AN ORDER OF SERVICE FOR DIVINE WORSHIP; DESIGNED FOR PRIVATE DEVOTIONS, FAMILY GATHERINGS AND CHURCH MEETINGS.

Scripture Reading—Mark 7:24-30

“And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: the woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs. And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.”

Opening Prayer

Scripture Meditation—The Dogs Under The Table

This account of the Syrophoenician woman and the gracious healing of her daughter who was possessed of a devil contains in it a reaction and language from the Lord Jesus that might on first reading be unexpected and surprising. The Lord, who receives all who come to Him by faith, was slow to respond to this woman’s cry for help and far from encouraging when He did. Indeed, rather than welcome her approach He seemed more intent to place hurdles before this poor soul, than open the way to receive her.

Christ the first cause

Let us, however, not miss the first cause in this account of humble faith and sovereign grace. The Lord Jesus Christ went to where this lady was in order to meet her. He went to her to enable her to come to Him. Leaving Gennesaret the Lord travelled to the coasts of Tyre and Sidon to meet this woman before ever she came out of those cities to seek Him. The Lord took the initiative as He always does in matters of grace and salvation.

And, as before, we can clearly see the Lord teaching His disciples valuable lessons in the way He deals with this lady and the blessings she obtained. She is an object lesson in persistence for pressed and tried believers.

Come to seek and save

Remember, this woman was an elect child of God and the Lord Jesus came to the coasts of Tyre and Sidon for the purpose of gathering her into His kingdom. Jesus’ church will be gathered from all the earth. He has a people chosen from amongst the nations of the world. The gaze of the Lord was upon this dear soul from eternity and at the appointed time of love the Lord Jesus went forth to find her.

The Lord will provide

We should note the circumstances by which this poor woman sought the Lord’s help. She was at her wit’s end by reason of the devil that afflicted her daughter, but the spiritual wisdom placed in her soul brought her to see her need of help and her source of help in Jesus. Troubles for the Lord’s people are never punitive. They are always conducive. The gales that drive and carry God’s people to Christ for help are winds of compassion with gusts of grace. The apostle could write, ‘Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need’ (Hebrews 4:16).

The Lord Jesus loved this woman and was eager to do her good long before He saw her. Yet, for her sake, and to strengthen her faith, He deferred the granting of her request. Such delays we all encounter, they teach us to wait patiently upon the Lord. Let us judge our own needs in the light of this incident. God’s way and timing is always perfect.

A blessed outcome

In the end this lady obtained all she asked for and much, much more. The wisdom and beauty of her reply to the Saviour’s deflection, the humility it revealed, the strength of faith and persistence of purpose it demonstrated, is a wonder to behold. Like Jacob, she would not let go of the Lord until He blessed her! She had nowhere else to go, no one else to turn to. She was, she admitted, unworthy of His help, but was there not even a crumb to be had?

Happy condition

Grace brought this woman to complete dependence upon the Lord, and divine mercy granted her request. It was as though the Lord said, ‘Daughter, you shall have what you desire, and more’. This poor Gentile believer gained deliverance for her daughter and everlasting life in heaven. Today she is seated in glory with Abraham, worshipping in the choir of the saints, at peace amongst the great congregation of the redeemed. Happy condition!

Peter Meney

Hymn—“There’s Not A Sparrow”

Sermon—“The Dogs Under The Table”

Peter L. Meney is the editor of “New Focus“, a web-based magazine available online. Its purpose and aim is to spread as widely as possible the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of free, sovereign grace found in the Holy Bible, the Word of God.

Hymn—“Grace Greater Than Our Sin”

Closing Prayer

Benediction

May the Lord bless you, and keep you; may the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; may the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen.



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