Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Children's Portion. ~ Ganeida

21 Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre
and Sidon.22 A Gentile[a] woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.”
23 But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”
24 Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”
25 But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”
26 Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”
28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.

Tyre & Sidon were Gentile towns given to the worship of Isis under one of her many names. Put most bluntly they were towns where *worship* took the form of sexual immorality, so it is not surprising that this Gentile Woman's daughter was possessed by an evil spirit.  She had been trained from childhood to partake in immorality.

Our choices are not without consequences.  We have spoken before of how, when the Glory of God is a very real presence in an individual's or a congregation's life, judgement, correction, punishment is immediate & swift but when the Glory departs judgement may be so delayed people are deceived into believing that they have escaped judgement, or even believe that God approves of their sin.  Do not be deceived. God is not mocked but in His grace & mercy delays in the hope people will come to true repentance & be saved.

What is surprising is what this woman says.
"Oh, Lord; Son of David...

In the ancient world Lord was not an honoury title.  It meant master ~ someone to whom you gave complete allegiance & who could command every aspect of your life.  In effect this Gentile Woman was submitting herself completely to the Lordship of Jesus ~ something His own people consistently failed to do.  She then does something that astonishes me.  She calls Jesus *Son of David*.  This is a Messianic title.  How did this Gentile woman, this idolater, come by this knowledge?  What's more, she had an understanding of what this meant for she begged for mercy for her daughter.

This is one of my favourite N.T stories.  Here we see the Jesus seldom seen elsewhere i scripture.  When Jesus finally responds He gives her the straight facts of the matter:"I was sent only to help God's lost sheep~ the people of Israel." 

We are so used to thinking of Christianity as a Western religion we forget its roots are in the Middle East.  Jesus came to fulfill the Hebrew prophets' testimony of a Messiah from the tribe of Judah & the royal line of David.  Throughout His ministry Jesus is very, very clear about this.  Things would be very different now if the Jews had believed the Truth about what the Word of God revealed.

However this woman wasn't taking *no* for an answer. Somehow she had got hold of the Truth about who Jesus was.  She believed it completely & held fast to the Truth despite her circumstances.

Everything was against her.  She was gentile.  She was Pagan.  She was outside of Jesus' declared ministry.  Jesus tells her so.  "It isn't right to take food from the children & throw it to the dogs."

That sounds very harsh in our English but the Greek, kynarion, refers to a little dog, a lap dog, the family pet & the Gentile Woman understood it thus for she responds: "Even pets are allowed to eat the scraps that fall from the table."

It is a little play on words, a gentle teasing on Jesus part but it brings forth something we know God values: FAITH!  Without faith it is impossible to please God [Hebrews 11:6] & *Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen.  It gives us assurance about things we cannot see." [Hebrews 11:1] ~ And Jesus commends her for it.

Here is the thing, & I see it over & over amongst Christians: none of the promises belonged to this Gentile Woman.  She did not know the promises pertaining to Israel.  She was outside the covenant ~ but she heard & she believed.

For centuries the church has fallen prey to to satan's lies.  We have been taught the traditions of men above the Word of God.  We have forgotten, if we ever knew it, that God & His word are one. Jesus is God ~ & His Word is God. Through the word everything that is came into existence.  Everything in existence is subject to the Word of God.

We look @ things the wrong way up.  We see Jesus calm the wind & the waves & are amazed with the disciples that even the wind & the waves obey Him.  God is not amazed.  Through Jesus everything that is was spoken into being [Psalm 33:9; Hebrews 11:3] & is subject to Jesus' authority.

It is imperative that we renew our minds~ completely, absolutely, so that we understand nothing is greater than the Word of God.  Nothing supersedes the authority of Jesus: not sickness; not disease; not death; not demons.  We need a revelation deep in our spirits of the power & authority exercised by Jesus through His Word.

We have been trained by satan to believe pretty much anything except what the Word of God says.  If a doctor diagnoses us with cancer we believe Him.  Why? Did the doctor speak all of creation into existence? Has the doctor the authority to heal you? Is the doctor able to do more for you than Jesus can?  We may give all the right answers to these questions but the results betray the true state of our hearts.

Healing is *the children's portion*, & we, who have been grafted into the root of Jess also inherit the promises given to the descendants of Abraham.  Romans 12:2 says: Don't copy the behaviour & customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good, & pleasing & perfect

We don't have to wonder whether or not it is God's will for us to be healed.  We only have to believe & receive.  Scripture tells us God is a healing God. Scripture tells us He desires to give good things to His children.  Scripture says Jesus came to bring us abundant life. Sickness, death, disease all belong to satan. 

So how can we go about renewing our minds?  The first thing we need to understand is satan's great desire to separate us from the Word of God.  He understands far better than we do its power & authority & how it is to be wielded as a sword to bring down his strongholds.

When satan entered the Garden the very first thing he did was to plant doubt about God's word.  Was it true?  Could it be trusted?

Gen.3:1 records that satan was crafty ~ more subtle than any living creature of the field... & this is how he framed his deception: "Can it really be that God has said...?"  He didn't outright call God a liar.  He didn't say Eve was wrong.  Rather he got Eve to question herself.  He sowed doubt in her mind.  Had she heard correctly? Had she understood properly?

The end result wasn't pretty.  It is no prettier today.

The 2nd thing we need to do is examine our own hearts.  In the parable of the sower Jesus describes 4 sorts of hearts.  Each heart is sown with the Word of God but only one bears fruit.

Now I was taught as a child that this sowing was unto salvation but that cannot be all or there would be no need to refer to the bearing of fruit.  Rather it refers to what happens when we receive the Word & what we do with it.

The first heart has the Word snatched away. [Matt 13:19]

The Word is heard without understanding.  It never takes root in the Spirit.It gets snatched away quickly ~ so quickly the person never even gets saved. [Luke 8:12]

As you read through the O.T again & again you find those of the greatest faith, those most keenly attuned to God, are those who meditate on God's Word.  They think about it.  They ponder its meaning.  They act upon it.

The 2nd sort of heart is stony.  The stony heart allows for only a shallow planting of the Word of God but there is no deep transformation because there is not complete submission; no death to self & the self's desires. People like this are unable to stand in time of trial & adversity because they are no fully submitted to the Word of God.  There is no power in such a life because the Word has not been allowed to transform them.

The 3rd heart is thorny.  In such a heart the cares of this world & the deceitfulness of riches choke out the Word.  We are told not to worry.  God knows what we need & He provides for us but if we focus on these things we will bear no fruit.  The command is to seek first the kingdom of God & His righteousness & all these other things will be added. [Matt. 6:33]

A thorny heart is a divided heart.  It is a heart not wholly committed to God.  We know we are to fully meet God's requirements.  They include holiness, righteousness, commitment to God & His ways before all else.  We were created to live for God & enjoy Him forever but too often we allow other things to come between us & God.  Thus we allow satan to steal our birthright & end up living half lives that produce little fruit.

The last heart is the one we should desire to have.  This is the single eyed heart, a heart fully devoted to God & committed to not only knowing His Word but understanding it & receiving revelation.  Such a heart can operate in the power of God because it not only knows God's Word but it has learnt to receive the revelation of God's Truth revealed in the Word, bringing revelation & maturity.  Such a person will not be swayed by the opinions of men, or the doctrine of churches, or the wisdom of this world.  It will allow the Word of God to produce its fruit in their lives.  

Those who allow this to happen receive a great reward.  They come to know Jesus.  They do not come to know Jesus as a great teacher or as a prophet, or as a miracle worker or as a healer. Rather they have the revelation of Jesus as the great I AM, who has chosen to reside in the tabernacle of those who have trusted in Him & whose power & authority is freely available to them through the Holy Spirit because of the shed blood & the righteousness they received through Christ.

According to 1 Cor.2:14 these things are spiritually discerned.  In Matt 13:15 Jesus warned  "For the hearts of the people have grown dull.  Their ears are hard of hearing & their eyes they have closed, lest they see with their eyes & hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts & turn, so that I should heal them.

James tells us that we have not because we do not ask.  Jesus tells us to ask & we shall receive.  Jesus has already taken on the work needed for all we need, including our healing. Our part is to believe the Word & receive  its Truth in our lives.

Now for most of us this is not going to happen in an instant.  However we can ask that as we commit to reading the scriptures the Holy Spirit will grant us greater & greater revelation & help us to grow our faith by meditating on God's Word & allowing it to transform our thinking.

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