Living by Grace

Dedicated to providing guidance in daily living through the power of God's grace as experienced in our union with Christ.

Feeding on Ashes?

He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside; and he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”  Isaiah 44:20

The broader passage describes people making their own gods from inanimate objects such as parts of trees. To worship such gods is to feed on ashes.

Eating a bowl of ashes provides neither pleasure nor nourishment. It does result in disappointment and discomfort.

It is common knowledge that even some believers make gods of such things as occupation or family members. That is, they have put people or things before God. In doing so they feed on ashes.

One does not have to create another god to feed on ashes. One can be passionate in his devotion to God and yet be “feeding on ashes” if he does not understand the biblical teachings of how to walk with God.

No one has had a greater passion to walk with God than the Apostle Paul—and yet he found himself “feeding on ashes.” In a post-conversion testimony he writes:

I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.  Romans 7:9

He had tried in his own strength to obey the command not to covet and the result was a life filled with covetousness.

Perhaps Paul writes a personal testimony in Colossians 3:5 when he states that covetousness is idolatry. Covetousness had become a god to him. His attempt to keep the tenth commandment had left him “feeding on ashes.”

God delivered Paul from his “feeding on ashes” when he ceased trying to keep the commandments and began experiencing his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.

If we sense we are “feeding on ashes,” we can “taste and see that the Lord is good” by taking Paul’s approach to the Christian life.