Mark 7-8, Psalm 98
When the Word of God seems to be in conflict with the character of God, our interpretation of His Word must be wrong. God's character is immutable or never changing. He is always all loving, all fair, all caring. Therefore all of Scripture must be interpreted through that lens.
In Mark 7:24-30, we read of the account of the Gentile woman who falls at the feet of Jesus and asks Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. Jesus responds in verse 27 by saying, "Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." Unlike how the Pharisees spoke of Gentile dogs using the term for scavenger dogs, the Greek word chosen hear refers to little puppies. Jesus' response, resulted from her, more than an expression of faith to heal her daughter but also to develop a relationship with Him. In addition it served as an example of faith to His disciples, who if you read the account in Matthew 15:21-28 were urging Jesus to send her away. Her example also explains why our prayers are not often answered immediately. He is allowing us to discover true faith, perseverance that will not only help us in our present situation, but into eternity. Another difficult passage which seems to trip up people, is Luke 14:26, which says, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." This portion of Luke mirrors Mark 8:34-38. The word hate is better rendered to love less. Jesus is not telling us to hate others, but our love for Him must supersede all other relationships. He goes on to explain how we must empty ourselves of everything that hinders our ability to follow Him.
Many prefer the God of the New Testament to the God of the Old Testament saying the former one is full of wrath but the New Testament One is full of love. He is the same God and never changes. When we put our trust in Him we are trusting on solid rock. Jesus says in Matthew 7:24-25, "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded in the rock." As we continue on in His Word may we empty ourselves of everything which hinders our walk knowing that we have in Jesus, someone much greater than anything we are afraid to let go of. He will never leave us or forsake us. May we empty ourselves so that we can be empty vessels able to be filled and used by His Holy Spirit.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: