use that paint a picture of God’s love, grace and forgiveness. Grace and blessings!

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    • And that is yet another reason why all your readers love and respect you, Bruce! You truly have a heart for God and seek to follow His leading in everything you do. I’m so blessed by your teaching and example. Thank you again for your kind encouragement here. Your wisdom and kindness always mean so much to me. Blessings to you and yours, Bruce!

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  8. I always enjoy how you combine life with scripture. It’s beautifully woven together. How precious is our God who can wipe away out darkness and start us off clean. We can treat each new day like this if we give ourselves to Him.

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  9. This is lovely, Lynn! What a fantastic analogy with the painting!
    It’s funny to me that I have recently been studying Psalm 51 and the tale of David and Bathsheba, too! Last week, I wrote my own thoughts at the beginning of my study.

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    • Yes! I do remember, Heather. And that was me who wrote you the comment on your post (at the time) about how wonderful your post was and how I might have to postpone publishing the post I had written because our posts covered similar material. I’m so sorry that I didn’t end up postponing it after all. My week turned out to be extraordinarily busy (no time to take a deep breath), and so I didn’t have time to write a completely new post. 😦 Thus, I just posted this one since it was ready to go. Sigh… But perhaps, God didn’t want His children to miss this important lesson from David’s life and so God arranged for both of us to publish posts about David and Bathsheba and Psalm 51 at this time. I’m not sure how my post, though, could add anything to the mix. Your teaching was truly in-depth and brilliant. I’d love to be one of the ladies in your studies. I’ll bet you are an extremely beloved Bible teacher. Thanks for your graciousness toward me! I’m truly grateful. God bless you big time! ❤

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  10. Oh, Lynn. I LOVE all the deep lessons in this post. I never knew a painting’s composition can go “rogue” and the artist has to wipe it clean rather than paint over it. Such an interesting analogy of how our Creator wipes us clean and gets rid of all the dark spots of our sin. The idea of Him removing them as far as “east from west” adds a deeper meaning. I am always amazed at God calling David a man after His own heart. It’s such an awesome wonder that God cleans us so thoroughly and even forgets our sins. Thank you SO MUCH for these encouraging and inspiring lessons today! Love and hugs to you!

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    • Oh, Trudy… you so greatly encourage me! Sometimes, my plate is so full that I’m not sure how I will complete all my work each week. And when I complete it, I wonder if God can use it since I spend my days simply scrambling to keep up. :-/ But God used you to remind me that He is the one who plants and waters. All I need be is available. Thank you! Your words this morning have encouraged me so much more than you can possibly imagine. Thank you for your insightful and thoughtful comment! I am so grateful for your friendship! What a blessing this blog has turned out to be as it allowed me to meet you, a truly grace-filled and godly lady! Love and hugs to you as well!! ❤

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  11. I loved your post Lynn, especially the idea of Creator and we as the created who are sinners and no amount of anything can change that fact. I am very familiar with PSALM 51 since my life verse is 10……”CREATE IN ME A PURE HEART O GOD, AND RENEW A STEADFAST SPIRIT WITHIN ME.”
    And like many, I have read PSALM 51 so much because it is the sinner’s prayer. So thanks for pointing it out in a new way to me. Your words were a blessing.

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    • Aww… thank you for your lovely and encouraging words! It means so much to me. And yes, it is so comforting to know that God answers our hearts’ cries and does renew that right spirit within us! I love that verse 10 is your life verse! What a beautiful prayer to express the desire of your heart and life! God bless you big time as you have so blessed me today!

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  12. I really appreciate your Analogies that you share with us Lynn, Debbie another Blogging friend does the same and you both share much Wisdom when you do this.

    Yes God knew David would repent and no longer choose to Sin and it was not just with Bathsheba that he did Sin. Although God said they were not to intermarry with Pagans, David disobeyed and Married Pagan Woman after not forgiving his wife for laughing at him and also seeking revenge by not having Children with her.

    I also agree with you Lynn about covering up Sin, Love is the most powerful force in the Universe by it we and everything else were created, God is Love! and He said everything He made was very good but the black spots came with the Fall. Yes as you shared Lynn if we Sin we can be forgiven as we put our Carnal flesh to death and Aim to be Perfected in Love. Jesus is our Advocate and will intercede for us after Heart repentance, which is shown by our turning away from Sin and Choosing to do good by the empowering of The Holy Spirit.

    I had a white dress Lynn with black stains on it so I used a white out marking pen to cover them up and it worked but a few washes later they were back so I did them again but once again they reappeared so I brought a new white dress and yes it has no black spots at all.

    We can be like the dress with the black spots, we can try to cover up out Sinful nature, negative and Sinful thoughts and attitudes and try to hide them, minimize them or ignore them but they will return. We have to be clothed in a new Spotless garment which Jesus brought for us by His death but we can’t wear both, one has to go, this is why God tells us to put our evil flesh Nature to death and as we choose to walk in The Fruit of The Spirit ( Galations5 ) He empowers us to do so and so our flesh is put to death and what is so wonderful is our New Spiritual garments is without Spot or Wrinkle it’s all White, meaning Pure and Holy… the Old has gone and the New has come. Jesus has set us free from the Slavery of Sin so no Temptation will be greater then we can bear, He provides His Strength to resist it and so Walk as He Walked in Holiness and Victory.

    God tells us to reckon ourselves dead to Sin Lynn and not say we will continue to Sin (Romans 6:11) and for us to Aim for Perfection but not as the World thinks about perfection but His Perfection in Love (see below) and He delights in us when we do because we are no longer in darkness, we Shine, Shine, Shine, yes we are like Jesus in this World.

    Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore Perfect even as your Father which is in Heaven is Perfect.KJV

    1John 4:16-19 And we have known and believed the Love that God hath to us. God is Love and he that dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God and God in him. Herein is our Love made Perfect that we may have boldness in the day of judgment because as He is so are we in this World. There is no fear in Love but Perfect Love casteth out fear because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made Perfect in Love. We Love Him because He first Loved us. KJV

    Colossians 3:4-6 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.KJV

    Romans 8 :12-15 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation but it is not to the Sinful nature to live according to it or if you live according to the Sinful nature you will die but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body you will live because those who are Led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. KJV

    Galatians 24 -26 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts if we live in the Spirit let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.KJV

    Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no Condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. KJV

    1 John 3: 1-11 ( 9 ) No one who is Born of God will continue to Sin because God’s seed remains in him he cannot go on Sinning because he has been Born of God.KJV

    Daniel 12:10 Many shall be Purified and made White and tried but the wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall Understand but the Wise shall Understand. KJV

    Christian Love Lynn in our Unity in Christ Jesus,
    Anne ( Grannie Annie)

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    • Oh, thank you for your thoughtful encouragement, dear Anne! And I love the analogy you share! It’s perfect! How wonderful it is that you and I and all those who have received Christ as Savior and Lord will one day be given new garments… White and pure… We will not only stand righteous in Christ, but our old nature will finally be gone! What a beautiful day that will be! God bless you greatly, dear Anne! ❤ and hugs!!

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      • Lynn have you read God’s Plan of Salvation as confirmed in Scripture ? if not would you like to? it was taught in the early Church and is very important for us today but sadly is not shared by many, even in the Churches.

        I found another one of your Posts Lynn, I will respond tomorrow, it’s bed time in Aussie Land but you must be tired too with having to stand up all this time answering my Comments but never mind one day you will also be 108 and all your other Blogging friends will have to stand up too Lol.

        Christian Love and Blessing dear Lynn, have a good day and yes you can sit down now I’m off to bed.
        Grannie Annie.

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      • Are you speaking of a book or booklet, Anne? I love God’s plan for our salvation… it is woven throughout Scripture beginning in Genesis. Sadly, our world has gotten so busy that many people don’t seem to make time for as much deep study as they did once. I pray that God awakens all our hearts to His Word!

        Yes, I’m grateful for a few moments to sit… thank you! Ha! 😀 I love your sense of humor, dear Anne! Love and hugs to you! Hope you slept well! 🙂 ❤

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