Tags: commentary on Matthew, dogs in the Bible, faith, Gentiles, Matthew 15, prayer, Sunday School lessons on Matthew, women in the Bible
Was the Lord Jesus just being cruel or uncompassionate as he ignored the pleas of a Gentile woman on behalf of her daughter?
And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word…
The Lord’s silence seemed to disturb the disciples, rather than deter the damsel in distress.
… And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
To top it off, it looks, at first glance, as if Jesus called the woman a “dog,” which was a cruel name the Jewish leaders had for the Gentiles (whom they considered unclean). (Matthew 15:26)
However, Christ’s ways are always wiser than our ways, and closer inspection of the Scripture shows that Jesus was simply allowing the woman’s great faith to be revealed.
And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
When your earnest desire is to see Christ’s will done – even in your most desperate prayer requests – you will not be deterred by social status, ethnicity, gender, timing, the scorn of fellow believers, or anything else, in bringing your sincere petitions before the throne of glory, where the Savior sits at the right hand of the Father, ever making intercession for His followers (Romans 8:34).
Tags: answered prayers, commentary on Matthew, divine healing, faith, Jairus, Matthew 9, prayer, Sunday School lessons on Matthew, superstition, woman with the issue of blood
In Matthew Chapter 9 Jesus heals Jairus’s daughter and the woman with the issue of blood.
While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.
Jairus was a leader among the Jews and a man; this will sound mean, but, to society’s way of thinking at that time, the woman was a “broke nobody.” Jairus worshipped at the synagogue; the woman was considered unclean. Jairus was pleading for his daughter; the woman needed healing for herself. Jairus’s daughter had been healthy for 12 years; the woman had been sick for 12 years. Everybody knew about Jairus’s problem; no one knew about the woman’s problem. Jairus needed God to increase his faith; the woman’s faith was very simplistic, childlike, and almost superstitious. Jesus ultimately healed both the woman and Jairus’s daughter. As fallen human beings, our faith, just like everything else about us, is far from perfect.
When my second daughter was born, the doctor and the nurse who were in the delivery room with my wife and I remained calm and acted very similar to the way the doctor and nurse had acted when our first daughter was born. They were calm, and seemed occupied in cleaning her off, checking all her body parts, getting her onto the scale, etc. But we could sense something was wrong. She wasn’t crying nearly as loudly as our first daughter had, and she seemed to be wheezing and having trouble breathing. After a few moments, the nurse decided that she needed to be taken out. It was frightening – terrifying actually – and for the next few days our daughter was in the newborn intensive care section of the hospital on a breathing tube. We were only allowed to hold her very briefly a couple of times a day. Despite the fact that the breathing tube bypassed her vocal cords, making her crying soundless, it was obvious that she was in distress and wailing with body-wracking sobs almost constantly. One of the most frustrating things about the whole situation was that the doctors and hospital staff couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me what was wrong. They said it was too soon to tell, revealing only that it may be something as routine as the need to drain fluid from her lungs or something as serious as a heart valve problem. I pled for percentages, possible diagnoses, treatment options, contingency plans, you name it, but the doctor in charge of her case would only shake her head somberly and say that she could give me no assurance at all. I tried my best to stay with my wife, who needed comfort in her hospital room, but it was hard to stay away from the intensive care unit. They had a special waiting area, and I would sit in there all alone, all night long, pleading with the Lord to heal my daughter. This might very well be one of the most sinful prayers you can pray, but many, many times during those three days, I asked God to take my life in exchange for my daughter’s. This was one of the most miserable periods of my entire life, but I can honestly say that I probably drew closer to God in that ICU waiting room than I ever had before. I give Him glory and praise today, almost 17 years later, that He did completely heal my daughter, despite the superstitious nature of my faith.
I don’t know exactly what was going through the mind of Jairus or the woman with the issue of blood before Jesus answered their prayers, but I am eternally thankful that He does answer imperfect prayers prayed with imperfect faith.
Tags: 1 John 5, Bible catechism, children's catechism, faith, Gospel of Jesus Christ, grace, John 20, personal salvation, Romans 10, Salvation
Question 21: When did God forgive you for your sins and give you eternal life?
Answer: When I believed on Jesus and called on Him to save me.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Eternal salvation is completely, fully, and totally the work of the Lord. Even our decision to trust Christ and receive Him as Savior does not add any merit to the finished work of Jesus. However, since this salvation is by grace through faith, God graciously allows the application of this miraculous gift to occur when a person, having recognized his or her sinful condition and believed the Gospel, personally calls upon the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, in repentance and faith.
Other verses to consider:
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
I John 5:13
Tags: Biblical explanations, commentary on Habakkuk, compartmentalization, faith, faith in God, Habakkuk 2, promises of God, sovereignty of God, Sunday School lessons on Habakkuk, will of God
But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.
He is on the throne and in complete control of all events and people in the world. Once we realize this, we can stop fearing the future – the fear of the unknown.
Many Christians are plagued by fear. “What if I get sick? What if people are talking negatively about me? What if I lose all my material possessions?” If we don’t really believe that God is in control – that He’s sovereign – then our anxiety has a rational basis. Or if we imagine that He needs our help – that there are some situations we’ve gotten ourselves into that He couldn’t have forseen, and therefore might not be able to rescue us. But if we act that way in a crisis – if we fall to pieces every time the car breaks down, every time the weather says a storm is showing up on the radar – then let’s at least be honest. Let’s admit that we think it’s kind of cool to be church-going people, but we only have faith in God when He’s explaining everything to us ahead of time.
God told Habakkuk, “I’m in control. I’m on the throne. I don’t owe you an explanation – and you couldn’t handle it if I gave you one.” When we grasp that – really grasp it and internalize it and not just not recognize it as a thought in our heads, but rather incorporate it into our hearts – then we will step out in true faith – a faith that goes beyond Christian CDs, Christian DVDs, key chains, bumper stickers, t-shirts, compartmentalized living. We will move from from saying, “What can Jesus do for me?” into saying, “Jesus, what would You have me to do?”
Tags: commentary on Exodus, complaining, Exodus 15, Exodus 16, faith, God's goodness, Jesus Christ, murmuring, obstacles, Sunday School lessons on Exodus
So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.
Three days is a long time to go without water for a large group of families and their herds of animals. It is possible that they had gulped down the last of their supply, thinking for sure there would be water at the place up ahead which would come to be known as Marah.
And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.
That’s what Marah means – bitter.
And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
The word “murmur” sounds like two repetitious baby sounds put together, and in Scripture it indicates childish or immature complaining, whining, and grumbling. Why did the omniscient God lead them to a place where He obviously knew the water would be undrinkable? Moses did what everyone else should have been doing instead of complaining. He prayed and he believed – logically and faithfully – that the God Who had delivered them out of Egypt would provide water for them.
And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,
The tree may or may not be a picture of the Cross, but I do believe it points to Christ. Just as Adam and Eve brought bitterness into the world by eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, so too is there a Tree of Life. This tree was glorious (like Christ), and it was cut down (also like Christ.) It was lowered into the bitter water (just as Christ condescended into the middle of our bitterly fallen and sinful world). The tree took the bitterness away and provided life-giving water. Most Bible scholars are reluctant to read this into it, because there are no specific references to it in the New Testament, but I think it’s appropriate.
Verse 25 says that “there He proved them.” They failed the test, but Moses didn’t. They would fail this test again and again. Despite the assurance that their God (unlike the false Egyptian gods) was Jehovah Rophi – the God that Heals.
They now had plenty of sweet water, but they would be tested again concerning food, and this time there is a clear New Testament revelation concerning the incident.
And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.
Elim was a place with plenty of water and 70 palm trees. It is tempting to read the coincidental name of the wilderness of “Sin” as an allusion our English word “sin,” and to build a lesson around the idea that they were wandering into “sin against God,” but the context does not seem to support a strained connection.
And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:
The murmuring was against God, as well as His spokesman, Moses.
And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
The people looked back to bondage, slavery, abuse, and the murder of their children as the “good old days” simply because they were faced with an obstacle. They should have looked at this obstacle as an opportunity to demonstrate faith in the God Who had rescued them.
Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.
Despite their grumbling, cowardice, and lack of faith, God’s goodness and kindness and faithfulness were not thwarted by their sin.
Tags: Acts 17, communicating with God, faith, Hebrews 11, James 1, pleasing God, reaction, realism, Romans 10
Prepare to hear from God by pre-determining you are going to do what He says. Be responsive to God in two ways:
1. Be reactive.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
A response is a reaction. It’s changing your behavior to line up with what God says, or taking some new action – even if you don’t feel like you want to do it – because God said to do it.
2. Be realistic.
You can hear from God and not understand it completely the first time. What do you do when you honestly wanted to hear from God and you think He was speaking to you, but you are confused? You keep asking and listening.
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Be realistic. Don’t pretend that you have understood God when you haven’t, and don’t let somebody tell you that this is what God told me to tell you without checking it out for yourself.
This is how important hearing from God is:
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Tags: commentary on Exodus, Exodus 2, Exodus 3, faith, Hebrews 11, Moses, soul-searching, Sunday School lessons on Exodus, unforsaken
The Old Testament of the Bible contains true historical accounts, and it is accurate, but it also contains numerous types and shadows of what God would do in Christ to save His people. Joseph is one example. He was used to rescue God’s people from famine, and they wound up in Egypt in the Land of Goshen. Joseph became second in command in Egypt, answering only to Pharaoh. But eventually Joseph died, and that particular pharaoh died. Other pharaohs came along that didn’t remember Joseph, and God’s people wound up as slaves. God, through Moses, subsequently delivered them out of bondage, parting the Red Sea and giving them His law. We may discern from this true historical account the following types and foreshadowing:
And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.
Exodus 2:23-25 (emphasis added)
They were sighing, crying, and groaning – maybe in their prayers to God – maybe just because of the oppression they were experiencing.
And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.
God hears the cries of the oppressed. He delivers the oppressed and He deals with the oppressors. When we feel oppressed we have a tendency to think of ourselves, but we need to remember that God is orchestrating circumstances. He has not left us nor forsaken us.
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
Moses chose to side with the slaves rather than the oppressors.
Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
Moses did not have all the information about Christ that New Testament Christians have had since the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus, but he did look forward by faith to the promise of a coming Redeemer, and he had a much different value system than the Egyptians among whom he lived.
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
He feared Pharaoh, but he feared God more, and he endured in the desert by faith. Real faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible, and does the impossible.
Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
God uses times of separation – times of loneliness and soul-searching – to prepare leaders. He is not looking for the mightiest of the worldly. He is looking for outcasts who have gotten to know God. We can be thankful that God does not require us to be strong first before He uses us. He prepares us for victory in times of distress.
Tags: Deuteronomy 6, faith, faith and reason, Galatians 4, Hebrews 11, Puritan quotes, swim quotes, the Trinity, Thomas Watson, Thomas Watson quotes
Where reason cannot wade there faith may swim.
Thomas Watson, concerning the doctrine of the Trinity
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Tags: clinging faith, D.L. Moody, D.L. Moody quotes, desperate faith, faith, lifeboats, quotes about swimming, resting faith, swimming quotes
There are three kinds of faith in Christ: 1. Struggling faith, like a man in
deep water desperately swimming. 2. Clinging faith, like a man hanging to the
side of a boat. 3. Resting faith, like a man safely within the boat (and able
to reach out with a hand to help someone else get in).
Tags: 1 Timothy 2, Biblical repentance, faith, Jesus the Mediator, John 14, Mark 1, order of salvation, ordo salutis, repent and believe, repentance and faith
There was a period of time, between the imprisonment of John the Baptist, and the calling of the disciples, that Jesus preached by Himself in Galilee. Mark 1:15 tells us the thrust of His message: “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
There are some Bible teachers who see significance in the order of Christ’s command. Repentance from sin must come first, they say, and then the belief in the Gospel. But this is difficult to sustain. If we take the word “repent” to mean “a turning away from sin,” we meet an impasse, for we know that sinful men – and all men are sinful in their nature, and sinful to the core – are incapable of turning away from sin.
Furthermore, a call to “repent” necessarily involves a “belief,” for toward Whom could a turning away from sin be, except toward a higher Being? Thus, we see that Jesus is calling men to turn away from their unbelief, and toward belief in Him, as the Son of God, and as the one true Mediator between God and man. (I Timothy 2:5)
A well-known preacher relates the story of attending a prayer meeting. A man was called upon to pray, and, in a case of the unusual, this man did not close his prayer by asking the Lord to cause men to place their faith in Jesus. Rather, he prayed that men would transfer their faith from whatever it was currently in, to the Person of Christ Jesus. Everyone has faith in something. The transference of that faith into Him Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6), is the greatest need of every person.