Ashes In the Bible
In Bible days, they placed ashes on the head as a sign of deep mourning.
- Loss for a loved one: Mordecai grieving for the coming assault on his people.
- In humiliation or shame: Tamar raped by her brother, Amnon.
- In deep contrition: the people of Nineveh repented in sackcloth and ashes.
- Like Job: overwhelmed by grief, covered his head with ash, then sat in ashes.
You see, it was customary to anoint the head with oil. But when grieving, people covered their heads in ashes and even dust signifying the brevity of life.
His honor, instead of ashes, rests on your head. It is His sign of approval and favor.
You Don’t Have to Wear Ashes
If Jesus is your Saviour, you don’t need to wear ashes. Instead, the Heavenly Father tenderly takes the ashes of sin and shame – placing them upon the Lamb. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. So Abba Father washes you with the precious blood of the Lamb – sacrificed for you. Then, He anoints and seals you with His Holy Spirit.
Think about this. The Lord of Life comes with compassion alongside you in your desolation. God exchanges the ashes for a covering of beauty as the beauty of Christ rests upon your head. The head covered by lack, dust, or ashes – signifying worthlessness and dishonor – is removed from you. On your head, rests His honor, His sign of approval and favor.
In Place of Ashes Is a Beautiful Head Covering
Let’s delve a bit deeper.
In the Old Testament days, priests ministered before the Lord wearing a beautiful head covering. Brides wore beautiful bonnets on their wedding day. Both are coverings of honor and glory.
What does a head covering have to do with this? The word in Hebrew translated beauty means bonnet or turban; it is a beautiful head covering.
Provision is available to cover any neglect, abuse, or lack in your life. But that covering is not to hide your pain, it’s to make you beautiful. The Lord does this as a process focusing on one thing at a time. Do you feel anxiety? Or fear? There is a root. Do you struggle with guilt? Something planted that seed in your heart. Do you walk in shame or loneliness? There is a way to escape from the darkness locking you in pain.
The Living God respects you!
You have agency. You are not a victim nor a puppet in His holy presence. Only you may choose if you receive beauty in the place of ashes.
- Will you bow your head in humility before Him and allow Him to wash you?
- Will you invite Him to search the hidden things of your heart, cleanse you and fill up your lack with His righteousness?
The Living God respects you. That’s amazing!
He allows you to choose to receive His blessing or to reject it. But guess what? Change is tough. And scary. It is easier to cling to your ashes. If you do, that sign of humiliation becomes pride and self-sufficiency, when, like Frank Sinatra, you do it your own way – rejecting the sacrifice God provided.
Today, the Lord wants to take anything that blocks you from walking in joy and clothe you in the head-dress of His beloved bride, and then make you into a priest to your God.
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes
Isaiah 61:3a (NKJV)