And the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people."
The bible tells us the story of a Syro-Phoenician woman who comes to Jesus for help on behalf of her daughter who is demon-possessed (Matthew 15:21-28). Unfortunately for her she has a few things against her. One she is a Gentile, two she is a Canaanite and three she is a woman. Jesus said it plainly: “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” So, right up front she didn’t even qualify for His help … or so it seemed.
We must understand something of the background of this story to understand Jesus’ rejection however. She wasn’t just a Gentile but a Canaanite. Canaan was the land God had promised Israel in ancient times. He had told them to wipe out the Canaanites and destroy all the forms of idolatry practiced by this people (Numbers 33:50-56). These people were known then for their child sacrifices, temple prostitution and their refusal to repent and turn to God. They were not a people God wanted or allowed His people Israel to mix with because He did not want His people corrupted by their evil practices. Yet, here was this Canaanite woman, hundreds of years later, coming to the same God she and her people had rejected for so long, for help. The thought that comes to my mind is that she was desperate. It is possible that she had tried her own gods, her own doctors, her own religion for help but did not receive the help she needed for her child. Maybe, like the woman with the issue of blood, she became desperate enough to try anything or in this case Jesus. It meant she had to leave her home and enter “enemy territory” just to get the help she needed - and then to face rejection from the one person she believed could help her. The odds were stacked against her, but she did not give up.
How desperate are we in our pursuit of God? There are so many other distractions in this life that many times I’m afraid God does take a backseat. We pursue material things, relationships anything that will give us hope and peace. And let’s be real, these things do offer a measure of satisfaction and happiness … but only for a time. When we face challenges and tragedy we may turn to these things and they may offer relief from the pain and stress … but only for a time. The reality is there is no one and nothing that offer the kind of peace and hope and joy that Jesus can give us. We pursue these things but in all the wrong places, and when people and things fail us we are disappointed, but God would never allow anyone or anything to be god in our life, to satisfy and fulfill us the way only HE can – in short, He would never give HIS job to anyone or anything else. His job, among other things, is to love, fulfil, satisfy and care for us like no one or nothing can. Everything we need for this life comes from Him, He will never allow it to come from someone or something else.
This Canaanite woman is an excellent example for all of us. Her country probably possessed everything needed to satisfy the flesh. But when tragedy came her way these were not what she needed, she needed something more, she needed someone who, although He rejected her, once she persistently cried out to Him, He couldn’t help but respond to her cry for help. He heard her faith in the midst of her cry. God always responds to anyone who cries out to Him, Jew or Gentile. That’s just who our God is. He will always rush to the aid of His people, but He will never ignore the cry of one who has rejected Him all along but finally turns to Him for help. The Bible says that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).
So, if you don’t have a relationship with God, my encouragement to you today is to give Him a chance. He is actually waiting for you to respond to Him because maybe He has been trying to get your attention all along. It’s not hard. Simply ask Him to come into your life, to forgive you of your sins and to help you to become someone that even you can be proud of. And for those of us who already belong to Him, yes, we have the answer but so many times we too pursue after material things and the kind of relationships that will never completely satisfy. Let’s pursue after our God as earnestly as this woman pursued after Him. We can certainly learn so much from her. She never gave up but was willing to take the “crumbs” if that was all He wanted to give her (v.26-27). Let’s set our affection, our mind, on things above not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2). God has given us so much more than mere crumbs. He has given us a “feast” of good things to be able to live an abundant life in Christ. Let’s not miss it!
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.