“Dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return.” God first said this to the first man (Genesis 3:19). And we’ve lived with the reality of death since that awful day.
Solomon wrote, “There’s a time to be born, and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:2) – with not much time between. Jacob told Pharaoh that his age was 130 years and that his days had been few (Genesis 47:8&9). Moses said our lifespan is 70 years, or maybe 80, and then we fly away (Psalm 90:10).
Riches flee (Proverbs 23:5). Beauty fades (Proverbs 31:30). Kingdoms rise and fall. DUST.
Many authors remind us, and Jesus Himself warns us, not to get bogged down with meaningless pursuits, centering in the secondaries of property, power, and place – grasping at DUST (Matthew 6:19-21; 13:22).
James Dobson pointed out that, “If we fully comprehended the brevity of life, our greatest desire would be to serve one another. Instead, the illusion of permanence leads us to scrap and claw for power and to demand the best for ourselves.” It’s one of the devil’s magic tricks that fool humanity into believing in the permanence of DUST.
One commentator states that each child of God is challenged to let go of the transient and the trivial and to yield himself unreservedly to Him Who is coming again to receive us unto Himself.
God is Eternal. His Word is Everlasting. And souls never die. Genesis 2:7: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. We are DUST. DUST with an eternal, ever-living, never-dying soul. God has done, and continues to do, some marvelous things with DUST – when the DUST yields to the touch of its Creator.
God’s purpose for each of us is that we give up on our own dusty way that seems right to us but ends in death, and that we go His way that leads to life everlasting. Charles Swindoll wrote, “Those who determine to be Christ’s disciples replace their selfish goals and desires with God’s plan for them. They sacrifice their way for His way. A higher priority is placed on God’s will than their feelings. First and foremost, Jesus Christ is Number One in their life.”
We are to be done with sin, and let go the transitory, trivial DUST of this world. We are to set the Lord always before us (Psalm 16:8). Paul wrote to the Philippians (2:12) that they were to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. Let’s look at his statement as it’s presented in the Amplified Bible: “…work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation; timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the Name of Christ).
So how am I doing? How are we doing? How are you doing? Have we allowed DUST to gather in our spiritual lives? Do we need to do some dusting, and then continue to “press toward the mark,” for “the prize” (Philippians 3:14), lest we miss the mark and so miss the prize? Paul said, “Owe no man anything but to love one another” (Romans 13:8). Do I owe someone an apology? Forgiveness? Restitution? Love? Do I have any unfinished business? Do I need to set my spiritual house in order?
Moses wrote that when we learn to number our days, we can apply ourselves to wisdom (Psalm 90:12). “DUST thou art, and to DUST shalt thou return.” Isn’t it wisdom for us to be ready?
A wonderful old song words it like this: “Time is filled with swift transition. Naught of earth unmoved can stand. Build your hopes on things eternal. Hold to God’s Unchanging hand.” Another verse of the song warns us of DUST. “Covet not this world’s vain riches that so rapidly decay. Seek to gain the heavenly treasures. They will never pass away.”
There is no permanence in DUST. But if we will examine ourselves, and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us, we will see God doing marvelous things with the DUST that is us.
Jill Briscoe wrote, “‘Dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return.’ Know you are but dust, and cling to Him, and acknowledge freely your absolute dependence on the Source of your being, the Creator and Sustainer of your life, the Savior of your soul. Dependent Dust, He will not disappoint you.” Hold to God’s Unchanging hand.
1 Timothy 1:17