A crumb from the table of God; a basketful of His blessing
Mark 7:24-8:10 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it; yet He could not escape notice. 25 But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.” 29 And He said to her, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” 30 And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left.
31 Again He went out from the region of Tyre, and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, within the region of Decapolis. 32 They brought to Him one who was deaf and spoke with difficulty, and they implored Him to lay His hand on him. 33 Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva; 34 and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He said to him, “Ephphatha!” that is, “Be opened!” 35 And his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly. 36 And He gave them orders not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it. 37 They were utterly astonished, saying, “He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”
8 In those days, when there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples and said to them, 2 “I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance.” 4 And His disciples answered Him, “Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?” 5 And He was asking them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” 6 And He directed the people to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people. 7 They also had a few small fish; and after He had blessed them, He ordered these to be served as well. 8 And they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces. 9 About four thousand were there; and He sent them away. 10 And immediately He entered the boat with His disciples and came to the district of Dalmanutha.
In today’s text it says: Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.” And He said to her, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” When I read this account I can’t help but to think how unlikely this scenario would be to play out in our society and culture. Jesus compared this woman to a dog because she was a Gentile. Look at the woman’s response. She didn’t take offense as most would today. She recognized that what she needed was not to have her social status and standing changed. What she needed was not anything from this earthly realm. She needed and wanted what was and is in the kingdom of heaven. Even more she believed that all that she needed was just a bit of the overflow, just the excess, left over from the healing power of God. She didn’t care about her earthly status. She only cared and believed that she needed the kingdom of heaven to touch earth. Jesus says: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) Because of her answer and because of her attitude, the woman’s request was granted.
The woman could have taken offense to what Jesus said. In our culture and society, even if the woman herself did not take offense and protest, others would be offended for her. There would be stories and video. The news media and social media would expand and exploit the story, in the name of offense. In Matthew 6:1 Jesus says: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” He goes on to say: “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” If the principle applies to practicing righteousness, does it not also apply to protesting unrighteousness? We can choose like many today to meaninglessly repeat our protests before people, and so seek to be justified and rewarded in their sight. Or we can, like the woman, humbly make our request known in the kingdom of heaven. 1 Peter 5:5-6 says: Be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. James 4:10 says: Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Many today miss out on the blessing and the provision of the kingdom of heaven because they prioritize equality and justice in the sight of men. The truth is no matter how hard we try to legislate equality here on earth, there will always be inequality. There will be male and female, even though that may offend some. There will be rich and poor, even though it may be offensive. There will be people of differing races, national origins, color, language, size and shape. Nothing we do here on earth will change that. Our choice then is to choose between heaven and earth. We can focus on the inequity on earth. We can protest and take our offense before people in hopes that we will be justified. Or like the woman, we can disregard the things of earth, the way they are and humbly appeal to the God of heaven. After all, regardless of whether we are rich or poor, dark or light, whether we are tall or short, regardless of whether we are male or female, Genesis 1:26-27 says: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. In God’s sight, in His kingdom we are all equal. We are created in His image and likeness. Why should we strive here on earth for what is already ours in heaven?
The kingdom of heaven, God’s kingdom, what Jesus came to bring to earth, is sometimes referred to as an upside down kingdom because it prioritizing things so differently than the kingdom of men and earth. In God’s kingdom, “The first shall be last.” (Matthew 20:16) In God’s kingdom: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” Jesus says: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great.” (Matthew 5:3-12)
Today’s text ends again with the provision from heaven out of the lack of earth’s supply. It says: They ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces. About four thousand were there. The crumbs which fell from the table of heaven, were more than what the earth could provide. After all were satisfied there was more left than what was there in the beginning.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit it is the reward of heaven that I seek. Help me to be humble in Your sight. Help me to not be concerned with or offended by the things of this world. Like the woman, I recognize that all I need is just the overflow, the crumbs from the blessings and provision of the kingdom of God. Yet in Your mercy and Your grace, You do not call me an outcast or a dog, but You call me Your child. I am created in Your image and likeness, redeemed and restored by Christ. Why should I care or take offense at the opinion of men. I humbly seek Your kingdom and Your righteousness and believe that all things, everything I need will be added to me. My reward in heaven is great because You are my reward. Amen.