The Woman of Canaan by Christine A Gibson
The Woman of Canaan
By Christine A. Gibson
(A transcription of her sermon preached May 9, 1954)
I am going to speak tonight concerning a mother's prayer, and it is the prayer of faith. It's a very familiar Scripture, you've heard it before, but I can't get anything else so I'm going to obey the Lord. I'll read the first verse, and the last verse in this lesson, and you'll find the lesson in the 15th chapter of Matthew, the Gospel according to Matthew, and the 22nd verse, and the last verse of the particular lesson, the 28th verse. The 22nd verse:
"And behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him [cried out to Jesus, of course], saying: Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, thou son of David, my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil."
The last verse (I'm skipping the rest, although we're going to take in the whole lesson),
"Then Jesus answered, and said unto her: Oh woman, great is thy faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
I'm not going to relate the incident (a number of you have heard me give this message, and you've heard the incident connected with the message that gave me this message; I don't believe its necessary to even tell that incident), but I am going to give you the three outstanding characteristics of this last verse, when Jesus really did commend this woman, and commended her for her great faith. She came with a prayer. It ended up with a commendation from the Lord as a woman of great faith, and faith that gave her just what she went for. I don't think there's anyone of us in here, but what would be greatly delighted if we could have Christ look down upon us, men or women in here, and commend us for great faith.
He was never able to commend many; there are only two characters in this Bible that Christ ever commended for great faith; one is this woman who came pleading for her afflicted daughter, and the other is the man who came pleading for a servant of his, and the strange part of it; both of these were outsiders, and were not Israelites; they had no legal claim on God, and these are the only two, the man that came for his servant; when he commended him, Christ said these words: “I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel.” The place where I ought to find great faith, I haven't found it. He found it in two outsiders. The man coming, pleading for a sick servant, and the woman pleading for an afflicted daughter.
There is a place where Christ, speaking to His Disciples in the 18th chapter of Luke ends up His lesson with these words, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the Earth?” Is He going to find faith among the people that should have it, or is He going to find such a casting away of confidence, because of the serious times, that He's not going to find faith on the Earth?... that He be very sad, if Christ returned and didn't find the real thing on the Earth; a faith that will give us just what we need? Church of God, I do pray God stirs up on these lines of faith.
We're told: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” We're told that if we come to God, we must come believing that God is, and we must come believing that He's a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. The Bible is filled with this Word of Faith. Sometimes its a rebuke, where Christ had to rebuke disciples and say: “Oh ye of little faith. Why did you doubt?” Israel... God was so displeased with them. They could not enter into Canaan land because of their unbelief (and spoken of as a place of rest), they couldn't enter in, because of unbelief.
God help us as the People of God in these days, that we'll come up to God's approval, and God's requirement concerning the faith that will get things from God Almighty. Now, in dealing with this woman (and this is Mother's Day, and I've taken a mother, this afternoon I spoke of the travailing prayer for motherhood, and I gave Hannah praying for Samuel, and we spoke of spiritual motherhood, travailing in prayer that souls should come into the Church), tonight I want to bring before us this mother pleading for her daughter. And finally, finally we see it in those wonderful words from the lips of Jesus Christ: “Woman, great is your faith. You can have anything you want.”
Wouldn't it be wonderful to have the Lord say to us tonight, men or women here:.“You have faith,a great faith. You can have anything that you want.” Wouldn't that be wonderful? Anything that you want; but my friends, great faith isn't born overnight. Now I'm not sure, as I read this lesson that that woman even knew that she had great faith. I believe that the only way that she knew that her faith was great, was as Christ pulled it out of her, you might say, in the tests that He put her through, and finally brought forth what He commended as great faith.
Now there are three things connected with this commendation of great faith that I wish to call your attention to in this lesson. First, I want to call your attention to the word: patience, patience. I said great faith was not born overnight. Do you know why many of us have not been commended by God for great faith? We haven't waited long enough. We've been too impatient. Now let me give you the lesson as I bring out this first point, then we'll go to the other two.
It says, after this woman came pleading for her daughter, who was grievously vexed with a demon, the next verse says: “But He answered her not a word.” Now Christ was never un-gracious. Christ was always kind, and tender, and gracious to penitent souls. This woman had a desperate need, probably an only child, and it seemed as if she came really believing that Christ would answer her plea and that through this Jesus, her daughter would be delivered. She came pleading for mercy. She called Him a son of David, and she plead for His mercy, and you would think, of course, that He would immediately respond, and answer, but I tell you, Christ saw in that woman what probably no human being could have seen. Christ saw a latent faith, a faith that must be developed, and so He made up His mind that He was going to bring that out. And you know there are certain things in us, we don't know what we're capable of.
We don't know, when we approach God, what He sees in us. I'm glad we're dealing with God, and not men, aren't you? I'm glad that the Word of God says that God seeth not as man seeth. Men, human beings, look at the outward appearance, but God looks at people's hearts. That's why we should be very slow to pass our opinions. We should be very very slow in passing our final judgment on anybody, because we don't know, we don't know what God is working out, but we are so prone to pass our opinions and judge people from the externals, and God never does. How many mistakes are made today because people don't know. They don't know, they see some things on the outside. They don't know what God is dealing with, and because we are so impatient with ourselves, and with others, that's why, many times, we make very little progress in our Christian development, and we make very little progress in our life of faith.
The Lord help us. I trust we'll get some lessons here tonight. I haven't been able to get anything else, and that's why I am bringing you this little lesson, concerning this mother, pleading for an afflicted child, and finally receiving the commendation of Jesus Christ that has remained all these years, whenever you read the Bible, there is a woman of great faith.
The silence of the Lord: “But He answered her not a word.” Not a word! Paid no attention to her. How it tries us... and then, not only did the Lord not answer a word, but the lesson tells us that the disciples, mistaking, misunderstanding this silence of the Lord... oh these wonderful disciples. Do you know many a person has cast away his or her faith because of disciples? If you're going to trust God to develop great faith in you, you'll have to get rid opinions of disciples. You'll have to overcome people's opinions! And that's what some folks can't overcome. These disciples, mind you, misunderstanding the attitude of the Lord, they didn't know what Jesus was working out. They didn't know what Christ saw in that woman! And so they looked at Him, they saw He was paying no attention to her. She's a crying, pleading, praying mother for her daughter. Christ answering her not a word. Looking on the outside as though He was perfectly [unaudible], and these Disciples, not knowing what the Lord saw in the woman, didn't know what He was working out; they had come along, and this is what they said: “Aw, send her away, for she crieth after us.” In other words, she's just a pest! She's pestering you, Lord. Send her away! You don't want to notice her.
And then, of course, we understand that the woman is a Gentile. She doesn't belong to the House of Israel. She's a Greek. And if she was at all super sensitive, this story would not be written, but she had something in her that made her stay under a tremendous, crucial test. She had a great faith. It wasn't fully developed. It was there, and it held her. It was an hour of test, but listen, the Word of God says: “The trying of your faith (the trying, the test, the testings of your faith. Why does God allow His People to be so tremendously tried under such peculiar circumstances and conditions? Why?) The trying of your faith worketh patience (worketh patience).” Listen to the Word of God as the Apostle, James, gives it to us. “But let (L-E-T. Oh, it's a little word, but it means so much!), but LET, LET PATIENCE have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
My friends, I want to thank God in my own life that He held me steady in that work of faith we're carrying on in East Providence. For we have had ample opportunity to get discouraged in the past. We've had ample opportunity to throw up our hands and wonder if God had gone out of the business, but I'm glad God can hold you steady in the time of a test, and after all, God is dealing with patience. Do you know we are very impatient creatures? We are so impatient with ourselves. We are impatient with God, and we are tremendously impatient with one another. Impatient! Can't wait, can't wait, for God's time to develop things! That's why we get in trouble. That's why we get in trouble. I am telling you, that is one lesson God has THUNDERED INTO MY SOUL! Let patience, LET, LET, LET patience have its perfect work. LET patience have its perfect work!
So many things are spoiled in the Word of God because people haven't got patience to wait for God. The Bible says they that wait for Him shall not be put to shame. Folks who wait. “Who is he that's in darkness?” says the Prophet Isaiah. And have no expression, and have no light? What should he do? Let him trust in the Lord, and stay, or wait upon His God. If you don't, you can go and kindle your own fire. So many of God's People, they come right up to a test... if God doesn't answer that prayer right away; if it looks as if God is silent; looks as if the Heaven is brass; hands thrown up: “I'm through.” Again, and again, and again: “I'm through.” Run away, because the battle is hot. Lose the very thing God was planning and God was working out. And, oh, this is for tonight. But I haven't been able to get away from this little story. And I said to the Lord, I said: “Lord, I've spoken from this before, but I'm going to obey you tonight. Make it sure to me that you want me to speak of this mother, and her pleading her prayer for her daughter.” And when Sister Brewer started to sing that song, and I said, “All right, that's enough for me.” Glory to God!
Patience, the trying of your faith is working patience, and God says in His Word: “Let patience have its perfect work.” Why, that woman could have been offended. Think of Disciples misunderstanding the silence of the Lord or send the woman away, she's a pest. I know you don't want to bother with her. That wasn't the case at all. Christ did want to bother with her! But He knew just how to draw out and bring out that which was latent in that woman.
If you're in here tonight, maybe you're tested so bad. Maybe you've been praying about a certain thing. It hasn't come to pass. You've gone and given up, gone and given up. I told a story, my students have heard it, different one's have heard it, it's mine, I tell it, of the way God tested me, when He gave me that Scripture about Zion, “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole Earth,” and called the work Zion; I'm telling you, when I got that Scripture, there wasn't one thing that I could say: “Well, that's beautiful.” Not a thing in sight. Thick thick heavy grass, that you had to plod through on the grounds. A house that hadn't seen paint for years, and an old tumbled down barn. That's all we had, and God said: “Beautiful.” People thought I was crazy, but God said it! And I walked around that house, and I walked in the grounds, and I looked at all that grass, and I looked at that old tumbled-down barn, and I looked at that house that hadn't seen paint for years, and I said: “This is all beautiful; beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.” Called it: beautiful, beautiful; and I'd hear the people, and they let me hear them, too, just like the Disciples that called that woman a pest, they let me hear them: “Is she crazy? Where does she see any beauty? What is she calling beautiful? There's nothing beautiful.” Of course there wasn't, but I wasn't looking at the natural.
DO YOU KNOW THAT GOD HAS A FAITH FOR US THAT CALLS THE THINGS THAT ARE NOT AS THOUGH THEY WERE? Because you believe God. Abraham believed God, and called himself “Father of many nations,” when the thing looked impossible. His wife was elderly. He was elderly. She was barren. Nature said: “Can't be done.” There was nothing in the natural to help Abraham, but God said: “I have made you a father of many nations.” GOD SAID IT! That was enough. “I have made you a father of many nations.” And Abraham considered not his own body or the deadness of his wife's womb. He didn't look at the natural. You know what's the trouble with us? We live to natural, we look to natural things, our eyes are on natural things, that's why God can't work. That's why God CAN'T WORK! Conditions, circumstances, on our way... God is looking, my friends, for a People that will dare to believe God. When GOD SAYS a thing is so, you come up and say it's so, because God says its so. Not because conditions and circumstances say its so; God said its so! Patience, patience: “let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” That's why God tries our faith, because He wants a People with a perfected patience!
We pray for folks, and if we don't get the answer right away, give it up, fade away, give it up, get discouraged, no good, and then we have no answer to give the people, and they say: “I thought you said God told you so and so.” “And yes, maybe I made a mistake. He did say it, but is hasn't come to pass.” Oh my God have mercy on us. WE'RE TYING THE HANDS OF GOD because of our lack of patience, because of our unbelief. God stir us up here tonight.
"SIRS,” SAID PAUL, when the storm was raging on the boat, “SIRS, I BELIEVE GOD! It shall be even as it was told me.” “But, Paul, what's the matter with you, the whole ship's going to pieces... “Sirs, that angel said: 'not a life would be lost!'” “But look, look at the circumstances, look at the conditions.” “I have nothing to do with that; the angel of God stood by me this night, and said, “Paul, all the people in this boat are going to land safely... Sirs, I believe God. It shall be even as it was told me... But don't try to get out of the boat. Stay; let the boat go down. Don't you run. (Bless God forever). Don't try to get out, let it go down; you believe God!” Every one of those people landed safely. Some on boards, some on broken pieces, but they all got to shore, bless God.
I am telling you, my friends, God is looking for a people that will dare to believe their God. When God speaks, they'll dare to believe it. God said it. I believe it. Patience...patience. There is one thing that is in a great faith, a great faith can have a tremendous test on the lines of patience and hold steady. The Disciples coming and saying: “Send the woman away, she's bothering you; she's a pest.” And I don't believe they said it quietly. I believe they said it loud enough so she could hear it, because they wanted her to hear it. But, listen to the next (Oh, I think this is wonderful), instead of getting offended, instead of getting discouraged, instead of listening to the words of those Disciples, the next verse tells us: “Jesus answered and said (after the Disciples said that), 'I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel.'” It seems as if He agreed with the Disciples. “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. She doesn't belong to the House of Israel. I'm not sent to her; she doesn't belong to the House of Israel.” The next verse: “Then, THEN, THEN (after those words were said), came she and worshiped Him, saying: “Lord, help me.”
Did you ever hear of anything like it? Yes. It's some of the ingredient that's contained in great faith. I tell you, you can't daunt great faith. What God's looking for: A people that'll have great faith. NO WONDER SHE WAS COMMENDED IN THE END FOR GREAT FAITH! After the Disciples said what they did, then Jesus turned around and said what He did, the woman came and fell down and worshiped Him... worshiped Him, saying: “Lord, help me.” Never daunted, never moved!
What's the second characteristic of a great faith? Devotion. You know, its a sad thing today that folks are devotional, so long as they're getting all they need and all they want. You'll find if God answers prayer for a certain people; they'll come into a meeting, they'll clap their hands, and they'll laugh and they'll have the greatest time, and they'll praise the Lord. Well anybody can do that. If I'm getting answers to my prayer all the time, and I have everything I need, and everybody speaking well of me, and I'm having everybody doing exactly what I think they should do... why, it don't take much faith to come in and have a jump and have a dance, and have a great old time. OF COURSE NOT! But let me tell you, it's a horse of another color; it's a different affair when you've been crying, and pleading, and praying, and God isn't answering your prayer, and disciples are saying unkind things, and every circumstance and every condition against you... and then come right in and worship; come right in and worship; come in and praise and worship.
The other day I was going through a test. Somebody came in my front room, they heard me singing. They said, “My, she must be happy.” Now I don't sing particularly when I'm happy; I sing a lot of times when I'm not happy (Sister Gibson laughs). I sing to wipe away the blues. I have to exercise my faith... and sing to drive away some of the thoughts that might come. I don't always sing because I'm happy, no, I sing because I know that when you begin to praise and sing, and have a time with the Lord, it'll lift you above natural things.
She came and worshiped (listen folks), that's what God's looking for: Devotion... Devotion. I said to a sister sitting beside me one time in a meeting, I said: “Why don't you praise the Lord?” [She said:] “I don't put on anything.” I said: “Well, you can put this on.” She said: “What do you mean?” “Well, [I] said the Bible calls it a garment of praise.” What do you do with a garment? You put it on, don't you? Don't you wear a garment? I said, “The Bible says: A Garment of Praise; why can't you put that on?” “Well, I only praise when I feel happy!” Poor Jesus, He wouldn't get much praise, if that's the only time you're going to praise.
Do you realize this? This woman hadn't been entreated; the Lord hadn't answered her; never a word. Do you realize what the Disciples said in her hearing? And do you realize what Jesus answered, that He was only sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel? All right now. It was time for that woman to go home, but instead of that, she drew near and worshiped Him... began to worship, saying: “Lord, help me.” Isn't it beautiful?
Let me give you another character, and the devil is in it. The devil thought he'd do so much to Job that Job would never have any confidence or faith in God. He accused Job to God. He had God remove that hedge so he could get at Job. What a thing (it's all right for us to read the Book of Job, that first and second chapter), but I want to tell you: Put you, and put me, and put any of us in the place of Job; it would be a different story. OVER NIGHT he lost everything he had, and he was a wealthy man, he was a wealthy man. He lost, not only all the material things, the wealth; he lost his family; he lost his children. His sons and his daughters were all killed. All right. Messenger after messenger came to Job and told him of the calamities that came, and you know, this is the thing that came on him when he was really serving God. The man couldn't find out what he had done. He had offered sacrifices for his sons, lest they might fail and do something when they got together. He was offering burnt offerings for them.
Job was never in a better place with God than when all that calamity came on him. You can't always say that calamity comes on people because they've done wrong. You know a lot of people are saying that. The moment anything happens: “Huh, I know why it happened!” “I tell you, if she was right with God, this thing never would have happened!” “If HE was right with God...” Who ever told you that? Job was in the best place. You know why I know Job was in a good place? Because God commanded it. God said to the devil: “Have you considered my servant, Job? A man that eschewed evil and fears Me, have you considered... you've been walking. Where have you come from, devil? Where have you come from, Satan?” “Walking to and fro throughout the whole Earth.” “Did you see My servant, Job?... My servant, Job: A man that fears Me, and shuns evil. Did you consider him?” “That's the very man I considered and I've come to bring something against him.” “You did?” “Yes.”
He says: “You think he's fearing you for nothing? Do you think all that devotion and affection that he's showing, do you think it's for naught? Do you think he really loves you for yourself? All the nice things you've given him... you haven't allowed me to touch Job for years. He has good health. He has a lovely family of boys and girls. Everything is beautiful. Why, he's the wealthiest man in the town. He's the wealthiest man in this country. Why wouldn't he serve you? Anybody could serve you when everything has been given to them.” “Oh, is that the way you look at it, Satan.” “Yes.” “What do you want me to do?” “Give me a chance at him. I'll prove to you...I'LL PROVE WHAT KIND OF A MAN YOU PUT YOUR CONFIDENCE IN. GIVE ME AN OPPORTUNITY AT THIS MAN. LET ME STRIP HIM, REMOVE THE HEDGE!” “All right,” He said, “Go to it. Only don't touch his life. Go to it.”
Now, Job didn't know that. Job wasn't taken into confidence and knew that all this thing had come on him by the devil. He was practically ignorant of the whole thing. But the test, he stood the BARE TEST... PROVED the devotion of the man. After the last messenger came and told him that his children were all gone; houses gone, oxen, cattle; everything gone. It says: “Job arose, and shaved, fell down, and worshiped God, and said, 'The LORD giveth, and the LORD taketh away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.' In all this, Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Isn't that a record? Isn't that a WONDERFUL THING? And then, here comes the test, when those wonderful friends of his (Oh, these wonderful friends that we have), now they're coming to visit him, and everyone of them have something to say concerning Job's life. You know, our friends know more about us than God does. I know they do. [Sister Gibson laughs] Our friends know more about us than God Almighty does. Sure, they think they do. They can solve your problems for you. They can tell how bad you are. They can tell that you're a hypocrite. They can tell all kinds of things. Our friends are no where around, and then calamity comes, and they're always “Johnny on the spot.” They help you out. Of course. Amen. They know all about it. They can solve the whole thing. You don't know what's happened, but they know it all. They know it all. That's Job's case. They can always tell by what's happening, and why it happened, and they know the whole affair. But, when all this happened, in the darkest hour; poor, perplexed, beaten, stripped Job says: “He looks like a murderer, but though He slay me, I'll trust Him.”
When the devil couldn't get at Job, he used his wife. Sure he did. He used his wife. Surely if you have somebody you love, and they're very near to you; if the devil can't get to you personally, he'll use somebody that's near to help him out; if that person is fool enough to lend an ear. That's the truth. The wife said: “Job, are you still going to hold fast your integrity. Is this the kind of God you're serving? What kind of a God is this? You mean to tell me you're going to be devoted to a God that's taken away our children, taken away your home, your land, all your property, all your riches, and now look, here you are. You're no good to me, nor anybody else.” For someone said he had smallpox probably; boils from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet. One boil is bad enough, but he had them all over. And there he is. The wife says: “Job, why don't you curse God and die? I have no use for you. You'd better die. Why in the world don't you curse God and die?” He says: “You talk like a foolish woman. Haven't we received good from the hand of the Lord all these years? Shouldn't we take some evil too?”
Do you know that the thing that held Job steady? He saw God in everything. Of course we know the Devil did it, but the Devil couldn't do it, only as God permitted. You know, the Devil can only go as far as God will let him. That's one consolation for us. Satan has to have the permission of God, before he can touch any of us, and if God permits him, then God is going to work out some glorious thing. We've seen the end of Job. We've seen God turn the tide. We have seen God working out His plan in giving Job more in the end than he had in the beginning. What an example! What a lesson for us in the Book of Job to trust and not be afraid! In all this, Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. DEVOTION! DEVOTION!
Oh, my friends, do you know that God Almighty was on trial? No, we always look at the Book of Job; Job was on trial, of course, but did you know that God Almighty was on trial? I'm telling you. Do you know God is so closely connected with His servants that when anything happens to us, God is on trial, too? Especially if God boasts about anybody. God had boasted about Job. God had said it to Satan: “Have you considered him.” He had told Satan what he thought of Job, and Satan had made up his mind that he would prove to God that Job wasn't what God thought he was. So, you see, God was on trial. If Job had had faith, and had cursed God, and had turned against God, then the Devil could go and taunt God, and say: “That's the man you trusted. You thought you knew him, but you didn't.” But, thank God, we have the story of Job. It's a marvelous story, and we have the end. The LORD is pitiful. We have the patience of Job. You know, Job stands, an outstanding character for patience: The patience of Job. He was tremendously tried on his patience. Going backward, going forward, going to the right, going to the... He couldn't find God. HE COULDN'T FIND GOD!!! If that isn't a trial of faith then I don't know. WHEN YOU CAN'T FIND GOD, but God was developing patience. God was letting patience have its perfect work, and isn't Job a blessing to us today? That Book has comforted many a soul. That Book has sustained many a person, because Job went through; and we see the end of the Lord, and we see what God did, we see how the tide was turned. What a wonderful blessing.
Oh, my friends, God is looking for men and women that He can trust; put you through tremendous testings. Devotion. If you have great faith, you can praise God when there's nothing to praise for. That's what God loves, when there's nothing to praise for, start praising God. When the cupboard is bare, when your money is gone, when the thing looks as dark as midnight; start praising God.
I had the Lord upbraid me once, when I was trusting for a certain thing on a financial line, and it wasn't coming in, and it looked critical, and I went back to God. He'd given me a promise and I had stood on it, but I went back and I said: “Oh, my God, the thing looks worse. Won't you give me another promise. “Lord, let me get a promise” was the very same in the French translation. “Throw all your anxiety upon the Lord, for He, Himself, cares for you.” He had given me the first promise: “Cast your care upon Me. I care for you.” And then I went back, “Oh, God,” I said, “but it doesn't come, and I've cast my care; and then the Lord gave me that second promise: “Throw all of your anxiety upon your God, for He, Himself, cares for you.” Oh, I was so ashamed. I said: “God, have mercy on me, I'm getting so anxious. Please forgive me. The Lord says: “Can you go in the meeting and have a good time, and leave that matter with Me.” I did. I went in that meeting and I had a wonderful time. WE HAD A WONDERFUL TIME THAT NIGHT! The thing hadn't changed, but before the next day, the answer had come. I had to praise. I had to take God at His Word. The thing looked as DARK AS MIDNIGHT, but when I had praised, and when I began to thank God, God worked. All that night, all that night. When those Israelites were trembling, a Red Sea in front, and Pharaoh and his hosts behind, ALL THAT NIGHT, God was working. You ever went through a dark night? You ever been through a dark night, sister or brother? “All that night,” our God is working. Amen. Amen. Don't throw away your confidence. Don't throw away your devotion. God's trying you so He can commend you for great faith.
Last, but not least, this little story. I think its a wonderful story and I think its a wonderful story for a “Mothers Day.” Praise God forever! Let me read on. After that woman was devoted enough to come and worship the Lord, now wouldn't you think that when she fell down and worshiped him, and said: “Lord help me,” wouldn't you think that He would've helped her right away? No, the test was not completed. Yet one more characteristic of great faith that Jesus had to test her on, and tested her on her humility. You know why we fail God we're not humble. This humble pie we don't want. We're too proud. (Sister Gibson chuckles) Do you remember the words of Jesus in the day of the Disciples. He said, “Learn of Me, learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, you shall find rest for your soul.” We're not humble. We don't like to be humiliated. [There's] something in human nature that hates to eat humble pie, hates to be humiliated.
That was her last test before the commendation, listen to it: “Then came she and worshiped Him saying, 'Lord help me.'” Now listen to His answer: “But He answered and said, 'it is not meet (it is not right, it is not worthy, it is not legal) to take the children's bread and cast it to dogs.'” Wooh, isn't that awful. Call me a dog, call me a dog. Now dogs in the Scripture are spoken of as unclean animals. Never mind how much you pet them up, the Bible says they are unclean. Yes it does! [It] calls them unclean animals: “...that without are dogs,” and it calls them unclean. Oh yes, and He called her a dog, a Gentile dog, and Commentators tell us that maybe Christ had every reason to call her an unclean person, because the country, the place she came from, was a very immoral place. And some Commentators said, the very daughter was filled with the devil, that she was pleading for, was the child of a life of the unclean. [It] might be true, but you know, I don't care where we come from, what our sins are, we don't want to be humiliated before people. It's something in our nature, and this seemed a terrible thing, but Christ knew that He could put that woman to the limit and that she wouldn't fail. “It isn't right, woman, it isn't legal, it isn't lawful for Me to take children's bread and throw it to dogs. That's what your asking for. Healing is children's bread, and that's what your coming for. I can't give it to an unclean person! I can't throw it to a dog!” Wasn't that awful? My, if she was like some folks I know: “You'll never call me a dog again, you'll never see me again, [if you] call me a dog.” Oh, we get so provoked, you know folks do get mad with God. Yes they do. They can't stand the testings. They can't stand God's methods, can't stand God's ways of dealing... get very provoked with God. Oh yes, but not this story, not this story. Listen to her words, that proves to me that she had humility. She was humble enough to accept it.
Listen to her answer. Oh, how wonderful: “But she answered and said, 'Truth Lord,' and she said, 'Truth Lord. You haven't lied. I am a dog. Yes, dogs shouldn't sit at the Master's table. Dogs shouldn't have children's food. Truth Lord, but Lord, yet the dogs... (and they tell us in the Greek, this second dog is spoken of as a little puppy, so that we might say, “yet the little puppies eat of the crumbs which fall from their Master's table), Truth Lord. I do not ask for children's bread. I'll take the place of a little puppy. I'll crawl under the table, and like a little puppy, I will open my mouth, and you can throw the crumbs, the leavings as it were, the LEAVINGS from the table. After the children have eaten, give me a crumb, and a crumb will do the work from your hands... take the place of a little puppy. Ill be a dog Lord, I'll be a dog, you have spoken the truth, but I'll get under the table. I'll take a dogs place.” But let me tell you, she didn't get a dog's place, SHE GOT CHILDRENS BREAD! SHE DIDN'T GET A DOG'S PLACE! She got the most wonderful commendation from the Lord! That was as FAR AS HE COULD TEST HER! He tested her on her patience; she came out. He tested her on her devotion; she came out on top. He tested her on her humility; she didn't fail. The supreme test was the test of humility. Dear God, this is wonderful... couldn't go any further, couldn't go any further, and then Jesus said, answered and said unto her: “O woman, great is thy faith; you have great faith; you didn't fail on your first test, on your patience. I tested you severely on the lines of patience; you were alright. I tested you on your devotion, you were alright. Now, I have tested you on your humility; you're alright. Woman, you've got a great faith. Only a great faith could have stood such a severe test. Be it unto thee, even as thou wilt.” “And her daughter was made whole that very hour.” She got exactly what she went for.
My friends, this is a wonderful little story. It's left on record, I believe, in the Bible for our benefit. I believe Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever is waiting to commend His People concerning their faith, if He can find a people, who will let Him develop that faith until He can bring them to a great faith. You know its going to take a great faith to accomplish things in the day in which we live. Are we willing for the test? Are you willing, am I willing to enter into the school of faith? Its a school; its a school. Are we willing to enter into a school of faith, [and] let God put us through some tremendous testings, to develop a faith that He can commend? He is looking for a people of faith. The cry of our Christ was: “When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith (at all) on the Earth? Is He going to find people that are really trusting Him? You know we are living in an awful day. People are throwing away their faith again and again. It's quite rare to find people that have strong faith in God in these days. It's rare. It's RARE. You can't find them on any line, whether its for the spiritual or the physical or the material. They cant wait God's time. They can't trust God. They've got to find a way of escape. They can't wait for God. People are failing God on every line today... failing, failing, failing. What's their trouble? Lack of faith; lack of faith. We get so scared when something happens, if God doesn't come along right away. Lord help us. I believe God is speaking to all our hearts. We're afraid; we're scared to launch out, cut away shore lines and launch out into a life of believing trust; trust God; trust God; wait for God; let Him put us through; let Him, and yet not throw away our confidence. The Bible says that if we don't throw away our confidence, there is going to be a great recompense of reward. Pay day is coming. God will always honor faith. God will always honor faith. I have seen Him honor faith in our work, but I know we are in very perilous days, I know that, and I know that things are going to get harder, and harder, and more severe on us; and people are going to fail God in this line of faith. I know that, but yet I believe God is looking for men and women that He can commend. If He could commend that man that came about his servant, that centurian, surely He can commend some man that's trusted Him. If He can commend this Gentile woman that came for her daughter, surely He can commend anyone that would dare to trust Him.
Now, that's the lesson that God laid on my heart for this night, and I know that no lesson is in vain. I couldn't get anything else tonight. I said, “God, what do you want for these people tonight? What do you want me to give?” And that's all the lesson that I could get from God to bring you tonight. Are we going to let God commend us? Are we willing to let God put us through the test, the test of patience, and devotion, and humility? I'm telling you, He's looking for folks that will let Him. If we let God have His way in our lives in the coming days, I am sure the very same commendation that He gave that woman, He'll give to us. “O woman” or “O man, great is thy faith, be unto thee even as thou wilt.”
Shall we bow our hearts before God. Oh God, I don't know many of these folks in here tonight, but Lord thou knowest the people. I know that we are in the last of the last days. I know we are in perilous times, and I know Lord, I know that your people are being tremendously pressed; tremendously tried. Lord, I pray that this lesson may sink deep into all of our hearts. God help me. God help my brothers and my sisters in this testing day; this hour of darkness, just prior to Thy coming again. Oh God, take us through at any cost. Speak to hearts here tonight. There might be somebody that's being weighed in the balances and found wanting. Lord speak to them. Oh God, if there are those in here tonight who are at the crossroads of [their] Christian experience; they are almost ready to throw away their confidence and give up everything. Lord, I pray that You hold them steady tonight. Help somebody to come back to You if there is a backslider here, Oh my God, if there is anybody in here that needs help, Dear Jesus, will You help them? If somebody has lost patience, Oh my God, help them, bring them back into the life of patience to wait for Thee. If somebody has given up their devotion; they're not praising You anymore, Oh my Lord, bring back the praises in their lives; and if there is somebody letting pride swallow them up, and they are not as humble as they should [be], Oh God, let this lesson speak to them, and let humility be a virtue that will crown us this very night... (inaudible). We want to hear Thy sweet commendation. We want to hear those words: “Great is thy faith, you can have what you want.” Oh Lord, let not these inspired words return void tonight, but let this message accomplish that whereunto Thou art pleased to send it, and let us have some results. We'll give You the praise; we'll give You the honor; we'll give You the glory; in Jesus' name. Amen.