“When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. ”
“Dry places” in these verses refer to specific locations without water. How interesting it is to me that the unclean spirit seeks out such places to abide. How can fruit come from such a place? I am reminded of the Parable of the Sower. Some seed came to rest on the stony ground, a dry place indeed. That seed was gladly received, but found no place to root there; and so withered and died. Seed cannot grow in such a place. We will look in vain for fruit in a barren place.
In this verse, when the unclean spirit returns, he finds a tidy space made ready and prepared, but unoccupied. “Empty” here means, to cease from labor; loiter; to be at leisure; unoccupied. How very interesting. Oh, Fig Tree, listen closely for your lesson! The appearance of this dwelling was neat and ready, but unoccupied. Is your life free from the very labor for which it was created? The leaves of the fig tree were full and abundant, but it lacked in its very purpose for being…fruit.
In Scripture, the Word of God is alive and is meant to be the vehicle for the inspection and cleansing of our lives. It is the Living Water and the bottomless well of wisdom. It is free and abundant. It is taken in by us and given out to others. Water brings life on our physical planet and to our spirits as well. Without water life upon this earth will cease; as well in our spirits will we suffer greatly from a lack of the water of the Word.
God is so good to give us real life examples of spiritual truths. As we plant seeds, we must first prepare the soil and then plant the seed. This germ of life needs sun and water. It will also need the very necessary nutrients found in manure and other such decomposing matter that either comes from waste products or death. In time and with the husbandman’s care, our fruit we will enjoy and it is this very fruit that is a delight to our Lord and that can be used to bless the lives of others.
In our spiritual life, we must allow the plowing and fertilizing to take place. The Master Gardener’s instruments are sharp; they are piercing and thorough. He then takes what we see as “good for nothing” and even that which seems offensive to us, and sprinkles just so much of it in our lives to nourish the seed He has planted. The presence of the Son and the Water of the Word are vital for our growth.
The dry places in our lives are the potential dwelling places of the unclean spirits. This “unclean spirit” is defined as “the influence which fills and governs the soul and is unclean in thought and life”. (Strong’s) Praise the Lord for the gift of His Holy Spirit that indwells and so fills the believer that an evil spirit can no longer reside within us, but we open up the door to the evil one and his oppression as we invite the wrong influence into our thoughts and give place to him in our hearts. Why the strong warning and specific steps to put on the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:11-18? We have a wily opponent bent on our destruction and defend ourselves we must.
Sometimes we disable ourselves, we “shoot ourselves in the foot” so that we are unable to serve God as we ought. How? We allow the influence of wrong thinking to hold dominion thereby quenching the Spirit’s influence. To “quench” means to cool or to become cool. Dear one, fan the fire of His influence in your thoughts and life! Keep His counsel in your thoughts bright and warm by throwing log after log of the dead wood of old-man thinking atop the burning coals of His truth. Be attentive to the lessons of the Master that are occurring at every turn and in every corner in the classroom of your life.
It is an act of faith to sit still long enough and quietly enough to hear from God. By faith, you must come to His open Book and ask Him to speak to you. Friend, plead with God for understanding. Beg Him for ears that do hear. Jesus said, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Matt. 13:15) Christian Sister, listen: having ears to hear the Voice of God! Not everyone has this privileged position. When you hear God’s voice, take note and praise His mercy for so dealing with such a one as you!
Why do we expect God to work when we give Him nothing to work with? We want His wisdom, yet we sit not still at His feet. We want His calming of our troubled seas, yet we call not out to Him in faith, nor do we see Him as a very passenger of our barque. We want His answer, but we are not willing to search His Word for His unchanging truth. We want comfort in times of trouble, but we provide not the Scripture in our hearts to allow the Comforter to do His perfect work.
How can the Spirit work if we have not given Him any tools with which to work? If we have starved our spirit and engorged our flesh, how can the strength be there to fight the battle? We have pierced ourselves through with many sorrows. Friend, give rest unto thy soul! Give rest unto thy spirit! Torment it not with worldly pursuits, ambitions and entertainments. “Seek the LORD and His strength, seek His face continually.” (1Chron. 16:11) Open your mind and heart to Him. Spend time in His Holy, living, full-of-wisdom Word awaiting His moving, not demanding it. Lay before Him your willingness to be stretched, and your willingness to wait; and then wait.
Faithful and fervent we must strive to be. A toned and fit body comes not through rest, but through the abuse and hardship of straining and resisting, pushing our body to its very limits. A hydrated body responds well to physical exercise. Water flushes its system and satiates its thirst. Sweat carries away impurities. There are no dry places to be found in an active body that is straining towards the goal!
Set your earthen vessel before His fountain and let Him fill it to overflowing. Keep your life hydrated, satiated, green and growing. Place your vessel close to another’s vessel and let the abundance flow freely into their life. “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37b-38)
As seasons of life change, Elizabeth happily remains desperately dependent upon her God. Two of her four children have now branched off to begin their own families. She is a homeschooling veteran and a faithful wife of almost 30 years.