Lord, Help Me

Preached to Riverview Baptist, 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN
on the morning of May 7 2017

Jean-Germain_Drouais_-_The_Woman_of_Canaan_at_the_Feet_of_Christ_-_WGA06696

Matthew 15:21-28 (KJV)21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshiped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Last week we saw Jesus walking on the water in the midst of a storm, and Peter walking with Jesus. Peter asked Jesus if he could come out of the boat and walk on water with Him. Jesus told Peter “Come”. If you’ll remember that story we were told:

Matthew 14:30-31 (KJV) … when Peter saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, LORD, SAVE ME. 31 And IMMEDIATELY Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

We talked about Peter’s prayer, that it was a good prayer. In trouble Peter prayed simply:

Lord, save me”!

The prayer was a good prayer because the Bible tells us IMMEDIATELY JESUS REACHED OUT and saved Peter. The prayer was simple – only three words. It said all it needed to say:

LORD” – I am not looking anywhere else. My eyes are fixed on Jesus.

SAVE” – Only Jesus can save. I am not looking to those in the boat, but to Jesus only.

ME” – I am sinking, I need Jesus. I don’t care what others think. I need Your touch!

A beautiful three word prayer. A perfect prayer.

Now we come to an interesting account. A woman comes to Jesus. Her daughter is ill. She says:

Matthew 15:22 (KJV) .. Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

Notice how the woman pleads with Jesus. She says “Have MERCY on me”. That’s a good starting place for prayer. Our God is merciful. Our God is full of mercy.

Mercy Is Where We Must Meet God In Prayer

The woman did not demand her rights before God. She did not say, “Lord, You’ve healed many others. Now I want MY daughter to be healed”. Too often we come to God demanding.

It’s not fair.

I deserve this.

God, you OWE me.

God owes none of us anything. The Bible tells us that as creatures it is US who fall short of God. God has been good to us all, but most of us give little of ourselves toward glorifying God. The Scripture tells us:

Romans 3:10-18 (NKJV) As it is written:

There is none righteous, no, not one;

11 There is none who understands;

There is none who seeks after God.

12 They have all turned aside;

They have together become unprofitable;

There is none who does good, no, not one.”

13 “Their throat is an open tomb;

With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;

The poison of asps is under their lips”;

14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”

15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;

17 And the way of peace they have not known.”

18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

God gave us lives, pretty good lives. And God has been merciful to us daily. The Psalmist said:

Psalm 86:15 (ESV) But you, O Lord, are a God MERCIFUL and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

As sinners, we DESERVE God’s justice, not His mercy.

Romans 3:23 (ESV) for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

This woman prayed “Lord, have MERCY on me”. A blind man named BARTIMAEUS prayed this same prayer. We read in …

Mark 10:46-52 (KJV)46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, HAVE MERCY ON ME. 48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, HAVE MERCY ON ME. 49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. 50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. 52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

Bartimaeus cried out “Jesus, Thou Son of David, have MERCY on me”. He grabbed hold of the mercy seat. He cried out for mercy, and Christ gave him mercy. Bartimaeus “immediately received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way”. What a beautiful story!

But what of the Canaanite woman? She prayed as Bartimaeus prayed, and the Bible says:

Matthew 15:23 (KJV) But {Jesus} answered her NOT A WORD.

When Peter cried out “Lord, save me!” Jesus IMMEDIATELY reached out and saved him. When Bartimaeus cried out “Jesus, have MERCY on me”! But this woman cried out to the Lord and he answered her NOT A WORD. Why?

Why Did Jesus Delay In Answering Her Prayer?

We have all had times when we have prayed for something, and for what ever reason God has delayed in answering our prayer. Why did Jesus delay in answering this woman’s prayer.

Delays In Answered Prayer Displays Genuine Faith

UNBELIEVERS Need To See Genuine Faith

When we started this account we read:

Matthew 15:21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of TYRE AND SIDON.

Tyre and Sidon were GENTILE cities north of Israel. Though Jesus initially came to save the lost sheep of the house of Israel it was His intention to eventually reach out to those who were not Israelites. Tyre and Sidon were cities that God pronounced judgment on in the Old Testament. They worshiped idols rather than the God of Heaven. Queen Jezebel was from Sidon, and it was Jezebel who brought the false worship of the Gentile god Baal into Israel. From gotquestions.org:

Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre from 585–572 BC. Alexander the Great conquered Tyre in 322 BC, completely destroying the city. The Persian king Artaxerxes conquered Sidon. In short, God’s prophesied judgment came to pass. Later, both cities became prosperous provinces of Rome.”

The nature of genuine faith is that it LINGERS. Tyre and Sidon needed to see genuine faith. In the crowds that followed Jesus were Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes that looked good outwardly, but inwardly were ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15). The people who followed Jesus needed to see genuine faith. The people needed to see the difference between the Pharisee who often prayed:

Luke 18:11-14 (NLT) The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’M CERTAINLY NOT LIKE THAT TAX COLLECTOR! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

and the Tax Collector who prayed:

Luke 18:13-14 (NLT) “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, BE MERCIFUL TO ME, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Genuine faith is humble, and PERSISTENT. Though Jesus answered her not a word she would not stop believing.

Believers Need To See Genuine Faith

As this woman cries out to Jesus for mercy how do the disciples respond?

Matthew 15:23 (KJV) But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for SHE CRIETH AFTER US.

The Bible says “HIS Disciples came and besought Him, saying SEND HER AWAY; for she crieth after US”. What a strange statement to make! She is crying AFTER JESUS, but the Disciples, HIS DISCIPLES, are saying “She crieth after US”. She needs to stop this crying, Jesus. It is disturbing to us! How shallow the faith of Christ’s disciples are at times. God has given us unbounding grace. He has blessed us beyond measure. And yet at times our hearts are all about OURSELVES, and not about the Love of God. If we were to do as Christ commands:

John 13:34 (ESV) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

If we loved as Christ has loved us then we would join in the prayers of the hurting rather than standing against them. When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it (1 Corinthians 12:26). How arrogant a Child of God can become when we forget that we are all of mercy, that we deserve nothing.

We Who Believe Need To See Our Faith Tested

Matthew 15:22 (KJV) And, behold, a WOMAN OF CANAAN came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

This is a “Woman of Canaan”. She comes from Canaan. She is a Canaanite. Canaanites are mentioned over 150 times in the Bible. The Canaanites were a people who were idolatrous, a large race of people who often practiced child sacrifice. They lived in a land of milk and honey, a blessed land, but they turned against the God of Heaven who gave them that land. Because of their idolatry and child sacrifice God gave the land of Canaan to His servant Abraham and his descendants (see Genesis 12:7). God warned Israel when she went into the land to chase the Canaanites out. God told Israel:

Deuteronomy 7:1-5 (NET) When the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you…you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them…. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. But thus you shall do to them: You shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.

The Canaanites were a horrible people who murdered their own children. This woman is of Canaan. But notice that she does not want to murder her child, but that her child might be saved. She plead for her daughter. And when Jesus answered her “not a word” she continued to plead.

Matthew 15:24-25 (KJV) But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshiped him, saying, Lord, help me.

When Jesus declared “I am only sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” the woman did not walk away. She kept on praying. She kept on knocking at the Door of Grace. She didn’t stomp off mad. She DREW NEARER TO JESUS.

Then came she – she drew near by faith

and worshiped Him – she humbled herself before Christ

and prayed – “Lord, help me”

Where was her heart in this? Many are the times that we have prayed “Lord, help me”, but we REALLY wanted to do it ourselves. We wanted God to enable us, but we only wanted Him as a HELPER and not as LORD. Where was this woman’s heart? Jesus told her:

Matthew 15:26 (KJV) But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.

I have come for the Children, not the Canaanites. I can’t take the Children’s bread and cast it to DOGS.” The term “Dog” is used in the Bible to describe the unbeliever. When Jesus was crucified it was prophesied:

Psalms 22:16 (KJV) For DOGS have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

It was DOGS or UNBELIEVERS who crucified Christ. It is DOGS who – as unbelievers – will not be allowed into God’s Heaven:

Revelation 22:14-15 (KJV) Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For WITHOUT ARE DOGS, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Jesus called this woman the worst thing a person could call another. He said “You are a DOG. Shall I take the Children’s bread and feed it to the DOGS?” If anyone should have been angered at this, she should. But she wasn’t. She plead mercy from God. She replied:

Matthew 15:27 (KJV)And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

She did not argue nore demand, but said “Lord, eventhe dogs get to eat the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table”. She humbled herself before Christ.

And she was rewarded.

Matthew 15:28 (KJV)Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

The woman was blessed because she showed genuine faith toward God.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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