Wisdom's Corner
Do Not Let the Dust Be Shaken Off in Your House

In New Testament times the land of the heathen was considered unclean by the rabbis. God had said that the Israelites were not to allow the Canannites to stay in the land of Canaan because they would pollute the land. The Jews had come to think that the very dirt was unclean in heathen lands. "

Because of this thinking, when leaving a heathen land after traveling the Jew would kick off the dust from his shoes. He did not want to bring unclean dirt into the land of Palestine. And he especially did not want to bring it into his house. Many rabbis would not even allow plants to be brought from a heathen country because they were afraid there would be dust on the roots of the plant. And this dust would defile the land in Palestine.

This practice was to show all around that they had come to a friendly agreement or completed a contract of some kind. This was done in the open so that all could see that each was happy with what they were doing. Thus, they had witnesses to the fact that they both agreed on whatever they were doing.

It is not known if this custom was being done at the time of Christ. But if it were, it would help explain what Christ was saying in the above verses. Our alms to God are not to be done in a way that we make sure everyone sees what we are doing. Our alms to God are to be done quietly and in secret. We do not put on a show so that others are impressed or so that they are witnesses to what we have done in our giving.

Our right hand does not need to know what our left hand is doing when we give to the Lord. Besides, God is a spirit. There would be no way to do the above custom with God. And we are not making a contract with God nor are we making a friendly agreement when we give our alms. We are giving a portion of what God has blessed us with back to Him because we love Him and He has commanded us to give.

This explanation is true even if the finger custom was not being done at the time of Christ. Do not make a show of what you give to God. Give to Him in love and in a quiet way.

Get the wisdom of God. If any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you. And until next time, keep reading your Bible.

Mark McWhorter

Copyright 1999

Published by The Old Paths Bible School