I'm a daughter, granddaughter & niece of pastors. I love God & studying the Bible and want to empower others to do the same.
Pets love unconditionally, loyally, without question, and for this I am grateful, and for each one I have owned. They are quick to forgive when we accidentally step on them. They are emotionally intelligent and sensitive. They jump or run in delight whenever we are excited, even if they don’t know or can’t understand the reason; they’re just happy we are. They comfort us or are calmer and gentler with us when we sorrow. I once had a rabbit who let me put my face against her side on her soft fur when I needed to cry. They trust us completely to provide and care for and love them. All they ask for is basic needs and our attention.
In medieval paintings, dogs represented loyalty and fidelity (in marriage). Loyalty is still one of the words that come to mind when we think of dogs in a modern sense. They look to us for food, for shelter, for attention, for comfort, for help.
In ancient times, dogs were mongrels, scavengers, wild. They were rarely revered as pets or allowed in homes. Sometimes they were feared. They ate scraps off tables, between houses, in the streets. An interesting illustration happens in the New Testament between Jesus and a Gentile (non-Jewish) woman, a group considered lesser by the Jews, who were and still God’s chosen people, though now, through Jesus’ blood sacrifice, all people can come to Him as Savior and Lord, and people from every race and nation have been called by Him.
Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. -Matthew 15:21-28
It may seem to a modern reader as if Jesus is callused and thinks of her as beneath him, equating her with a dog. And while God Himself in the fleshly form of Jesus has every right to see a human as lesser than His all-powerful Lordship, this is not the heart of Jesus. He is omniscient, all-knowing, and has known this woman since birth. He already knows her faith and what her response to Him will be. So he sets up the illustration in asking her this question, in front of at least the disciple Matthew, the author of this story, as well as in front of the other disciples who also include it in their accounts, and probably more people as well. So what Jesus speaks is for their benefit and ours as well, for all who will read this account.
Jesus knows what we learn from reading this, that this woman has both great faith, and great humility. Humility before almighty God means knowing that He is the Master of the table, the owner of the food we eat, and the giver of it. He is the compassionate Giver of all things. We are beggars, and even less, we are foolish, unwise animals, like lost sheep who have gone astray. Like wild animals “gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts” (Eph. 2:3), our natural impulses, before God comes into our hearts and makes us new in our thinking, our desires, our habits, our motives.
Dogs think about what they want now and seek to get it. Wild dogs are only concerned about surviving today. Do we not as humans also naturally seek to satisfy our cravings, chasing after our comforts, whining and begging for what we want, or taking what we believe we are entitled to? Is that not half of the crime’s motives in the world? Compared to the all-wise, all-knowing, all-comprehending, all powerful Provider and Creator of the entire universe and all that is within, from its systems to weather, math and science, everything was made by Him and comes from Him—in comparison to all this, are we not all mere dogs begging at the Master’s table, for food that comes from Him, for comfort, for petting, for attention, for healing, for fulfillment, for purpose, for love? And this woman knows this. She is humble, and recognizes Jesus is God and Lord, and she is a mere dog begging for help. And He gives it, because of her faith in Who He is. She knows Him, and He has known her all her life. He knows her humility in recognizing that He is the only One who can help with her problem. She goes to Him in humility, in faith that He is powerful enough to create and wise enough to know the solution, loving enough to give it, and He does. Because that’s why Jesus was born and died. To help us.
“For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly... God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:6,8 BSB
He did for us what we couldn’t. He saved us, and clothed us in His own righteousness. All we have to do is ask. We don’t have the power or righteousness to save, but He does, and He did it. We are dogs looking to the Master for food, for shelter, for attention, for comfort, for help, and for unconditional love. And if we ask Him, He will give us everything we need, will show us exactly what He wants us to do, will reveal the solution and be the help we need. Because He loves us unconditionally. He did already before we were born. God loves each of us more than any of us ever have or will love our pets, or children, or families, or spouses, more than all the unconditional love our pets give back, more than all the love in the world combined, God loves us.
For more verses about this, read: Romans chapters 5, 8.
© 2021 Amanda Lorenzo