Tag Archives: Rules

The Red Thread – More than History

Mark 7 – There was a mother whose little girl was possessed by an impure spirit. She was a gentile. The story reminded me Jesus was in gentile territory. Ordinarily a Jew would walk miles out of their way to avoid being in this place Jesus had chosen to go.

Then I found this piece of information was brand new to me. “The earthly Israel had failed to gather in the people of Phoenicia; now the true Israel had come upon them. It was not a strange land into which Jesus came; it was a land which long ago God had given him for his own. He was not so much coming amongst strangers as entering into his inheritance.”

Jesus had clearly taught the right food had nothing to do with whether a person was clean or unclean. Now the true Israel tells a different story of what makes a person clean or unclean. It’s not “right” birth or right location that makes a person clean or unclean. That’s a good thing but why is his response to the gentile woman is so harsh?

27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

Jesus was confronting this gentile woman to consider the inferior circumstance she’d lived under her whole life. Slavery then wasn’t so unlike the slavery we’re more familiar with. If you tell people for centuries they’re inferior it takes something more than history for them to believe they have the right to deserve more and ask for it.

28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

What Jesus saw in this woman’s response was courage defined by her faith in him. That was the only thing she had to offer. It wasn’t faith determined by rules or race. She had faith that defied all the odds of her circumstance…and that mattered to Jesus.

29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Amen.

As Good as His Word

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  Proverbs 9:10 NIV

I don’t really like the idea of “fear” when it comes to the Lord: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. I know him to be a loving, protective parent who’s goal is my good, not to scare me into behaving…but there’s that word “fear” in the same sentence with wisdom.

I went to the dictionary, a Hebrew lexicon and someone else’s explanation of that fear hoping I’d find something less harsh. Guess what? By the time you’ve run that gauntlet of options you discover this truth. Mostly it really is THAT kind of fear. This is God, he makes the rules and sets that boundary of fear to keep us from deliberate sin and like a really good parent he will keep his word…all of it!

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

It reminded me of when I was a teenager. I heard myself say “I can’t do that, my mother would kill me.” It’s that kind of fear. It’s not wanting to get into trouble because you know exactly what that trouble will bring. That really is the beginning of wisdom. Turns out Mother knew best, after all.