When we read the account of the Israelites wandering in the desert, our eyes tend to glaze over. There are SO many laws, SO many rules, and SO many things that just seem weird to us. Take this one for instance:
“The priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet material and cast it into the midst of the burning heifer.” Numbers 16:6
Then it gets even weirder . . .
“Then for the unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the burnt purification from sin and flowing water shall be added to them in a vessel . . . ” Numbers 19:17
So if you were unclean, you were supposed to grab some of the ash of this heifer that also had cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet material. Then you were supposed to WASH with this stuff.
What? Sounds cultish, no? But God is so much smarter than we are. Modern science has proven why God commanded those who were unclean – as in those who had touched a dead body who could possibly get a disease – to wash with this weird mixture.
Cedar wood added to heifer ashes makes lye, equivalent to our modern day soap.
Hyssop can be converted to alcohol which kills bacteria.
And scarlet wool is gritty and abrasive, a really good way to cleanse your skin.
So why all these added together? To make sure a person was clean, free of disease, and free to walk about the camp and not infect others.
Now when you read the account of the Israelites wandering in the desert and you come to something slightly bizarre, know that Daddy had a reason.
He always does.
Trust Him today even if you are rolling in the ashes.
Those ashes just might be cleansing you.
**Info found in “Let There Be Light” by Jay Seegert. Published 2012