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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Syrophoenician woman

Asked to teach the adult class and this is what came out.

Turning Aside to See the Syro-Phonecian Woman

Mt 15:21-28; Mk. 7:25-30

The heart of God to be revealed, for hope to spring in hearts that are dry and barren.

I can not teach on this by myself, and that is God’s design.  Each person in this room is eligible to “complete" what God is wanting to teach all of us.  You are free to interrupt to add your “two cents" and when you do you will be answering the call of God, that we be a body, and that each one has input that can help the whole.

Exclusion, Exclusive, what comes to mind when you hear those words?...

No one said “Jesus”.  We need to turn aside to see this real event that is recorded for us and learn from it.

“Everything is fine, until someone gets a coat of many colors”  Reggie Kelly

 1) Why does Jesus refuse the Syrophoenician woman’s request for exorcism? 2) Why does Jesus indirectly refer to her as a dog? 3) Why does Jesus change his mind and grant her request?

If you find in your Bible Study, the need to apologize for God, or to “cover” for Him.  I can assure you, you are missing the meaning of the passage.  You need to dig deeper, as we will be doing tonight.

We need to face the reality that this event would have been a “suffering” in the life of this woman.  Ignored, rejected in a general way, rejected in a very specific, hurtful way.
What did she want?
Who did she want it from?
According to Matthews gospel Jesus had already healed the Centurion’s servant at this point and given high praise to the Centurion for his faith.  So this isn't a case of 'racism.'
Why is He treating her like this?
What does He know that we do not know?
Is it okay for God to use our lives as symbols for others to learn from?
Is a part of the answer to the question, “Why does suffering exist?” that the Redeemer is using/will use what is happening in your life for a good effect in the life of another?  Is that okay with you?  When you gave Him your life, did you really give Him your life?  Or do you have limits, lines that you don’t want Him to cross?

God is exclusive.  In His plan of salvation there is a step that must be included and that is the total death of, “I deserve...(good thing)”  The ground upon which we receive from God is marked by the words and the life that says, “I do not deserve any thing good, death and hell are my destination if not for the mercy of God.”
The important question is not what she wanted?  If she only wanted healing for her daughter, she had every opportunity to tell this pompous, arrogant, Jewish teacher where He could get off and continue her search for some one else to heal her daughter.  The important question is, who did she want?  She wanted HIM!

This quote from John Piper fits in here.
John Piper: “Ordinarily faith would mean trust or confidence you put in someone who has given good evidence of his reliability and willingness and ability to provide what you need. But when Jesus Christ is the object of faith there is a twist. He himself is what we need. If we only trust Christ to give us gifts and not himself as the all-satisfying gift, then we do not trust him in a way that honors him as our treasure. We simply honor the gifts. They are what we really want, not him. So biblical faith in Jesus must mean that we trust him to give us what we need most — namely, himself. That means that faith itself must include at its essence a treasuring of Christ above all things.”

Could it be that our inability to see what is being shown here is because, inwardly, we still hold to a belief that something in me was good, something in me was attractive, and God seeing that little “spark” in me, chose me for that reason.  This turns the fact that we are “chosen” upside down.  This leaves room for pride and ugliness in our dealings with others.
God makes it very clear that His choice of Israel was not based on ANYTHING in them,
Deut. 7:7 “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples,”  Ezekiel 16:1-6
“Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations 3 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem, “Your origin and your birth are from the land of the Canaanite, your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. 4 As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing; you were not rubbed with salt or even wrapped in cloths. 5 No eye looked with pity on you to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you. Rather you were thrown out into the open field, for you were abhorred on the day you were born.
6 “When I passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘Live!’”

Did you catch that?  This book is no ordinary book, these words are no ordinary words.  It applies to Israel, to each one of us individually and to the Church.
Ephesians 2:1
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;"
It is not what you are going through, but it is Who that is with you. 
We do not realize how precious and costly a thing faith is.
God does.
We perceive what Jesus did as cruel, because we do not see the ultimate value in where this “dark night of the soul”  with no answer, even with rejection, even with a time of feeling totally forsaken and alone was leading.  For this woman, for Israel, for the gentiles, for you and me, for the Church these times of suffering, are leading somewhere.

This definition of the fear of the Lord, fits in here.
The Fear of the Lord, is the "willingness to justify God in all that He allows into your life."
Roy Hession
Trials, temptations, tribulations, suffering... ALL that He allows into your life!

We are not promised explanations, we are not promised easy answers, we are promised something of far greater value.  HIM.

Our cries of “Where are You?”   Our very real times of feeling forsaken and alone are revealing true faith, strengthening true faith.  That is one side of the coin, the other side is they are putting the knife in “performance faith.”
Performance faith is “watch me do.... and then God will move.”

Let’s look closely at this verse in Revelation and then bring it back around to the woman from Syria.
Rev. 6:6 “And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”
Oil?  Symbolic of the anointing of God on our lives.
Wine?  Symbolic of the Joy of the Lord, that transcends circumstances.

Yes she wanted healing for her daughter, but she had no “right” to it.  When she acknowledged that she had no right to it, but pleaded for it, crying out for mercy, she was then standing on the ultimate RIGHT ground with God, the only ground from which we can truly approach Him, and from that place her answer came.  No matter what the cost was to get to that place, it is worth it.

We get God when we bring nothing.  Deut. 32:36, Psalm 102, Daniel 12:7, Leviticus 26:40-42, Zechariah 4:6

In our individual lives, and in the Church as a whole, this is the truth that needs to be revealed.

In the same way that this woman had to come to a place of desperation, where she would submit to God’s sovereign choice of Israel, that put her on the outside, we must come to a place of admitting our natural and moral disqualification from receiving grace before we can receive grace.  A true and deep conversion, like with Bobbie on Sunday, will result in an acknowledgment that everything that God had done up to that point, was worth it, to get to that point.
   “Jesus must take before he can give, that is to say he must remove natural hope in order that she might receive God’s gift on the basis of grace that is only accessible to faith.” Reggie Kelly

“God has not changed tactics. He still uses silences and Bible difficulties and offensive situations as challenges for us to rise to the occasion and prove that we believe that no matter what, the answer is found in Jesus and in him alone, and that if we cling to him for long enough, all that we need will be revealed.

We again see this in Jesus’ interaction with the Canaanite (Syrophenician) woman. She needed him. He gave her the silent treatment. Instead of giving up, she hounded him all the more. When she finally wrung a response from him it was worse than nothing. He insulted her and said he wouldn’t give her a thing. Still she hounded him and ended up receiving not only her request but Jesus’ high praise (Matthew 15:21-28). It turned out that despite not revealing a hint of it until it was all over, her persistence thrilled him. And when you receive the silent treatment, your determination to keep badgering him because you believe he cares and will not remain silent forever, will likewise thrill him, gain you high praise and you’ll hear from him as well.”

Grantley Morris

This is the pattern of God, The law is given.   The acknowledgment is given “We can not do this."   The sacrificial death of Jesus for us.   Grace is given, but grace is only grace when you see the rightness of God in excluding us.    Death before resurrection.       (prayer)

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