Starving Out the Dust Eater
A Little on Deliverance for Ash Wednesday
If you are “saved” and yet you are accused of these serious breaches against the law of Yahweh, you may indeed be cast away in chains -- unless you humble yourself and admit to the truth of these accusations (if true).
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Genesis 3:1-20 Matthew 5:25-26 Isaiah 64:1-9
(Darby Version) Bereshit 3:1. And the serpent was more crafty than any animal of the field which Yahweh Elohim had made. And it said to the woman, Is it even so, that Elohim has said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2. And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3. but of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, Elohim has said, Ye shall not eat of it, and ye shall not touch it, lest ye die. 4. And the serpent said to the woman, Ye will not certainly die; 5. but Elohim knows that in the day ye eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and ye will be as Elohim, knowing good and evil. 6. And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a pleasure for the eyes, and the tree was to be desired to give intelligence; and she took of its fruit, and ate, and gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8. And they heard the voice of Yahweh Elohim, walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And Man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh Elohim, in the midst of the trees of the garden. 9. And Yahweh Elohim called to Man, and said to him, Where art thou? 10. And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I feared, because I am naked; and I hid myself. 11. And he said, Who told thee that thou art naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee not to eat? 12. And Man said, The woman, whom thou hast given to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate. 13. And Yahweh Elohim said to the woman, What is this thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate.
14. And Yahweh Elohim said to the serpent, Because thou hast done this, be thou cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field. On thy belly shalt thou go, and eat dust all the days of thy life. 15. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he shall crush thy head, and thou shalt crush his heel. 16. To the woman he said, I will greatly increase thy travail and thy pregnancy; with pain thou shalt bear children; and to thy husband shall be thy desire, and he shall rule over thee.
17. And to Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed be the ground on thy account; with toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18. and thorns and thistles shall it yield thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. 19. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou return to the ground: for out of it wast thou taken. For dust thou art; and unto dust shalt thou return. 20. And Man called his wife's name Chava; because she is the mother of all living.
Isaiah 64 1. Oh, that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, -- that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, 2. -- as fire kindleth brushwood, as the fire causeth water to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations might tremble at thy presence! 3. When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, and the mountains flowed down at thy presence. 4. Never have men heard, nor perceived by the ear, nor hath eye seen a God beside thee, who acteth for him that waiteth for him. 5. Thou meetest him that rejoiceth to do righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: (behold, thou wast wroth, and we have sinned:) in those is perpetuity, and we shall be saved. 6. And we are all become as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have carried us away; 7. and there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee; for thou hast hidden thy face from us, and hast caused us to melt away through our iniquities. 8. And now, Jehovah, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. 9. Be not wroth very sore, O Yah, neither remember iniquity for ever. Behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.
This lesson (Genesis 3:1-20) is the story of Adam and Eve’s fall from the grace of Yahweh at the instigation of Satan, who is portrayed as a snake. All who herein disobeyed were chastised. The primary punishment of the man and woman was that, since they’d originally been made from dust; that they would return to dust. Dust is the essence of our flesh, thus our carnal nature. Dust is at enmity with Yahweh. It is that which keeps us from being perfectly obedient to him. The paradox is that the serpent’s judgment is also dust. He will be a dust eater. That very dust of which we are composed is what nourishes our adversary, the serpent, the devil.
Lent is a good time to realize that, because we came from dust and may return to dust, the source of much of our oppression on earth originates in our own carnal, dusty nature. We need to wrestle with the fact that our dust will always be a temptation for the devil. What we willfully do that is contrary to the will of Yahweh will always be an invitation to the adversary, who will undermine our prayers and neutralize our walk with Yahweh.
Perhaps the hardest thing for believers like us, saved by grace, to do is to look honestly and objectively at ourselves. We don’t want to behold such personal ugliness, dysfunction and sloth! But if we are to succeed in overcoming the devil and exposing and plundering his works, then we have no choice but to look squarely at exactly what kind of dirty dust is inside. The scene is almost always frightening.
And when we dare open ourselves to view such monumental piles of inward garbage, we’re all the more anxious to rationalize reasons why we should keep such foul collections hidden rather than submit them to Yahweh’s scrutiny. We hope to come to the realization that we might as well show him all for, the fact is, He sees it all whether we show him or not.
The Safe Place of Humility
I’m glad to know that there is a safe haven where we may show him what’s inside. That “shelter of grace” is the altar of Yahshua’ sacrifice. Only there may we share with our Elohim all the inward garbage, shortcomings and mark-missings; only there: in the safety of the shadow of the cross. In this sacred space, Yahweh can never be shocked or horrified by our sins. In fact, he loved us even when we were without restraint. How much more will he now care, console, love and help us as we seek his power to become free?
We so need a good dose of humility before our creator, an honest eye toward his holiness, a desire to compare his will and way with ours, and to make a decision to make our way upon the narrow road that leads to virtue, perfection and eternal life. There can be no other road for the believer who desires to defeat the enemy above all other things.
Satan fears virtue. He is terrified of humility; he hates it. He sees a humble person and it sends chills down his back. His hair stands up when Believers kneel down, for humility is the surrender of the soul to G-d. The devil trembles before the meek because in the very areas where he once had access, there stands Yahshua Messiah, and Satan is terrified by him.
We so enjoy bird watching around the bird feeder. In Georgia we lived in a wooded area on the second floor of a large house. We put feeders out on the deck and after a few weeks the birds found them. We saw cardinals, jays, chickadees, titmouses and hummingbirds along with the usual crowd of mockingbirds, wrens, finches, thrashers and thrushes. Birds are very aggressive. They fight like cats and dogs; the cute little hummingbirds seem the most violent of all. I saw one big hummingbird that kept flying into the bird feeder tank. He’d hit it then fly off. He’d come back and hit it again and fly off. He was fighting off nothing more than his own reflection in the shiny plastic.
“You dumb bird,” I thought. “Your own likeness is your worst enemy.” But the Holy Spirit said, “You dumb man. You have the same enemy as the bird.” Indeed it’s true. Our greatest enemies are encountered when those dirty little things we have withheld from his forgiving love and sustaining power are reflected off other people and circumstances. They resound inside our minds and eat up any decency they find. So many of the battles we fight are merely the consequences of our own past actions. Therefore, on the narrow way, it’s important to sort out exactly what’s of the body and what’s of the devil. Sweep up the dust of the flesh and the devil will have little upon which to feed. Starve out the dust feeder!
I like the simple test that Charles Kraft mentions in his book, I Give You Authority. He says that if we believe we have all authority over the devil through the blood of Yahshua then when we are annoyed by something and expect it’s Satan, we might just as well demand, “If this is the enemy, cut it out!” Then if the annoyance doesn’t cease within a short period of time, we may assume the enemy is dust; that is, in our own flesh. It might be an oversimplification but there are occasions when it’s worked!
Agreeing with the Opponent
Matthew 5:25-26. Yahshua is of course speaking of settling a legal matter out of court. But in a more cosmic sense, the parable explains Yahweh’s viewpoint of human righteousness. In this parable, the judge is Yahweh, the accuser is Satan and the accused is you and I. The truth is that as long as we base our case on our own rightness, the accuser will always have a legal right to send us to Riker’s Island. That’s because our defense case for innocence, based upon our own goodness and gracious personalities, is written upon filthy rags. No judge, even one who loves you, will accept such disrespect and lack of concern.
Yahshua says, “Come to terms with your opponent in good time” (NJB). This doesn’t mean to give in to the devil. It does means that if the devil is in any way right about the accusation, even a smidgen, our best defense is to agree with him about our sin. For instance, if the devil accuses you of being impure and is even right in the minutest way, then, before a Holy Judge, your righteousness is indeed unacceptable. No matter how we plead our case, we know inwardly that the accusations of the devil have some validity. We stand accused!
We know that our salvation, even our holiness, isn’t based so much on what we do but on who Yahshua has become for us. He is our righteousness. Satan will focus attention on the dust and garbage. But the more we can see Yahshua as our righteousness, the less we should have to endure assaults in the courtroom of our own righteousness. In other words, if the accuser says, “You don’t have enough compassion,” you may counter, “this is true, devil; I don’t have enough compassion. But Yahshua of Nazareth died for all my sins, even my imperfect love.” Submit yourself to the judge and plead your case through the blood of Yahshua rather than through your filthy rags.
Having lack of compassion really seems like a tiny crime these days. Who has enough compassion? How about these accusations: “You don’t fulfill your commitment to G-d through your commitment to church! You are a glutton! You commit sins of the mind – adultery, fornication, covetousness! You lied about this or that! You didn’t observe Yahweh’s Sabbath! You killed your mother!” And on and on. Do any of these hit home? What to do?
As the King James versions puts it,
Matthew 5:25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
If you are “saved” and yet you are accused of these serious breaches against the law of Yahweh, you may indeed be cast away in chains -- unless you humble yourself and admit to the truth of these accusations (if true). Ask Yahshua to put them behind you and go and sin no more. Don’t give the devil anything else, not even a dusty morsel. If you sin, just quit it. If you have fleshly strongholds in your life, with the help of the Holy Spirit, make every effort to overcome them. Draw near to Elohim and he’ll draw near to you.
The Vital Key
The vital key, then, to overcoming the fact that you are dust and may return there is humility! Humility in the fact that you are but a sinner saved only by grace should be exercised in every situation where the devil could otherwise accuse you. Such humility sets up a sure defensive line around you, prohibiting strife, competition, sin and life’s irritations from stealing your peace and your salvation. You have plenty of chances every single day to put these principles into practice. And if you are a sinner in fact, then repent or your sin and believe the Gospel.
Remember, Satan fears virtue because virtue
is the clothing of Righteousness.
Satan is terrified of humility because humility is surrender to Yahweh. My friends, let’s start on a new footing
beginning this Ash Wednesday that will carry through these forty days that will
bring us to perfection and send the devil reeling. Live intentionally every minute and you’ll find yourself
overcoming the flesh, becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be.
March 5, 2003