following the path to his heart part 2: meekness

Posted on March 19th, 2020 by mountain girl  |  No Comments »

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In Matthew 15, we read the story of a Gentile woman who came to Jesus asking Him to heal her daughter. His answer has always made me stop and wonder!

Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

What?? Why would Jesus respond to her like that? It was probably not strange to those who were standing there–the Jews looked down on foreigners. But this was Jesus! He came for the whole world. He was the one who told the story of the Good Samaritan. He came to break down walls of division, didn’t He?

I am pretty sure Jesus had something up His sleeve. He could have just healed her daughter, or He could have just walked away. But He took the time to have a conversation with her, and to draw out something hidden in her heart…something only He saw.

In Matthew 5, Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Meekness is a prize to Him. I think He looked at that woman in Matthew 15 and glimpsed a gold nugget of meekness hidden in her heart. He chose His words carefully and spoke a sentence that would uncover that hidden nugget. He wanted the whole world to see and remember this woman throughout the ages. It was a sentence that could only reveal either pride or meekness:

“It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

What would you do if someone called you a little dog? I wouldn’t like it very much!  I might even be a tiny bit offended.  But God is not afraid to offend the mind to reveal the heart.

And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.  Matt 15:25-28 NKJV

She didn’t even skip a beat. She agreed with Him! And she even sounded like she would be happy with the crumbs, like a little dog.

But this lady was smart–she wasn’t going to let pride and offense rob her of what she wanted. She was not interested in making herself great, or attaining status in the eyes of others. Somehow, she knew that just a crumb from Jesus was everything she needed.

Kathryn Kuhlman was a great healing evangelist who lived in a time when women didn’t normally have pulpit ministries.  She was criticized by people who thought she must be out of line. Her answer? “I believe God’s first choice for this ministry was a man, his second choice, too. But no man was willing to pay the price. I was just naive enough to say, ‘Take nothing, and use it.’ And He has been doing that ever since.”

She wasn’t offended and she didn’t respond haughtily or tell her critics to look at the amazing miracles that followed her, or the incredible presence of God that filled her meetings. She carried a treasure too great to bother with offense. She had the crumbs–the gold nuggets of Jesus Himself.

“Take nothing, and use it,” sounds a lot like “Even the little dogs eat the crumbs.” Jesus is looking into hearts to find meekness. He bends the rules of society when He finds what He is looking for.

We might not exactly think of meekness in the right way. It’s not being a doormat, or weak, or unable to stand up for yourself. The word meek (praus) in the NT comes from the military, and relates to horse training. Here is an interesting study I found.

This difficult-to-translate root (pra-) means more than “meek.” Biblical meekness is not weakness but rather refers to exercising God’s strength under His control – i.e. demonstrating power without undue harshness.

[The English term “meek” often lacks this blend--i.e. of gentleness (reserve) and strength.]

“In the New Testament language of Koine Greek the word for humble was ‘praus’. Borrowed from the military, praus related to horse training. The Grecian army would find the wildest horses in the mountains and bring them to be broken in. After months of training, they sorted themselves into categories: some were discarded, some broken and made useful for burden bearing, some were useful for ordinary duty and the fewest of all graduated as war horses. When a horse passed the conditioning required for a war horse, its state was described as ‘praus’. The war horse had ‘power under authority’ or ‘strength under control’. A war horse never ceased to be determined, strong and passionate. However, it learned to bring its nature under discipline. It gave up being wild, unruly, out of control and rebellious. A war horse learned to bring that nature under control. It would now respond to the slightest touch of the rider, stand in the face of canon fire, thunder into battle and stop at a whisper.”

Meekness is not a personality trait, like we usually think of it. It is highly trained, perfectly controlled determination and strength. May we develop the meekness of a trained war horse!

Jesus is leading us in the path of meekness. It is the way to His heart. We must realize the importance of these two things: meekness, and the crumbs He gives us. They are both easy to overlook, to belittle, to think unimportant–but they are precious and necessary to our very life. The woman in Matt. 15 knew that, and because of this, she wasn’t dissuaded or discouraged.

Jesus is the Bread of Heaven. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” Matt. 4:4. Every word He wrote to us, speaks to us, sings over us, reveals to us, drops into our hearts, is what we live by.

He is the Word of God, the Bread of Life (John 6:35). The crumbs He gives to the meek are not second-best. They are bits of Himself. He lets us taste of Him to draw us and make us hungry for more.

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