Our devotion today is based upon Matthew Chapter 15 beginning with verse 22
A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.(Matthew 15:22-28)
Now in this story before us, Jesus seems to do something kind of out of character. He almost sounds like he’s being mean toward this woman. A Canaanite woman in that part of the world, there were very few people that had faith in Christ as the coming Messiah. But this woman we’re told had traveled to come and see him. And in this text Jesus is hunting for her faith. He’s seeking her faith even somebody who is from a pagan land.
If you were to walk in on someone who is a coach on the old show “The Biggest Loser” you probably would have thought that person who was yelling at a participant didn’t care for them. And yet everything they’re doing is to try to help that person. Sometimes when we try to help people it doesn’t always appear like help on the surface.
Someone once said this about Jesus in this story. Jesus, like a hunter, exercises and chases faith in his followers in order that it may become strong and firm. His final comments to this woman show that he really did admire the great faith that she had and her persistence of faith.
Sometimes the way God deals with us seems to contradict what we think we would know about him and how we would expect him as a gracious, caring, and loving God. But sometimes God wants to teach us not to go based on our feelings and our emotions, but rather back to His word and His promises. The master of our faith knows precisely what we his followers need to have. And sometimes even some tough love and encouragement as well.
Now noticed this Canaanite woman, she’s also hunting for something. She’s hunting for the promises of God’s grace. The Holy Spirit has created faith in her heart to love her Savior and she cries out in faith “have mercy on me oh Lord, Son of David.” And she is not going to be denied. Okay, even though Jesus disciples tried to chase her away, even though Jesus seems to give her some harsh words, and even make it sound like she might even be a dog. She will not even let Jesus the Son of God Himself dissuade her from believing in Him.
And like a hawk that dives down to try to grab its prey, that’s how her faith is. She is seeking after the morsels of God’s grace and compassion to her. And she finds them in Jesus words. She says “yes Lord, but even the dogs longed to eat from the master’s table.” She’s willing to let herself be considered a dog if she can just have the morsels of God’s grace from Christ.
The Holy Spirit has recorded this for us to learn from today and so even when your heart, or your mind, or the world, or the judgment of other people would tell you that God must not care for you, then remember this story. Never despair. God’s Word always remains the same. His promises are firm. And this same Jesus Christ he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Amen.