Cleanliness is Godliness
Deut 23 14 For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.:
I know, I have heard it preached that this old saying: ‘Cleanliness is Godliness’ is simply a tradition, and is not in the Bible.
For those of us with children, that are definitely not ‘neat freaks’, this is comforting, but there is a difference between messy, and dirty. If the dishes sit in the dishwasher an extra day, the world might not end. Toys on the floor, can become part of life (esp if your children are into Legos!), but then there is dirtiness, or things that are unhygienic. Things like leaving food out, unrefrigerated for instance.
Seems wherever the gospel is preached, Christians teach the culture about clean drinking water, proper hygiene, waste and sewage disposal, and healthy food preparation as a matter of course, raising humanity to a higher level of health and purity.
In 1818, Ignaz Phillip Semmelweis was born into a world of dying women. The finest hospitals lost one out of six young mothers to the scourge of “childbed fever.” A doctor’s daily routine began in the dissecting room where he performed autopsies. From there he made his way to the hospital to examine expectant mothers without ever pausing to wash his hands. Dr. Semmelweis was the first man in history to associate such examinations with the resultant infection and death. His own practice was to wash with a chlorine solution, and after eleven years and the delivery of 8,537 babies, he lost only 184 mothers–about one in fifty.
He spent the vigor of his life lecturing and debating with his colleagues. Once he argued, “Puerperal fever is caused by decomposed material, conveyed to a wound. . .I have shown how it can be prevented. I have proved all that I have said. But while we talk ,talk, talk, gentlemen, women are dying. I am not asking anything world shaking. I am asking you only to wash…For God’s sake, wash your hands.” But virtually no one believed him. Doctors and midwives had been delivering babies for thousands of years without washing, and no outspoken Hungarian was going to change them now!
Semmelweis died insane at the age of 47, his wash basins discarded, his colleagues laughing in his face, and the death rattle of a thousand women ringing in his ears. “Wash me!” was the anguished prayer of King David. “Wash!” was the message of John the Baptist. “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me,” said the towel-draped Jesus to Peter. Without our being washed clean, we all die from the contamination of sin. For God’s sake, wash.
‘Father, cleanse us, and help us to live cleanly before you. Teach us dear Lord, in your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen!’