Whoever does not receive you
Nor heed your words
As you go out of that house or that city
Shake the dust off your feet
What is the significance of “shaking the dust off the soles of your feet”? To “shake off the dust” is a vivid gesture. But before we tell you why, let’s look at three Major Prophets in the Old Testament where our Beloved LORD GOD used vivid gestures to send a profound message:
- Isaiah followed GOD’s instructions to walk around naked and barefoot for three years as a warning sign to Egypt and Ethiopia, that the people of these two countries would be led away in nakedness and shame, as captives and exiles by the King of Assyria (Isa 20:1-6).
- Jeremiah followed GOD’s instructions to purchase a lined waistband and wear it around his waist, symbolizing the closeness of Israel to GOD. But then GOD instructed him to remove the linen waistband and go and hide in the crevice of a rock. After much time has passed, he was then instructed to retrieve that linen waistband that had been ruined; symbolizing that the nation of Israel like the waistband, was once of great value, but because of their sin and idolatry had become like the waistband, ruined and totally worthless (Jer 13:1-11).
- Ezekiel followed GOD’s instructions to pack a bag that he would carry over his shoulders with bare necessities. He was to carry this bag out in daylight, so the Israelites would see him carrying it. He was then called to dig a hole through the city wall with them watching, and that night with them watching, he would go out of the city through the hole he had dug in the wall, carrying the bag on his shoulders. When the Israelites asked him what he was doing, he was instructed by The LORD GOD to tell them what all he was doing symbolized (Eze 12:1-16).
The very act of “shaking the dust off your feet” is a vivid gesture symbolizing:
- The testimony that will go against those given GOD’s message but rejected it (Mar 6:11, Luk 9:5). Those rejecting GOD’s message will be held responsible for their conduct (Pro 19:16, Eze 9:9-10, Eze 14:21-23).
- GOD’s impending judgment ― since their rejection of the messengers and the message of repentance, essentially cut them off from receiving mercy and salvation (Matt 10:14-15, Luke 10:1-16)
- Renunciation ― or formally refusing to associate with further; as well as rejecting any responsibility for (Acts 18:4-6, Eze 33:6-9, Act 20:26-27)
Under what circumstances should one “shake the dust off your feet”? When a person(s) completely rejects The WORD of GOD; often with hostility (aggressively, angrily, or unfriendly), as demonstrated by the following verses:
“They say to GOD, ‘Depart from us!
We do not even desire the knowledge of YOUR ways.
‘Who is The ALMIGHTY, that we should serve HIM,
And what would we gain if we entreat HIM?’
For this is a rebellious people, false sons, sons who refuse to listen to the instruction of The LORD; Who say to the seers, “You must not see visions”; And to the prophets, “You must not prophesy to us what is right, Speak to us pleasant words, prophesy illusions. “Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about The Holy ONE of Israel.”
Therefore thus says The LORD concerning the men of Anathoth, who seek your life, saying, “Do not prophesy in the name of The LORD, so that you will not die at our hand”; therefore, thus says The LORD of hosts, “Behold, I am about to punish them! The young men will die by the sword, their sons and daughters will die by famine; and a remnant will not be left to them, for I will bring disaster on the men of Anathoth — the year of their punishment.”
But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to The WORD, solemnly testifying to the Jews that JESUS was the CHRIST. But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
1 The 2:14-16
For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of GOD in CHRIST JESUS that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, who both killed The LORD JESUS and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to GOD, but hostile to all men, hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.
2 Tim 4:3-5
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
What is the instruction for dealing with one who is not openly hostile in their rejection of GOD’s WORD, in fact periodically comes to Church? We have been first called to examine ourselves (Psa 26:2, Luk 6:41-42, Gal 6:1-3). Secondly, we are instructed to observe their behavior (Mat 7:15-20, Luk 6:46-45). Finally with gentleness we are called to correct them as demonstrated by 2 Tim 2:24-26:
The LORD’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome
but be kind to all
able to teach
patient when wronged
with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition
if perhaps GOD may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth
and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil
having been held captive by him to do his will
How do you correct someone within the Church who continues to walk in sin, because they reject GOD’s Truth? Our Beloved LORD GOD tells us in:
“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
What does it mean in Matthew 18:17 “let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector”? It means to avoid, or do not associate with them (2 The 3:6-7, 2 The 3:14-15, 1 Cor 5:1-13). Sin is like leaven or cancer, it spreads (Gal 5:7-9), and corrupts those who associate with the willful disobedient (1 Cor 15:33).
What is the instruction for dealing with one who causes dissension (separation or problems) in the Church? We have been given clear instructions in the following verses:
Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our LORD CHRIST but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.
Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.
2 Jhn 10-11
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
But should we really reject them? Shouldn’t we pray for them? Our Beloved LORD GOD is pretty clear in HIS instructions in the aforementioned Scriptures:
- turn away from them (Rom 16:17)
- reject a factious man – a man who causes dissension (Tit 3:10)
- do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting (2 Jhn 10)
Again the reason for rejecting one who is intent on causing dissension, is to stop the spread or growth of dissension in the body. We have not only witnessed the impeding of Church growth, we have even seen Churches destroyed from the division allowed to fester and grow within the body. Our Beloved LORD JESUS has called HIS body to live in unity (Psa 133:1, Eph 4:1-3, Col 3:12-14), harmony, being of the same mind (Rom 15:5, Rom 12:16, 2 Cor 13:11, Php 2:2, 1 Pet 3:8), and love (Rom 12:10, 1 Pet 1:22, 1 Pet 4:8). In fact HE tells us the world will know we are HIS disciples, by our love for each other (Jhn 13:35).
And yes we should pray diligently for them until HE tells us to cease praying for them.
Would GOD really tell you to quit praying for someone? Absolutely, as demonstrated in Jeremiah 7:1-16, and Jeremiah 14:10-12. Our GOD is very merciful and patient, not wanting anyone to perish (2 Pet 3:9), but after many warnings and call to repentance, there will be finally judgment/punishment (2 Chr 36:15-17, Jer 7:25-26, Jer 25:3-11, Luk 11:49, 1 Cor 4:11-13).
The one who listens to you listens to ME
And the one who rejects you rejects ME
And he who rejects ME
Rejects The One who sent ME