As Christians we think that when we come to Christ everything will be a bed of roses. At times, we have to wrestle with things that seem the exact opposite of what we know of God. At times, I get questions as a pastor to try to explain the Tsunamis, earthquakes, illness, and such. Quite frankly, there are no real answers.
Some perplexing things are:
1. At times we are confronted with God’s infinite friendship, where at other times we are confronted with the vastness and infinite power of God.
2. At times he seems like a tender father, and at other times he seems like a distant authority in the sky somewhere.
3. We understand that God knows the end from the beginning, yet he tells us to pray and ask for the things we desire. But he already knows what they are and what he will do.
4. We believe in his total control in all things. Yet at times things happen that we know are not part of his revealed will.
5. He wants us to know him but sometimes when we need him the most he does not clearly reveal himself to us.
6. He promises to answer our prayers yet sometimes, he does not seem to answer them when we think that we need them the most.
7. He promises to protect us yet you and I can not deny that we have experience loss, pain, and heartbreak.
Now these issues will destroy your life if you do not have one necessary component. That necessary component is a rock solid assurance in the character of God. When you can not understand what He is doing, the only thing you have left is your certainty that in His essence and character he is absolutely perfect holy and trustworthy. The typical response to people is that they filter God through our experience. We look at God through the filter of what we are going through. We should be interpreting our lives through the filter of what you know about me. Until we get this down, we are going to be victims of life’s circumstance instead of an over=comer and conqueror.
Now we looked at all of this for a reason. We have a women who gets a response from Christ that almost goes against everything we know of Him. As we read Matthew 15:22-28, we will see our Saviour in a light that on the surface is perplexing. It doesn’t sound like the Jesus Christ I know. Prior to this, Christ has been heavily engages in ministry. Recently, he was rebuking the Pharisees. Look at chapter 15:7. The Jews are rejecting their Messiah. They are more interested in keeping their man made religion and customs. He has challenged them openly. It is at this point that He leaves the area and leaves His territory of Israel and going into a Gentile land. Look with me at vs. 21-28.
Does it seem to be an aspect of Christ that we are not comfortable with? Didn’t he say that if we come to him he will not cast us out? (John 6:37 ) He said I will never leave thee nor forsake them. He said come unto me all ye that labour and heavy laden and I will five you rest. Dare we say it, but the Lord almost seems indifferent and cold toward her.
Must we interpret Jesus through situation or must we interpret the text throught the character and nature of God. After all we know that no one cared for this women or her daughter that God. It was not be to terribly long before Christ would lay his life down on the cross for both of them.
I. A women with a desparate heart (vs. 22)
A. She was burdened
1. She was a woman of Canaan crying to the Lord
2. She was not part of Israel and had no access to their promises.
3. She came from the people that years prior God had commanded to be exterminated.
4. She found that none of the God’s her people worship could do anything for her Daughter, so she came to Christ.
5. She cried for mercy because she was absolutely helpless with no claim to come to Christ.
B. She was borrowing
1. She employs a term that she had no right to use
2. She called Christ , Thou Son of David, a highly Jewish term
3. Would have been great if she was an Israelite
4. She knew the terminology and was borrowing on faith that she really did not have
5. Christ did not respond to her.
C. She was broken.
1. She was a mum with a girl who was demon possessed.
2. Grievously vexed means miserably demonize. Demonic possession was rampant during this time.
3. None of the Canaanite gods could help her
4. Remember demonic activity is real today. Their goal and passion is to destroy what God loves: people. The only way to be protected from them is to be under the blood of Christ.
II. A women with a determined heart (23-24)
A. she faced the test of silence.
1. She came in a desparate situation and Christ never answered here. As a matter of fact, He ignores here.
2. I bet everyone here this morning has been in this situation:
You came to God properly and poured your heart out to God and you are waiting…….your are waiting……and all there is is
silence! (illustration: of when God was silent in my life. I remember saying to the Lord “Fine if you are not going to talk, I am just going to trust you anyways! Funny thing is that is exactly what God wanted. It was a time when God took me off the breast , weaned me, your not going to be a suckling anymore. You must grow and walk and if you need me to encourage you every step of the way you will never make it. He has taught me that at times when You don’t hear from me, you know must character……just trust me, I know what I am doing Son.)
As long as you have the Word of God, He is never silent. To say that God doesn’t speak to you is not all that entire accurate.
B. She faced the test of fear.
1. The disciples gave counsel to get rid of her.
2. Look back at vs 14-15
3. The disciples wanted to hang out with Jesus and when the people got to demanding they wanted him to send the people away!
4. Christ was not their to destroy her faith but rather to draw her faith out of her.
5. How many times have their been someone in our lives that they really needed something from the Lord. Maybe he wanted to use you but you thought it best if the problem went away!
6. This lady had no where to go.
7. This was a divine appointment. Christ never was nor never would be present in this area.
8. When silence is dragged out, sometimes we feel that God is sending us way. She remained determined.
C. She faced the test of hopelessness
1. Apparently Christ was telling her that He was not interested in helping the Gentiles. Remember before this, He healed the Roman centurion’s servant, he helped the Samaritan women at the well.
2. The Lord seems to be creating in her a deeper sense of desperation. Do allow for the possibility, that when you feel like you can’t take anymore that God may do just that and give you more.
3. What do you do when it seems that God “lets you up for air” only for another wave to come crashing down on your head. It is at this time most people get bitter.
4. Remember that our Salvation came from the avenue of the Jews. (Romans 1:16; Mt 10:5-6; John 10:16) The Jews had “first dibs” on how to respond to the Gospel. (Mt 12:17-21)
5. Christ is simply saying is that his ministry in that moment is entire to the house of Israel.
6. He had just received hostile treatment to the Jews. He was sourronded by Jewish disciples. They must have been wondering, “Now, what? Is He going to abandon the Jews? Is this going to disrupt the kingdom to come.”
7. With this response, Christ does 2 things:
a. He draws out deeper faith from the women
B. He puts in deeper faith to his disciples.
Her need has not been addressed except from the Disciples to turn her away. Christ had only told her that He was come to help Israel. Through this all, her daughter was still lying at home plagued by the demons! She is out of options. She has heard nothing from the Saviour. She has heard rejection from His closest followers. She got a doctrinal statement from the Saviour that leaves her on the outside. Now, what would you do? What does it take to derail our faith in difficult times? We live in a generation of very shallow faith! (Illustration: child that wants its bickie and wants it now…the mum says after dinner.) That is perfectly normal behaviour for a toddler but it is horrible behaviour from the people of God, when we want what we want and we want it now from God.
III. A Women with a discerning heart (vs. 25-27)
A. She understood that their were no other options (Lord help me!)
1. worshipped means to fall down. She was absolutely out of options. She was rejected, ignored, and ruffed but she drew closer!
2. Remember, Jesus knew her heart and how she would respond but she did not; therefore she had to go through this process.
3. Through these events, Christ is bringing us to the point of utter shattering and breaking. You will only have the joy, peace, and contentment of the Christian life as you participate in this breaking.
B. She understood she had no entitlement. (26)
1. Culture for Jews and Gentiles to interact this way.
2. Most Jews used a word of dog that meant scavenging mongrels.
3. Jesus used the word for a domesticated small house puppies.
4. Christ is the master, Israel is the children. He is offering them the food of the promises and covenants of God. He is telling the women that you are a house puppy. You are not the first inline to receive these things that have been foretold and prophesied for the Jews.
5. It seems like he is making it harder rather than giving her what she wanted. There are times when God wants us to find our how badly we want it, but we quit before we ever get it. There are times where if He gave us something to soon that we would never appreciate it.
6. Every time that He said no, it created a deeper longing in her heart to have it.
7. Earlier in the chapter, the Jews had been promised everything and believed nothing. She had been promised nothing but believed everything.
C. She understood she had nothing to bargin with but was willing to take the crumbs from Gods table. (27)
1. You know that you have had a break through with the Lord when His crumbs are just as appealing as His buffet.
2. When you are content with the very least from God because you know that is more than you deserve from God. In our day and age, we feel very entitled to everything.
3. You must find the place in your heart where you do not feel that you have a leg to stand on when you are tempted to demand God to do something in your life.
4. God does not owe you anything.
IV. A woman with a displayed heart (vs. 28)
A. She is used as an example of great faith.
B. She did not do anything except wait there for Christ to bless her.
C. 2 times the phrase great is thy faith is used in the Bible both are spoken to Gentiles.
We need to get to the place in our life where we realize that we do not deserve anything. When we do get something from God, it is all because of G-R-A-C-E. That is where He gets the glory. She learned to deal with silence, fear, and rejection and to wait on God for the crumbs. She went away blessed because she was bold in her faith and willing to wait on God.
Christians, when God is silent don’t quite. When the disciples (Christians all around you) get in the way, you don’t stop. You are not there for them; you’re their for him. When the door is slammed once or twice, you are still there knocking, seeking, asking, and waiting Are you willing to seek God with your whole heart? He says when you do that, I will be found out you.