During her childhood years, Joni would spend her summers with her family camping at the beach. Her father would sing hymns like, “Cleanse Me Oh God,” a very old hymn.
Hi, I’m Joni and here’s a hymn my daddy taught me so many years ago:
Search me, O God, and know my heart today
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.
Oh, does that song bring back warm, sunlit memories of summer days on the beach camping with my family. I’ve shared with you before how my daddy would pitch a big tent he got at the Sunny’s Surplus Store: an army tent that comfortably fit me, my sisters, and all eight of my cousins. Never were there sweeter days than summertime camping on the Delaware Shore.
Oh, sure, I loved swimming in the ocean and digging in the dunes, but nighttimes around the fire were the best. I dug my toes into the sand, hugged my knees, and drew close to the campfire. The flames warmed our faces while behind us the night air chilled our backs. Huddled with my sisters and cousins, I smelled the burning logs and breathed in the fire’s heat. All of us would sit there in awe of my father because he stood across the campfire from us, a figure a-swirl in rising heat and smoke, his face under lit by flame as if he were a prophet on Mount Sinai.
And Daddy would stand there leading us in songs: hymns and Gospel songs from when he grew up as a kid. And this one I just sang "cleanse me oh God, and know my heart today," well, I don't think there's a church around that still sings that old favorite, but I sure do love the tune. It's a melody the missionaries brought back from the Maori Indians who lived on the islands in northern New Zealand. The tune is so soft and nostalgic, and I think that's why I sing it whenever I think about beach camping as a kid.
But I'll tell you something else I think of this hymn I sang, "Cleanse Me Oh God” … and I’ll think of Psalm 139: where it says, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Just like Psalm 139 is a prayer, so are the words to this hymn. And honestly, when I sing it, I want you to know I'm singing it as a prayer; I mean, just listen to these words: "cleanse me oh God, and know my heart today, try me, O Savior, hear the words I pray: see if there be some wicked way in me, cleanse me from every sin and set me free."
Always and always we need cleansing. The Bible says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God," and isn't it true how our souls need scrubbing! This is why I encourage you to learn and memorize the words to this old hymn. And then, whenever you need to go to God in repentance, whatever you need to confess, sing this hymn. Thank you for joining me today for a very musical rendition of Joni and Friends, where there's always a reason to sing.
© Joni and Friends
- Your email address will not be published with your comment or be displayed anywhere on our website.
- We do not rent or sell your personal information to other companies or individuals.