The Syrophenician: Matthew 15:10-28

Matthew 15:10‑28  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
AT 15:10-28{IN this beautiful scripture the Lord unfolds to us, in a striking way, what is in the heart of man, in contrast with what is in His own heart. There is nothing but badness in the one, and nothing but goodness in the other.
Men in general, like the Pharisees here, are occupied about what is outside: the washing of hands before eating bread, the washing of cups, the traditions of the elders, have the first place in their thoughts. With what amazing power must these words of the Lord Jesus have fallen on their ears:-"Hear and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man." What a picture of a man's heart! the seat of all wickedness and folly, the cage of every unclean bird! a filthy, polluted swamp, out of which issue the streams of sorrow and death. My reader, this is your heart I Have you owned it, bowed to it, submitted yourself to the judgment of God so expressed? so much so that to you it is a comfort past description to turn away from yourself to Him- that blessed One, whose heart, full of goodness, is towards you, and whose word to you is, "I cannot trust you; you may trust me"? Have you so turned to Him? It is not a little remarkable that, immediately after exposing the heart of man, the Lord left the place of boasted privilege for the coasts of Tire and Sidon, which were outside the region of earthly blessing, and the people in covenant relationship with God; and here, in the defiled place, as it were, He manifests the heart of God as fully as previously in the place of outward privilege he exposed the heart of man. The boasted goodness of the land of Israel could not change the heart of man, and the known wretchedness and contempt connected with Tire and Sidon could not take away from what was in the heart of God. A woman of Canaan, belonging to a cursed race, a descendant of Ham, in her distress cries after Him: "Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David! my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil." He who was tenderness itself answers her not a word! What can it be; is there no pity in Him?
His disciples, in the selfishness of their nature, say to Him, “Send her away;" that is, "give her what she wants; “she crieth after us; " she is a trouble to us; or, it is distressing to hear her. He who alone was the Servant of the various needs of men was also Jehovah's Servant; and as she without right claims from him as Son of David, he replies, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
She will not give Him up though He is silent to her; and again she comes, worshipping Him, and saying, “Lord help me!" What will He say to this? As Jehovah's Servant, He will not only own the rights of Jehovah, but will have all do likewise; hence He replies, "It is not meet to take the children's bread (i.e., what belongs to Israel) and to cast it to dogs" (i.e., to Gentiles). What will she say to this? Is she content to be blessed as a dog, as an unclean, outside one? She replies, "Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table." She is satisfied to be a dog! she is satisfied to receive a crumb! He had it in His heart to bless her according to His heart; His best is what was in His heart for her. Gently and graciously, yet truly, did He lead her on step by step, first, off from false ground that she had taken in the wildness of her distress (for as Son of David she had no claim upon Him), and then on the full acknowledgment that even a dog in the house of such a Master was not forgotten; so that to be such to Him, and to receive from such an One as Him a crumb, was heaven on earth!
Beloved reader, what do you think of Him who, in this blessed way of His own love, attracted her, instructed her, blessed her, according to all that was in His own heart-"led her forth by the right way"?
Have you been drawn to Him and blessed by Him; have you turned to Him in your distress and misery; and have you now that full confidence in Him that He has done, and will do, His best for you?
"We have known and believed the love that God hath to us." W. T. T.