Lord, Help Me!
Today is Mother’s Day and I couldn’t resist looking into the Scriptures and finding the atypical Mother’s Day message. I think that you’ll be pleasantly surprised. We’ll look at two women in the Bible, one with children and one without, at least one which we don’t really know whether she had children or not.
Both women do not have names. Both women went through the most incredible testing by the Lord. In fact, Jesus called one of the women a dog. We’re going to look at some unique things this morning.
When you came in here this morning and someone greeted you and said, “Dog, sit in the back,” you probably wouldn’t have stayed, but Jesus actually did that and we’re going to find out why.
Before we start let me tell you about our ministry and who I am and what I do. I’m a sinner saved by grace 25 years ago. If God can save me he can save anybody. If He can put me together and allow me to be speaking on his behalf, He can do that for anybody.
I never read a book until I was 22 years old, and the first book I read was the Bible. I read it from Revelation to Genesis. [Laughter] I became enamored with God’s Word. I was reading Truth for the very first time in my life and I could not put the book down. For two solid years I read God’s Word every night until probably two, three, or four in the morning. I could not put it down.
As a result, God’s Word has done a tremendous work in my life, and continues to do so. That doesn’t mean I always have it together. That just means that when you’re confronted with the truth there is a constant battle going on inside of you.
He says, “If you are clean through the Word which I’ve spoken unto you…” We can’t really be clean unless His Word abides in us, so that is really the tension.
What I’ve found over the last 25 years as a Christian, is that God’s people are not really having His Word abiding in them. We’re not having devotions. We’re not really searchers or seekers of God’s Truth, searching for treasure.
Seven years ago God allowed me to come upon some unique literature in Europe, mainly Germany. As I read these books I was just floored. They were permeated with scripture and brought me to my knees.
What they did for me is they allowed me to learn from God’s Word through unique stories, very powerful stories, and then I realized that’s how Jesus taught. He taught through stories, and people rarely ever forgot what he spoke on.
Let me give you an example. 3:45–7:16
The next time I come here I’ll tell you the miracle story of how we’re still married. [Laughter] That is a miracle. She has put up with me for 23 years. Only by God’s…I don’t think grace could even have done this. It had to be something else besides grace. [Laughter]
We must be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our hearts will not change. I’m finding that what is happening throughout our Christian culture today is that we are buying the lie that you can watch what you want and it doesn’t harm you.
In Psalm 103, David says, “I will not place evil before mine eyes less it will stick to me.” Evil will stick to us. God’s name is being used in vain throughout the media and almost all the videos you watch right now.
I rented a ‘G’ movie about a month ago, and the very first phrase that came out was the Lord’s name in vain. I couldn’t believe it! We need to guard ourselves. We need to be warriors of the faith.
Let’s have a word of prayer. “Father, I come before you and I pray that I might partner with you, that I might be just an instrument this morning for you. God, may we sense your presence. May we enter your presence and may we be changed as a result of your presence. May we worship you in spirit and in truth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
I’m going to take you on a journey before we even start. I’m going to take you to the book of Ecclesiastes and show you some unique things. Most people think the book of Ecclesiastes is written about vanity and vexation of spirit and then you live your life and die and you leave it to somebody else. Why try? What is life all about if it’s not worth living?
There was a song written about this particular portion of scripture in the 60s and again in the 70s and it’s a very beautiful poem/song which we’re all familiar with. The very beginning of the song, that most people don’t realize, is that it says, “To everything there is a season, and a time and purpose for everything under heaven.” I want to highlight these words. There is a time and there is a purpose for everything.
After he makes that statement he says that there is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck that which is planted. A time to kill, a time to heal, a time to break, a time to build. What people don’t realize is that the word time is being used over and over and over and over again.
There is a time, there’s a time, there’s time, there’s a time for everything. What you must realize is that God is the one that is designing the time. “There is a time to break, and a time to build; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance; a time to cast, a time to gather; at time to embrace…refrain, gain, lose, keep, throw, tear, sow, silent, speak, love, hate, peace, war.” There is a time for everything. In fact, these 24 characteristics of life cover all of life. There is nothing else that happens in life that is not listed here. Isn’t that interesting?
Now, in Hebrew poetry one of the beautiful aspects is that there is beautiful symmetry, just the way that there should be in life. What you have here in the very beginning, you have these desirable and undesirable effects.
I want your help this morning. I want you to tell me what is desirable and what is undesirable. I’ll do the first one for you. To be born is desirable, and to die is undesirable. The next one, plant/pluck. Kill/heal. Break/build. Weep/laugh. Mourn/dance. Cast/gather. Embrace/refrain. Gain/lose. Keep/throw. Tear/sew. Silent/speak. Love/hate. Peace/war.
What I’m going to show you right now is the beautiful structure in which God reveals his truth to us. In this form that I’m about to show you, it permeates throughout the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation.
In fact, the entire books of Luke and Acts are an entire mirror image of each other. You can place the book of Acts on top of the book of Luke and they’re identical.
You have these first two stanzas, du/du, and you have the last two stanzas, du/du, and they have a beautiful symmetrical matching element.
In the next two stanzas, again, you have these beautiful symmetrical matching elements. What you have to understand about this technique, about this writing skill, is that they wrote from both ends to the center. That’s how they wrote. We write from left to right. Some eastern countries right from left, some from top to bottom, but in the scriptures, often they wrote from both ends to the center. It’s a very unique style of writing.
What you have here in the very center is you have these three, u/d, u/d, u/d, contrasting these three, d/u, d/u, d/u. What has happened here is that God is teaching us that in the center of life there is going to be a reversal of both desirable and undesirable events in life. It’s going to happen.
For each one of us there is going to be desirable and undesirable events that are going to occur. What you cannot forget is that there is a time and a purpose for every one of them, for every one of the desirable and undesirable events of life.
Now, there is a problem I want to interject though. The problem is, is that as Solomon wrote this he did something that is not very often found in scripture. As the Hebrew reader would have been hearing this, and the Hebrew reader would have been reading it, as he would have gotten down to the last one, he would have been expecting to see it in the form which we have just illustrated to you.
But Solomon did something very unusual in this poem. He actually wrote war and peace, which made this u/d and totally destroyed the entire poem. He did it purposefully because he was raising our expectations and showing us that you can’t expect anything. That nothing is certain in life. That when you expect it to happen a certain way, God says, “Don’t count on that because it could be the unexpected that is going to happen.”
God wants you to learn one thing from the unexpected, and it is this; He says, “What profit is there in all our labor?” If everything is unexpected, if there are desirable and undesirable events in life, and you cannot be certain of the outcome, then why bother?
Here is the reason to why bother. Because He said, “I will make everything beautiful in its time.” Both the desirable and undesirable events in life, there is only one thing in life that is certain; that God will make everything beautiful in its time.
The question is, will you trust Him for that in the midst of the undesirable events of life? Will you trust Him? Will you trust Him in your marriage? Folks, I have seen with my own eyes. I have heard with my own ears the testimony of couples who have lived for 30, 40 years in the most incredibly awful marriage, and in the end, where the husband has totally repented and realized what a jerk he was.
I just buried a woman a couple of months ago whose husband was a pastor, and this woman was an angel; that is the only way I can describe her. They had the most incredible marriage. I said, “Has your marriage always been like this?”
This very delicate angelic woman looked at me with this eternal smile and she said, “Oh, no. He was really such a jerk.” [Laughter]
He was a big, 6’4” giant of a man about 60 years old. He said, “Oh, I was the worst: jealous, controlling, dominating, manipulating. I was all of that and more. I wouldn’t let her wear makeup. She had to wear long dresses. I just controlled her life and I did that for years.”
I said, “What happened?”
“She’s been the greatest sermon. She has lived in, before me, through her meek and quiet spirit. She has won me over to the truth and we have the greatest marriage on earth.”
God will make everything beautiful in its time. Are you willing to hold on during the expected events of life? The time that it’s painful? The time that you would wish, “God, you have to do something!”
And God says, “I am. It’s just that you can’t see it right now. I am.”
Having said that, let’s open our Bibles to John 4 and look at two both desirable and undesirable events of life. In John 4 we have a woman without a name but we know her story very well. We call her The Woman at the Well.”
She comes to the center of the market for water mid-day; twelve o’clock noon. It is an unusual hour for women to be out because they needed to be there when there were other women there, but she was there by herself.
It says that Jesus was there and he was tired from his journey, and as he comes and sits next to her he looks at her, and in verse 7 he says, “Give me to drink.” That’s a very important opening statement for him to make.
He doesn’t say, “Hello, how are you?” or “What’s your name?” He doesn’t carry on a conversation. The very first thing that He says to her is, “Give me something to drink.” He doesn’t say, “Please.” Just “give me to drink.”
I believe that Jesus wants each one of us to give Him something from us; something to drink, something with which He can quench his thirst. I think that when we serve Him in truth His thirst is quenched.
His disciples were gone, and after He says, “Give me to drink,” the woman of Samaria, in verse 9, says, “How is it that you being a Jew asks drink of me who is a woman of Samaria, for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”
This woman just goes right to it. She kind of has a critical spirit and says, “We don’t have any dealings with each other.”
In verse 10 Jesus answers and says, “If you knew the gift of God and Who it was that says of you, ‘Give me to drink,’ you would have asked of Him and He would have given you Living Water.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir” – now she changes so notice what she says, “Sir.” She treats Him with a little bit more respect. “Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. How are you going to give me this water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, and fed his sons and his cattle?”
Jesus answered, “Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst. But the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water.” She’ll never have to come to the well and draw again. She is thinking purely on physical terms.
The woman said unto Him, “Give me this water that I thirst not.” Notice the very first thing that she says. She is not thinking of this in spiritual terms. He is talking about everlasting life and she said,“Give me that I thirst not.” That’s what she is talking about; purely physical.
Jesus is going to take this woman out of her sphere of physical comforts because sometimes that is what blinds us. If we’re not comfortable, if it’s too painful, we want out. Verse 15, “The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, give me this water that I thirst not, neither come here to draw.’” Two things; I want it to be a little bit easier for myself, and I want to be comfortable. I don’t want to have to be thirsty, and I don’t want to have to come here to draw. Those are the two things she is thinking about.
He just talked about everlasting life and all she is thinking about is her physical comfort. Notice Jesus’ response to her. “Go call your husband.” That’s what He says, “Go call your husband.”
The woman answered and said, “I don’t have a husband.”
Jesus said, “You have well said you have no husband for you have had five husbands, and he whom thou hast now is not your husband. In this you said truly.” If you like marking your Bible you’ll want to put a big circle around that word because it’s big. This is the very first truthful thing that she has said.
You see, those who worship the Father must worship Him in spirit and in truth. I always used to think that the spirit was the Pentecostals and the truth was the Baptists. I really did. I thought if we put the two together we would have some balance.
There is something about this word worship that we are going to enter into. Not only are we going to talk about these two women, but we’re going to talk about these two women who learned to worship in the most incredible sense of worship.
In fact, I believe that when we leave here today that you will never think about worship the same ever again. I have never thought about worshipping in the same way as I’ve thought about worship after I read this.
Jesus said, “This you have said truly.”
Verse 19; The woman said unto Him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.” I wonder what gave her that clue? That He just told her about her entire life? “Our Fathers worshipped in this mountain.”Notice what she does. As soon as the heat is on, as soon as she has been uncovered a little bit, she changes it into a religious conversation. “Sir, our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where we ought to worship.”
Have they been talking about worship? No, but all of a sudden she shifts this whole thing and wants to talk about the spiritual aspects of worship.
Jesus said unto her, “Woman, believe me, there is going to come a time where neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem they will worship the Father. You worship you know not what.” I believe every Christian needs to hear that. We worship we know not what.
“We know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews, but the hour comes and now is when the true worshippers” – there is the word true again – “shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth” – the third time – for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is spirit and they who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” – the fourth time.
Jesus is emphasizing this word, truth. And the woman said unto Him, “I know that a Messiah is going to come and He is going to tell us all things.”
Jesus said unto her, “I, who speak to you, am He.” The disciples come and the Bible says that woman leaves her water pot, which is highly unusual, and she runs to the village and tells the men of the village, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did.”
That’s not true. Jesus didn’t tell her that. Jesus told her one thing, that she had five husbands and the man that she was living with was not her husband. That is all he told her. He never said anything else about any other part of her life, but that one thing that He told her was enough for her to believe that He told her everything because it was the one thing that was holding her back from really entering worship with God, because it was spirit and truth that was necessary.
It was the truth about herself, of who she really was, is what Jesus used to open her heart to help her to see herself so that she could begin to seek God. Unless we see ourselves first we can never see God.“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”
If we come to the Father to worship Him without a pure heart, and if there is sin lurking low in our hearts in which we have covered up and tried to forget about, we will never be able to truly worship the Father. It will only be external.
The greatest thing in the world we can do to worship Him is to confess our sins one to another, and to Him; for Him to see our heart, but not with a mask on. Today, for some reason, we get saved and within a few short years we’ve gone from the baptismal tank to giving an open testimony from all that God has delivered us from, to “Oh, how are you doing?”
“I’m doing great, how are you doing?” and you’re just doing horribly and you’re having all kinds of fights among you and internal strife and your home is ready to fall apart. Then you come to church and you’re doing fine.
We need to begin to worship the Father in spirit and in truth, and the truth is about ourselves; who we really are.
Parents, our children will not be able to follow us if they can’t follow the truth because it’s only the truth that will set them free. If they see mom and dad always hiding behind the mask in their own lives, then they’ll begin to wear the mask themselves.
Turn to Matthew 14. Let’s look at one more woman. Let me give you a little bit of background on what is going on here. In chapter 14 He just fed the 5000 and it’s kind of an interesting scenario.
In chapter 14, verse 15, the evening had come and 5000 people had been following him and had been without water and food. The very first thing that the disciples say to Jesus is, in verse one, “Send them away.” The disciples have a real heart for ministry. [Laughter] They have this problem and all of these people, and they’re tired, so the best way to deal with these people is to get rid of them.
It’s interesting that they don’t take it upon themselves(30:30 audio cut out) because these people aren’t going to listen to the disciples, not yet. In fact, Jesus said, “You can’t follow me yet.” He said it twice in the book of John, “You can’t follow me right now.”
The reason they couldn’t follow Him was because they had not truly learned to love yet; to love others more than themselves. This is proof of it right here, “Send them away.”
After they want Him to send them away, what Jesus does at the very end of this is He makes them pick up the 12 baskets full of fragments. Did you ever wonder why He made them do that? Did you ever wonder what happened to the baskets of fragments after that? Where did they go? I would imagine, 12 baskets for 12 disciples, they’re probably carrying them with them.
Here they are with their 12 baskets full of fragments of bread, and the next thing He tells them is to get in the boat. They get in this boat and here they are; they have supplies, their bread, which will last them probably for a week. They’re content with what they have and the boat starts to sink.
You know the story. All of a sudden Peter sees the Lord Jesus on the water and he says, “Lord, if that’s you, bid me to come out there.”
The Lord says, “Come.” Peter walks out onto the water, and we all condemn him for having a lack of faith, but he is the first person I’ve ever known of that has walked on water in the first place. I’ve tried it several times, and I’m going to keep trying it, but it hasn’t worked yet. I just do it in puddles. [Laughter]
All of a sudden Peter sees the waves become boisterous and the wind become contrary toward him and he becomes afraid. Perfect love casts out all fear. Then he starts to sink. As he starts to sink he yells out, “Lord,” what does he say? “Save me. Deliver me.” And the Lord does. Do you know what? He does it for us as well.
Every time we get in a bind and we can’t take anymore and we think we’re sinking, we cry out for God to save us and deliver us and He does. But I’ll tell you what. Peter could have asked for something else. What could he have asked for?
“Lord, help me back up so I can continue walking on the water.” He could have asked Him for that. “Lord, help me to walk through this trial.” If you just ask for deliverance you’re going to repeat it again. “Lord, I don’t want to have to go through this again. Help me to walk through this, this time.”
Jesus says to him in verse 31, Jesus reaches His hand out, catches him, and says, “Oh ye of little faith.”He rebukes him, “Why did you doubt?”
Folks, we have a God in which we can trust, and He is going to allow us to have some very painful experiences in life, some very unpredictable experiences in life, or some very undesirable experiences in life. It is the only way that He is going to get us to learn to walk on water.
He doesn’t want to have to keep delivering us as we sink. He wants to teach us how to walk by faith. Not little faith, but great faith. We’re going to see how He does this.
Go to chapter 15, and the Scribes and Pharisees are complaining that the disciples aren’t washing their hands. Notice, in verse 33 of chapter 14 what the disciples do after they see this miracle by Jesus of delivering Peter. Then they were all in the boat and they came and did worship and said, “In truth this is the Son of God.”
No big deal. Everyone in this room would say that. This is something we all know, that He is the Son of God. But there is a greater truth. Who are you? That is the question that has to be answered. Who are you? We all know who Jesus is, but who are you?
It says in verse 33 that they worshipped Him. They worshipped Him by claiming that He was the Son of God. Everybody does that. The Mormons do that. Almost every religion that has a remotely close connection to Christianity claims that Jesus is the Son of God. Hari Krishna, and even some of the Muslims claim that He is a Son of God. No big deal.
What was the big deal? “…and they worshipped Him.”
Notice what He says in chapter 15, verse 9: “But in vain they do worship me, teaching the doctrines of men.” Notice what He says in verse 8 of chapter 15: “These people draw near to me with their mouth and they honor me with their lips.” How? “You’re the Son of God. We worship you,” “but their heart is far from me.”
That’s what Jesus is trying to communicate to the disciples. The Scribes and the Pharisees, they’re concerned about the disciples not washing their hands before they eat meat. Now what Jesus has to do is show both the Scribes and the Pharisees, and the disciples, that if you’re going to come close to God it has nothing to do with the external. It has nothing to do with an external show of worship, an external show of tradition. It has everything to do with the heart.
What He does is, in verse 21, He brings them to the land of Tyre and Sidon. There is no filthier place on earth than Tyre and Sidon. It is a hellhole. Not only is He on the borders of Tyre and Sidon, but in verse 22 a woman comes to Him, a woman of Canaan, and in the book of Mark it describes her as a Syrophoenician woman. Do you know who the Syrophoenicians were? They were the bottom of the bucket of the Canaanite race.
These women were not only harlots, they were the ones that shaved their heads bald, had all kinds of gaudy makeup all over them, and they were temple prostitutes and lesbians. This is the type of woman that is approaching Jesus; but not only all of that, they were involved in Satanic worship.
This woman has a demon possessed daughter. You get the whole idea of what is going on with this woman coming to Jesus.
Verse 22 of chapter 15: Behold, a woman of Canaan cries out saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David. My daughter is grievously vexed with a demon.”
It is really interesting. If you would look at verse 23: “But He answered her not a word, and the disciples came and besot Him saying,” –what? There they are again. Got a problem? Send it away. This is a great illustration of church policy right here. All in favor? Say ‘Aye.’ Send her away. Send it away. Let’s get rid of it. [Laughter]
But there is something unusual that happens here. We can understand the disciples. It hasn’t even penetrated the heart yet. They’re just totally looking at the outside. They worship Him. He’s the Son of God. They’re content with that.
But this woman cries out after Him saying, “Lord, Son of David, my daughter,” she’s not asking for something for herself. She’s asking something for her daughter. This mommy is a concerned mommy even though she is all messed up. She is a mommy who is looking for help.
Now, if Jesus were here this morning and you were a mother that wanted help for one of your children…in fact, I can imagine there are many of you sitting here right now that really desire that kind of help. “Lord, help my child please. I’m not asking for anything for myself.”
By the way, this is one of the first times – other than Jairus for his servant – that somebody is coming for help for somebody else not just for themselves. “Lord, Son of David, my daughter is grievously vexed with a demon.”
If Jesus were here this morning and we brought Him here just for this Mother’s Day service and we prepped you and said, “Any mother here who desires anything to be done for their children, you can ask Jesus now,” and you came with these expectations and hope that Jesus was going to do a miracle for you today, you would be so excited. You’ve heard all about Him.
This woman has heard all about Him. As soon as she hears that He is there she comes to Him. She doesn’t care what anyone else says. The disciples said to send her away, but she keeps crying out all the more, “Lord, help me!”
Notice what Jesus says to her, verse 23; “But He answered her not a word.” What is going on here? Why would Jesus do that, the merciful Son of God? The Savior of the world. The compassionate, merciful, Son of God treats this woman so coldly. Is it because of her background? Is it because she is a harlot, lesbian, and everything else? What is the problem here?
He does not answer her a word. The disciples come and beseech Him, “Send her away.” But this woman just continues. She is not asking just once, she continues repeatedly crying out after Him. “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me. Help my daughter, please.”Jesus hears her, but He doesn’t answer her a word.
I could just picture Peter, James, and John. “Yes!” High-five. “Give it to her, Lord. Don’t answer that no-good-for-nothing woman. Get her out of here! All right!
“John, you get rid of her. If she touches the Master we’re going to be all unclean for eight days.”
“No, you get rid of her. I got rid of the last one.”
“No, you get rid of her. You have the foot-shaped mouth, you get rid of her.”
I can just picture these three guys. “Get rid of her.” After she continues to cry after Him, verse 24 says,“I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” He is not talking to her; he is talking to the disciples.
He says to the disciples, “I am only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” True or false? False. Jesus did not come just for the Jews. He came for all mankind. He came for the whole world. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Then why does Jesus say this? Why does He say that I’ve only come for the lost sheep of the house of Israel?
Why now, when this Gentile woman needs help? It’s written right there in black and white. How does she approach Him? What does it say? She comes crying out to Him saying what? “O, Lord, Son of David…” Who is “O, Lord, Son of David?”
He is the King of Kings. He is the King that would have set up His throne for Israel. She is coming and looking for help from His Jewish throne. If you want help from Him for His power and authority, then He says that is only for Israel. I don’t give power and authority from my throne for the Gentiles. It has nothing to do with the Gentile race. That is for Israel only.
“Woman, you have come, you have approached me in the wrong way. You have asked me for the wrong thing. You’ve heard about who I am, but you are missing something very important. Don’t approach me for my power and my authority. Don’t ask for deliverance for my great power and authority. Ask for deliverance for my great love.”
He doesn’t answer her a word.
Verse 25: “Then came she,” and does what? It was after she heard what He said – those who worship the Father must worship Him in spirit and in truth – and this woman comes and she bends her knee and she worships Him, saying, “Help me.” That is the greatest phrase of worship that you will ever hear in your life. “Lord, help me. Just help me. Lord, I don’t know what to do. My family is falling apart. I don’t know what to do with my children. My life is a mess, help me.”
That is a truthful form of worship. It is the greatest form of worship we will ever enter in our lives. “Lord, help me. I don’t know what to do. Just help me.”
Yes, we can sing and all of that, but unless we get to this point in our lives we are not going to really worship Him. It is nothing to do with His power. It is nothing to do with His authority. It is nothing to do with His glory. It has everything to do with our heart and who we are, and who He is. “God, help me. Just help me.”
There is going to come a day for His power and glory and authority. That day is coming, but right now that is not here. Right now He wants us to get on our knees, and He wants us to repent, and He wants us to say, “God, I need your help. Just help me.”
The church needs to be a hospital.
This is awesome what she says. “Lord, help me.” You think that would be it. It’s like, “Okay, she got it! She understands. She passed the test. Praise the Lord, it’s over with. Now, go heal her daughter.”
Notice what He says to her, “But He answered her and said, ‘It’s not right to take the children’s bread and cast it to dogs.”
Come on! This poor woman has been so beat up already. First, He doesn’t answer her, but after she comes and worships Him the right way – remember what Peter said, “Lord, save me. Deliver me from this.” What a contrast. “Lord, help me.” And Peter says, “Lord, save me!” That should have been it.
He looks at her and says, “No. I’m not helping you. It’s not right to take the children’s bread and cast it to dogs.” He tests her again.
Folks, some of us are going to be chosen by God to be tested severely because He loves us so much.
This woman is an illustration for the disciples. They weren’t getting it. He had to take them to the dirtiest place in town. He had to take them to a place that was so defiled that it would make them sick.
He would help them to see that they were looking purely on the outside. What did He say? “In vain you worship me. You draw near to me with your mouth and you honor me with your lips, but your heart is far from me.”
“Men, let me take you into the heart of the situation. Let me show you an illustration of a woman who is going to teach us all things.” The most important truth in life this woman is going to teach us: First, she is going to teach us about worship. Second, she is going to teach us about humility. That is what God is trying to teach them.
Everyone else is looking for power and authority and glory, and Jesus is trying to teach them about love and sacrifice and obedience and humility.
He tests her to the Nth degree and says to her, “It’s not right to cast the children’s bread to dogs.” The word dog there is literally a reference to lesbians. It does mean little dogs that eat the crumbs from under the table, but in Tyre and Sidon it was a reference to lesbian women.
He just slaps her right across the face. He continues to help her see who she really is. Most people would say they’ve had enough. “I’ve had enough, Lord. Are you really, really on the throne? I can’t take this anymore.”
I’ve been there. I’ve been in the woods crying out to God saying, “God, if you don’t change the situation right now, I can’t take it anymore. I don’t like the pain. I don’t like the loneliness. I hate it. God, you have to change this. Change my wife. Change my children.” He never, ever answers that prayer, [Laughter] because He says, “It’s you. I’m going to change you. Even if it kills you I’m going to change you.” [Laughter] The amount of pain we go through is up to us. It really is.
After she’s been called a dog face-to-face in front of everyone, in verse 27 she says, “Truth, Lord.”Circle that word. The word ‘yes’ is really the word truth. The first word that comes out of her mouth is the word ‘truth.’
“This is the truth. I am a dog. You’re right, Lord. I am a good for nothing low-life. I agree with you.” She humbled herself all the way to the very bottom of the barrel. For those who are going to be willing to humble themselves, God is going to be willing to lift them up. That is the key to life.
God resists the proud, but He gives grace…you get grace at salvation, by the way, and salvation only came through genuine, broken humility. That is how we were saved. It works through our sanctification as well.
The only way that you will get grace after salvation is through humility. It is the only way. Every time you exercise humility you get more grace. “But He gives grace to the humble. Wherefore, God rejects the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.”
How do you humble yourself? It’s very easy. You admit who you are. You admit wrong. “I’m sorry. I was wrong again.” How many times? Seven times seventy for the rest of your life, because we’re just broken and God is trying to put us back together. That is what He is trying to do.
He is teaching the disciples this from this woman who couldn’t be more broken. Jesus took her thoughts off of her daughter – He doesn’t even mention her daughter – and places them on herself.
Do you want help for your children? Do you want help for your spouse? Then place the emphasis upon yourself.
“Truly,” she says. “This is the truth, Lord. Yet the dogs even eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table. And Jesus answered and said unto her, “Oh woman, great is thy faith.” What did He say to Peter? “Oh, ye of little faith.”
You want deliverance? This woman wants help, and she has great faith and that is the difference. She wants to walk through her problems not just be delivered from them. As a result, God does deliver her and says, and this is awesome, “and her daughter was made well from that very hour.”
I’m going to take you to a foreign land; to the enchanted city. It is one of my favorite places to be. In the kingdom of darkness there is no such thing as a king, and death to pretenders. People work during the night and sleep during the day, and it is forbidden to see the light.
Children are branded at birth and placed underground to put the hot coals in the furnaces to keep the man-made power going. There is nothing real in this kingdom. There are no trees, no birds that sing, no sky above; only hardship and misery, testings and cursings.
The Enchanter rules this kingdom with a hot iron and a heavy fist, and anyone who looks into his eyes is forever in his trance. But Thespia’s mother told her that there was a real King in a real Kingdom, and the sunset was absolutely beautiful. Thespia. Young, beautiful Thespia. She demanded in protest and told her mother, “Seeing is believing, and believing is seeing. If there really was a King, then where is he? Why doesn’t he deliver us from all of this?”
Her mother looked at her daughter and said, “Sweetheart, seeing is not believing if you look through your heart.” Even at her mother’s dying breath she begged her daughter to believe, but she would not, could not, for seeing was believing for her.
It was then, after her mother’s death, that the Enchanter came to take her away, for all children who are deformed and orphaned are put underground to put the hot coals in the furnaces to keep the man-made power going, for there is nothing real in this kingdom.
Everything ran from the man-made power made from the children putting the hot coals in the furnaces. They were called boiler-brats and sewer rats. Children rarely lived past 12 years of age, and if there was ever a power outage one child would die.
But one look at Thespia and her long, luxuriant, golden hair, just a twist of her wrist and a wink of her eye could capture anyone. The Enchanter looked at her and said, “This child is mine. Take her to my palace.”
It was there that the most beautiful children were allowed to become the actors and actresses of the kingdom, for once a month the Enchanter allowed the common people to come with their runny sores and haggard clothes and lack of hope. They would come to the great theatre to forget their sorrows for a season. It was there that the beautiful children would come out and act.
This was Thespia’s debut. She would walk out on stage for the very first time, and as she took her bow and the people would chant furiously, “Thespia, Thespia, we love Thespia,” she would always try to remember what her mother told her even though she didn’t believe it for herself. That there was a real King and the sunset was beautiful.
She tried to conjure that idea up in her mind, and it would give her inspiration. The blood would begin to flow through her veins, and her heart would begin to beat faster and faster. She took her bow and as she raised her head she noticed something very peculiar.
There was a man standing in the back of the auditorium and standing in what appeared to be his own light. She continued to act thinking nothing of it. She was excited about doing this play. It was calledThe Return of the King. The Enchanter had allowed it to come out of the old archives after several hundred years. He thought there was no more chance of a rebellion. People knew there was no such thing as a king, and death to pretenders.
All of a sudden the man-made power turned off and everything was black. The people began to moan and groan. “Oh no,” they said. “The children, the children.” They knew that one child would die for not keeping the man-made power going.
But just then the man who was standing in the back began to walk forward. He walked to the edge of the orchestra pit, vaulted forward onto the stage and said, “This is where I make my entrance.”
Thespian took out her hand, and as she touched his and helped him up on stage, complete warmth radiated throughout her entire body. She had never felt anything so beautiful in all her life.
The man turned from Thespia, looked at the orchestra and said, “Music. Up tempo.” They obeyed his voice and didn’t even know why. It was as if he was the conductor himself.
The man turned and looked at Thespia, and with a smile he looked at the audience and said, “Have you ever heard of a kingdom where every orphan had a home?”
“No,” they said.
“Have you ever heard of a kingdom where the King lived in it and loved his people?”
“No,” said the people.
Just then, Thespia walked up to the man and began to protest, “Where do we find this kingdom of which you speak?” All this time the people thought the play was continuing.
The man turned and looked at Thespia and said, “Thespia, the real kingdom is wherever I walk and anyone who walks with me. Will you follow me?” Thespia didn’t know what to say. She was quite choked up.
The man turned from Thespia, looked at the orchestra and said, “Music. Down tempo.” Again, they obeyed his voice and didn’t know why. The music played at a stage whisper. He walked to the edge of the stage, looked at the people and said, “In the kingdom of light the day shines bright.”
“Ah,” said the people. “Day? Light?” They had never seen it.
“In the kingdom of light,” said the man, “everything is right.”
“Ah,” said the people again, with a long sigh.
This time Thespia couldn’t control herself. She walked up to the man and said, “Sir, how do we know that what you’re saying is true?”
The man turned, looked at Thespia once again and said, “Thespia, I’ve come to seek and save those who are lost. Follow me. Live no longer in darkness but join me in the light.”
Thespia began to cry, not player’s tears but real tears. She’d never heard words like these before. All of a sudden she looked at the people. She rubbed her eyes, and looked again. Everything was different! Their runny sores were healed. Their ragged clothes were turned into something beautiful. Their lack of hope was turned into joy.
She rubbed her eyes and looked again. Sure enough everything was changed, but only if she looked at the people through the man’s light. Thespia looked at the man, and she bowed before him. The man, though, raised her up, and as he touched her cheek in wiping away her tears, again that warmth radiated throughout her entire body. She had never felt anything so gentle in all her life. It was as though someone had just given her a bath and she was entirely clean.
She looked at him and said, “My Lord.” She took his hand in hers and raised it high as if giving an introduction. She looked at the people and said, “My people, your King. My King, your people.”
All of a sudden the man-made power turned on and the lights blazed forth. Someone in the wealthy patron boxes shouted out, “There is no such thing as a king. Death to pretenders!”
Everyone started to chant. “Death! Death! Death!” they said. The glow of the man started to diminish and he began to button his coat as if he meant to leave.
“Are you leaving?” she said.
“Yes. The moment for believing has ended. Follow me,” said the man. The two of them left the theater together, and very few of them seemed to see them go. Thespia became a street player in the back alleys and dead-ends of Enchanted City acting out the King’s story in such a way that all who saw her suspected and then hoped that there was a real King and a real kingdom.
Like the King she wore common clothes. She never gave the luxuries of the palace a backward glance, because when one has found one’s real love it is easy to leave behind what has only been pretend.
Folks, let’s hold on to the truth today. The truth about who He is, and who we are. Let’s take off the mask once and for all, and let’s come before Him and worship Him in spirit and in truth. Then He’ll be able to deal with all of the other problems that riddle us, both the undesirable and unexpected things of life.
One thing that we can be guaranteed of, He will make all things beautiful in its time. Let’s pray.
Father, thank you for this day. Thank you for mothers. Thank you for women. What a precious gift you have given us as men. Lord God, I cannot imagine this world being without women. Father, they are beautiful. They are gentle and tender, and everything that you wish to teach us about what is delicate and pure and beautiful.
Yet, Lord, sin tried to destroy us. Our own hearts deceive us. Father, I pray that as you redeem us day-by-day that we would worship you in spirit and in truth. That we would come before you in true humility.