Gates in the Bible: Gates of Jerusalem, Part 7: The Dung Gate -- By Sue Ramsey and Lyn Chaffart
In last week's lesson on the gates of Jerusalem, we saw that trials and tribulations will come in every Christian's walk, yet we will never be tried beyond what we can bear with God at our side. God gives us the time we need to learn to trust Him and lean explicitly on Him so that we can stand up to those "valley" experiences. It is our responsibility to take advantage of these times by walking with God everyday, by working on our relationship with Him and learning to trust Him. If we do, that "valley" experience will be manageable! Today's lesson takes us to the next gate mentioned in the series: The Dung Gate. 

"The Dung Gate was repaired by Malkijah son of Recab, ruler of the district of Beth Hakkerem. He rebuilt it and put its doors and bolts and bars in place."
(Neh 3:14 NIV)

There is little in the Bible commentaries concerning the Dung Gate. It was believed to have been built at a distance of at least 1500 feet from the previous gate, the Valley Gate, though some say it may have actually been built even farther than that, as it was far from the road. The gate itself was built by just one person, Malkijah, son of Recab, and it was believed to be used to take the rubbish out of Jerusalem, down to the valley of Hinnom, to be burned. [1]

What does this "Dung Gate" mean to us today? In order to fully understand, let's first remember the significance of the previous gate, the Valley Gate, symbolic of the trials that Christians pass through in order for their faith to grow. God allows the "valley" experience to teach us things and to clear out the "junk" in our characters. And once God has uncovered this "junk" and helped us to deal with it, then it must be disposed of, hence, the Dung Gate!

Just imagine for a moment what a city the size of Jerusalem might look like if there were no place to dispose of the rubbish. Imagine what your own home might begin to look like if you never cleaned out the trash! It is the same in our lives. Clearing away the "dung" is never easy, but it is very beneficial, not only to ourselves, but also to those around us.

But just what is this "rubbish"?

The New Testament doesn't make any reference to "rubbish", but it makes many references to "old": "Get rid of the OLD YEAST that you may be a new batch without yeast-as you really are." (1 Cor 5:10 NIV). In 1 Cor. 5:8 we are told what that OLD YEAST is: ". . . The yeast of MALICE AND WICKEDNESS . . ."

There it is: our first definition of "rubbish" - Malice and wickedness!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the OLD HAS GONE, the NEW has come!" (2 Cor 5:17 NIV); "For we know that our OLD self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin." (Rom 6:6-7 NIV); and "Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your OLD SELF WITH ITS PRACTICES and have put on the NEW SELF, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." (Col 3:9-10 NIV).

Eph 4:22 gives us an idea of what the "old self" is: "you were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to PUT OFF YOUR OLD SELF, which is being corrupted by ITS DECEITFUL DESIRES . . ."

The next definition of "rubbish" is our deceitful desires!

"The ACTS OF THE SINFUL NATURE are obvious: SEXUAL IMMORALITY, IMPURITY and DEBAUCHERY; IDOLATRY and WITCHCRAFT; HATRED, DISCORD, JEALOUSY, fits of RAGE, SELFISH AMBITION, DISSENTIONS, FACTIONS and ENVY; DRUNKENNESS, ORGIES, and the like." (Gal 5:17-21)

That pretty well sums it up, doesn't it? The "rubbish", or the "dung" that must be done away with, is malice, wickedness, deceitful desires-basically our sinful natures! We must do away with our old selves so that the image of Christ can begin to be reflected in our lives!

Enough to ponder, friends, but do ponder this: When God walks us through the "Valley" experience, He often does so to uncover rubbish of our own sinful natures. Once out in the open, this needs to be transported out of our lives, through the Dung Gate, to be burned so as to never return.

But how can the rubbish be "tossed", and what are the benefits of tossing it? Join us next week to take a look at the next gate in the series, the Fountain Gate!

God bless each of you abundantly.

Sue Ramsey & Lyn Chaffart Volunteers, Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org

[1] from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.) on Neh. 3:13,14

(To access the entire "Gates in the Bible" mini-series, please click here.)