Matthew 15:21-28: Bread to Dogs
Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 10, 2012
Matthew 15:21-28 MKJV And going out from there, Jesus withdrew to the parts of Tyre and Sidon. (22) And behold, a woman of Canaan coming out of these borders cried to Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is grievously vexed with a demon. (23) But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and begged Him, saying, Send her away, for she cries after us. (24) But He answered and said, I am not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (25) Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, Lord, help me! (26) But He answered and said, It is not good to take the children’s bread and to throw it to dogs. (27) And she said, True, O Lord; but even the little dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ tables. (28) Then Jesus answered and said to her, O woman, great is your faith! So be it to you even as you wish. And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Miriam watched her baby brother drifting down the river. The tiny boat drifted along, bumping reed after reed as she silently prayed to God to protect her little brother. As the words went through her mind, she received assurance her prayers would be answered. She could see how her parents loved God so much, they would not even consider offending Him by disobeying Pharaoh. He commanded every male child born must be thrown into the river, and so they put him in the water, and God’s loving hands.
It was not long before she saw the answer to her prayer. The small boat drifted into a quite pool, a depression in the river where Pharaoh’s daughter and her servants were bathing. A servant waded out to retrieve the strange craft. To their surprise they found a baby inside. Pharaoh’s daughter considered this a blessing. Miriam listened to their conversation. It seemed they didn’t have a clue of what to do with the small child. Recognizing an opening, Miriam stepped in and suggested, “I could have one of the Hebrew maidens nurse the baby for you.” Knowing there were a number of Hebrew mothers missing their sons, it seemed like a very logical suggestion. Marian offered to quickly return with a Hebrew mother who had lost her son.
When Miriam returned with a nursing Hebrew, Pharaoh’s daughter had no idea she was the child’s real mother. God had worked out a plan no one would have considered. After discussing the arrangements Pharaoh’s daughter said her to, “Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages.” And the woman took the child, and nursed it.
The mother had only a few years with her son, so she made the most of every moment. From that day she taught the child everything she knew about God. She told him about creation, the flood, how Abraham was called by God, and much more. She had no idea if the child understood, or how much he would remember. In faith she taught her child everything she knew about their family history. The child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water. (Exodus 2:10)
Moses grew up in the Pharaoh’s royal courts. He was accepted as the son of his daughter, but in many ways felt like a son to Pharaoh. Moses was instructed in all the religious, political, social, and military skills required by a member of the royal family. Despite all the rigorous training, the stories his mother told him as a tiny child still flourished in his heart.
And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. (Exodus 2:11-12)
This was the end of his relationship and position in the royal family. Pharaoh could not tolerate a family member breaking such an important law. Moses had no choice but to give up his life of luxury in the royal palace, and flee for his life.
As Moses traveled through the wilderness he contemplated his decision. He wondered why one race felt justified to enslave another. Time alone brought more memories to the surface. He had always felt a strong pull to his Hebrews brothers, but it took the solitude of the wilderness for Moses to finally realize, he was really one of them. Not only in heart, but in blood.
It did not take long for Moses to recognizee God was leading him. Not only on the physical journey before him, but his journey through life since his birth. Meeting Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses knew He had been saved from the influences in Egypt. What seemed like a sacrifice and trail turned out to be a blessing. Not only did Moses find the answers to the faith he had in his heart since birth, he was also blessed with a loving, caring, and understanding wife. More than a man could hope for. Moses learned that finding God’s love and receiving His blessing was worth more than all the gold in Egypt’s courts and palaces.
Moses was blessed by a mentor in Jethro, but this was only the beginning. The little pieces of God’s words he received from his mother were enough for him to over come the temptations of the Egyptian courts. Jethro the priest of Midian could only take him so far. There comes a time in everyone’s life when a personal relationship with God is essential. The life of Moses illustrated the relationship required to make it from the slavery of Egypt, both physical and spiritual, to the promised land. God personally met Moses at the burning bush, provided him with the spiritual gifts he needed, exactly when he needed them, and guided him along every step of his journey. It was not by mistake, Moses finally set foot in the promised land in the presence of Jesus.
Hiram king of Tyre dealt with an enormous amount of responsibility everyday. Tyre had become the gateway between the sea and land. Ships daily arrived to unload and load merchandise. Hiram recognized the benefits of becoming the world center of trade. He invested large amounts of money to build the most efficient harbor in the world. Obstacles were cleared, docks constructed and improved, and a navy assembled and trained to protect the waters from all possible threats.
People came to Hiram from all over the world. This fascinated Hiram, who welcomed every opportunity to learn. Many people came to him with ideas how to improve the efficiency. He took the time to listen to every suggestion. Wisely he experimented with many of the inventions, proving them, and making adjustments before initiating them on an expanded level. This method helped to contain costs with minimal interruption to the flow of merchandise. Hiram gained the respect of people from many regions and nations.
He also paid close attention to the conflicts in Palestine. When news of a new king in Judah reached his ears, he saw it as a new opportunity to gain an important ally. Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons to David. And they built David a house. (2 Samuel 5:11)
There were many things he admired about king David, who shared many stories about his flight from king Saul, and how God had guided every step. King Hiram was more than impressed with David’s dedication to his God. Hiram wanted to learn more about how David communicated directly with God.
Years passed without receiving an official invitation for an audience with king David. Without notice king Hiram heard of king David’s death. Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon, for he had heard that they had anointed him king instead of his father. For Hiram was always a lover of David. (1 Kings 5:1)
It did not take long to receive a response. Solomon sent back this message to Hiram: “You know that because of the constant wars my father David had to fight against the enemy countries all around him, he could not build a temple for the worship of the LORD his God until the LORD had given him victory over all his enemies. But now the LORD my God has given me peace on all my borders. I have no enemies, and there is no danger of attack. The LORD promised my father David, ‘Your son, whom I will make king after you, will build a temple for me.’ And I have now decided to build that temple for the worship of the LORD my God. So send your men to Lebanon to cut down cedars for me. My men will work with them, and I will pay your men whatever you decide. As you well know, my men don’t know how to cut down trees as well as yours do.” Hiram was extremely pleased when he received Solomon’s message, and he said, “Praise the LORD today for giving David such a wise son to succeed him as king of that great nation!” (1 Kings 5:2-7 GNB)
Was this the opportunity Hiram was waiting for? Was Hiram finally getting the chance to learn first hand about the God who delivered Israel from Egypt, Goliath into David’s hand, and kept him safe from Saul? Surely David’s son, the new king of Israel talked with their God.
Hiram kept his word and supplied Solomon with all the cedar and pine logs he needed. He did not expect any payment in return, but Solomon provided Hiram with 100,000 bushels of wheat and 110,000 gallons of pure olive oil every year to feed his men. (1 Kings 5:10-11) This surprised Hiram. He also heard news of how the LORD kept his promise and gave Solomon wisdom. Eventually the invitation arrived. Hiram personally met with Solomon, and they made a treaty with each other. (1 Kings 5:12)
For years Hiram had heard King Solomon was richer and wiser than any other king, and the whole world wanted to come and listen to the wisdom God had given him. Everyone who came brought him a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons, spices, horses, and mules. This continued year after year. (1 Kings 10:23-25 GNB) Hiram was not disappoint at the things he learned from Solomon.
King Hiram of Tyre had provided him with all the cedar and pine and with all the gold he wanted for this work. After it was finished, King Solomon gave Hiram twenty towns in the region of Galilee. Hiram went to see them, and he did not like them. So he said to Solomon, “So these, my brother, are the towns you have given me!” For this reason the area is still called Cabul. (1 Kings 9:11-13 GNB)
With most kings such an insult may have resulted in war. But this was not Hiram’s way. This was not how he treated other people, or nations, and it was not what he had learned from David and Solomon. Hiram waited a while to see what Solomon’s response would be. When he did not receive one, he decided to take the next step in the relationship. Hiram sent Solomon almost five tons of gold. (1 Kings 9:14 GNB)
Hiram once again waited for an official response from Solomon. Time passed and none came. Soon Hiram began to hear unusual stories coming out of Israel. He heard how King Solomon used forced labor to build the Temple and the palace, to fill in land on the east side of the city, and to build the city wall. He also used it to rebuild the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. (1 Kings 9:15 GNB)
This did not sound right to king Hiram. Instead of accepting the reports, he rejected them. He suspected they may have been spread through jealousy. This did not sound like the king Solomon he had come to respect. This did not dampen Hiram’s desire to continue a friendship with Solomon. Hiram ordered his navy to deliver gold from Ophir, and a great abundance of almug trees and precious stones. (1 Kings 10:11)
King Hiram learned only a small portion about God from king David, and only a sample of king Solomon’s wisdom. What he heard he took to heart. Both David and Solomon had opportunities to share with Hiram. What may have been accomplished if their actions matched their words?
Jesus’ disciples wondered why Jesus was traveling to Tyre. Thomas asked Philip, “do you remember what the prophet Ezekiel wrote about Tyre?” Philip responded, “are you referring to the king of Tyre who lifted his heart up, thinking he was god?” “Yes that is the one,” Thomas answered as they walked through the large gate. The tall walls and bulwarks were impressive enough, but the inside of the city was much more than they had imagined. Next to the gate were tall stately homes made of expensive stones of every imaginable type. Many of them boasted pillars of grand size, with ornate detailing. Windows framed with decorative carvings added a flair of elegance. Doors were designed as main focal points, each competing with the others in detail and extravagance.
Thomas commented, “can you imagine the money it took to build such homes? These must of cost a fortune. I can see why Ezekiel wrote in his vision, “By your great wisdom and by your trade you have multiplied your riches, and your heart is lifted up because of your riches.” (Ezekiel 28:5). Philip reminded him, “how many times has Tyre fallen because of her riches? It seems riches and glory attract their share of burdens and trials. Wars have been fought, people slain and enslaved, families separated. Riches may be grand, but they are always temporary.”
Philip agreed and added, “that must have been why God spoke to Ezekiel and compared the king of Tyre to Satan. “Son of man, lift up a lament over the king of Tyre, and say to him, So says the Lord Jehovah: You seal the measure, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were the anointed cherub that covers, and I had put you in the holy height of God where you were; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you.” (Ezekiel 28:12, 14, 15). He added, “this shows how riches can change a heart, to bring out the worst in men.”
As they were passing through the residential quarter they could hear the familiar sounds of a market. The scene changed as they passed under a large victory arch erected by the Romans in commemoration of their defeat of Tyre, and entered a large open square where dozens of vendors displayed merchandise from all corners of the world. Their minds were so fixed on the spectacle before them, they had not noticed, no one there recognized Jesus, except for one Canaanite woman. Suddenly their attention shifted to a single woman crying after Jesus. “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is grievously vexed with a demon.”
Jesus did not immediately acknowledge her, so she went from disciple to disciple, showing she was not certain which one was Jesus. It was evident she was attracting attention, based on the hushed tone of the market. Everyone was watching them, so the disciples asked Jesus to send her away. This disclosed Jesus’ identity to her. As she rushed over to fall at His feet, He answered His disciples, “I am not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Ignoring the women Jesus looked at the faces of His disciple to discern their reaction to the His comment. He wanted them to see how the truth can be distorted when blurred by riches. The disciples had not yet learned, spiritual Israel included all those who believed in Him. A sense of sadness filled His heart as He gazed upon the expressions on the faces of His disciples. Not one of them showed any concern, or questioned Him on the subject.
Jesus turned His attention to the woman clinging to His legs crying out, “Lord, help me!” He knew what she wanted, and took a moment to pray his disciples would not miss the lesson He was about to teach. Looking over at the villa attached to the market, He saw a group of children seated at a table about to eat lunch. A pair of faithful dogs trained to protect the household lay nearby. He said to her, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and to throw it to dogs.” Jesus insulted the woman to test His disciples. He wanted to see how much the vision of riches distracted them. Also to test their prejusdice. Eventually they had to understand the woman represented the people they were being sent to save.
When Jesus spoke, she looked up at His eyes, her own still filed with tears. She wiped them away with her hand, noticing Jesus was gazing at something. She turned to look at what may be drawing His attention. Taking in the scene, she turned back to Jesus and answered, “True, O Lord; but even the little dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ tables.”
Surely this woman understood Jesus was referring to her faith. Jesus prayed the disciples remembered the spiritual connection He had taught them between bread, and God’s Word. Jesus knew, even though the woman had heard little about Him, and was not taught about God like the Jews, her faith was strong, and her heart willing to learn. He said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! So be it to you even as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
This entry was posted on March 10, 2012 at 11:45 am and is filed under Gospel Messages Matthew. Tagged: 1 Kings 10, 1 Kings 5, children's bread and to throw it to dogs, dogs eat of the crumbs, Exodus 2, great is your faith, Hiram king of Tyre, lost sheep of the house of Israel, lover of David, Matthew 15:21-28: Bread to Dogs, Megiddo, Moses, slew the Egyptian, Son of David, woman of Canaan. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.