Moses instructs the people on dealing with their toilet issues in the camp. NOTHING is beyond God’s care and notice.
Today’s reading makes me realize just how completely God thinks about His people. In many societies we find it uncomfortable discussing toileting and sexual issue but God isn’t. There isn’t anything He won’t touch on. There isn’t any part of our life that is beyond or beneath His notice.
God wants His people to be holy. He wants them healthy too. So He gives them clear instructions on how to deal with the dirtiest parts of their lives.
When I first though about the “nocturnal emission” I was only thinking of a man releasing seminal fluid because of a sexually stimulating dream. Then I realized it could also mean wetting the bed or having a bowel movement in the night. Any of these things made a man unclean for the day until he bathed in the evening. This uncleanness was both physically unclean and ceremonially unclean.
All these events occur independent of the individual’s conscious control. Their unconscious mind exerts control over their body and its responses. I personally can’t count the number of times I have dreamt about needing to go to the bathroom and couldn’t find a working one or a suitable one, then wake up and realize I REALLY need to go to the bathroom. If my mind had settled on a suitable bathroom in my dream I’m pretty sure I would have woken up with a wet bed.
I’m wondering if God is saying these things made a person ceremonially unclean because they were unable to distinguish dreams from reality. I know He speaks to us in our dreams. Joseph was one who was famous for his dreams being from God.
Some people, because of illness or injury are unable to control the wastes leaving their bodies. I’m pretty sure God wasn’t lumping them in with the unclean because He is speaking here of encampments for war. Such a person would more than likely not be a soldier.
Another reason God might have given them this command is so that their enemy couldn’t locate them by smell. God had the people dig and bury their waste products. This prevented others from stepping in it and prevented the camp from smelling. I have a feeling this wasn’t the normal practice of the other nations. Israel would have already known to do this if it was a standard thing among the world’s population.
I wonder if Israel did this in their regular camp. Did they dig latrines outside their regular camp? I don’t recall God dealing with this before. I know He had the women who were menstruating go outside the camp but what about regular waste elimination. I’m SURE with the size of the camp they HAD to do something to deal with their waste.
Back to my original point; God cares about EVERY aspect of our lives. I find this so true in my own home. My husband has issues in this area and I often find myself praying for him as he tries to relieve his bladder. I KNOW God hears my prayers for Him.
Sometimes Satan tries to convince me that praying for such things is stupid or useless but I know better. My God cares about EVERYTHING in my life. He wants to hear from me about everything; not just the bad but the good also. He wants to hear what makes my heart sing in the morning. He wants me to share what is bring me down. He is waiting to listen to all the ideas I have about what I would like to do. He wants me to come to Him with ANYTHING and He is ready to listen. I may not always get the answer I want but He hears me. Of that I have NO doubt!
Father God, I am SO grateful that You care about EVERY aspect of my life. Thank You for answering the special prayers I’ve sent to You regarding my husband. ALL of them. Thank You that there isn’t any “forbidden” areas in my life that You won’t touch.
The only “forbidden” areas are the ones I keep holding back from You. I’ve labeled them “off limits” in my heart and Your Holy Spirit won’t force the doors open. Instead He brings me to a place where I am willing to tear the barriers down myself and surrender them to Him. Thank You Holy Spirit for never giving up one those areas. Your patience is beyond belief! Keep knocking on those doors please. And for the ones I really don’t know how to open; give me the keys to turn the locks so I can TRULY let You in. NOTHING is too “dirty” or difficult for You. Thank You for showing me that today.