TEXT: Mathew 15:21-28
And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 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.” 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.
- THE CANAANITE WOMAN PUSHED THE CLOSED DOOR
The address of the woman of Canaan to Christ (Mt 15:22-28) is a good case study of a closed, but not locked door. She was a Gentile, a stranger to the commonwealth of Israel; probably one of the posterity of those accursed nations that were denoted by that word, “Cursed be Canaan.” Her address was very importunate. She cried to Christ as one who is distressed. She cried from a distance from Him, not daring to approach too near, being a Canaanite, lest she should give offence.
- She relates her misery: “My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” That is, she is ill-bewitched, or possessed.
- She requests for mercy; “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!” In calling Him Lord, the Son of David, she owns Him to be the Messiah:
- Her petition is: “Have mercy on me.” She does not limit Christ to this or that particular instance of mercy, but mercy. Mercy is the thing she begs: she pleadsnot merit, but depends upon mercy; “Have mercy on me.”
- The discouragement she met with in this address, in all the story of Christ’s ministry, we do not meet with the like.
- Now, note the closed door:
- First. When she cried after him, “he answered her not a word.” But Christ knew what He did, and therefore did not answer, that she might be the more earnest in prayer. He heard her, and was pleased with her, and strengthened her with strength in her soul to prosecute her request (Ps 138:3; Job 23:6), though He did not immediately give her the answer she expected. By seeming to draw away the desired mercy from her, He drew her on to be so much the more importunate (persistent and annoyingly pressing) for it.
Note: Every accepted prayer is not immediately an answered prayer. Sometimes, God seems not to regard His people’s prayers, like a man asleep or astonished (Ps 44:23; Jer 14:9 Ps 22:1,2); nor to be angry at them (Ps 80:4; La 3:8,44); but by delay He makes them prove, and improve their faith. By this He makes His after-appearances for them the more glorious.
- Second. When the disciples spoke some words to Him about her, He gave a reason why He refused her, which was yet more discouraging: “Send her away,for shecries out after us.” That means, she is troublesome to us, and shames us.”
- Third. “I am not sent, except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Note: Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”vrs 25). The door was firmly closed against her, but she pushed!
- She improved in her prayer. Instead of blaming Christ, or charging him with unkindness, she seems rather to suspect herself, and lay the fault upon herself. She might have thought that in her first address, she had not been humble and reverent enough, and therefore now she came, and worshipped him, and paid him more respect than she had done. She might have feared that she had not been earnest enough, and therefore now she cries, “Lord, help me.”
- Fourth. “But He answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children’s breadand throw it to the little dogs.’” When she continued her importunity, Jesus insisted on her unfitness and gave her not only a repulse, but a seeming reproach, too. This seems to cut her off from all hope, and might have driven her to despair, if she had not had a very strong faith indeed.
- This Canaanite woman’s door was firmly closed at this moment, but notlocked! She might have said, “Is this the Son of David?””Is this He that has such a reputation for kindness, tenderness, and compassion? I am sure I have no reason to give Him that character, for I was never treated so roughly in my life; He might have done as much for me as for others; or, if not, He needed not to have set me with the dogs of His flock. I am not a dog, I am a woman, and an honest woman, and a woman in misery; and I am sure He does not mean to call me dog.”
- Yes, The Door Was Closed! But She Pushed! She breaks through all these discouragements. She continued to pray. What Christ said, silenced the disciples; for we hear no more of them; they took the answer, but the woman did not. Note: The more sensibly we feel the burden, the more resolutely we should pray for the removal of it. And it is the will of God that we should continue instant in prayer; that we should always pray, and not faint.
Note: When the answers of prayers are deferred, God is thereby teaching us to pray more, and pray better. It is then time to enquire wherein we have come short in our former prayers, that what has been amiss may be amended for the future. Disappointments in the success of prayer must be excitements to theduty of prayer. Christ, in his agony, prayed more earnestly.
- She might have said to herself, “Truth, Lord; I cannot deny it; I am a dog, and have no right to the children’s bread.”
- Her improvement of request into a plea was very ingenious: And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from theirmasters’ table.” It was by a singular acumen, and spiritual quickness and sagacity, that she discerned matter of argument in that which looked like a slight.
- Her humility and necessity made her glad of crumbs. Those who are conscious to themselves that they deserve nothing will be thankful for anything.
- Her faith encouraged her to expect these crumbs. She calls it their master’s table; if she were a dog, she was his dog, and it cannot be ill with us, if we stand but in the meanest relation to Christ.
- Her persistent pushing of the door with strength and faith paid off. The door opened! Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is yourfaith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
- ISAAC, SON OF ABRAHAM PUSHED THE CLOSED DOOR
As a result of famine Isaac went to live in Gerar with Abimelech, the king of the Philistines. Isaac became prosperous and the people of the land “envied him.” Consequently, hatred manifested and thrived against him. Gen 26: 1-22
- First: Isaac was asked to leave the land, and he did. Door of his prosperity closed? Vrs 16.
- Second: “Then Isaac departed from there and pitched his tent in the Valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them.” Vrs 17 & 18.
- Third: “Also Isaac’s servants dug in the valley, and found a well of running water there. But the herdsmen of Gerar quarrelled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they quarrelled with him.” Vrs 19& 20.Door Closed.
- Fourth: Isaac continued to push the door. “Then they dug another well, and they quarrelled over that one also. So he called its name Sitnah.” Vrs 21.
- Fifth: Isaac pushed further and The Door Opened. “And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, because he said, “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”Vrs 22
- MOSES’ HANDS WERE PUSHED AND WEIGHED WITH STONE FOR ISRAEL TO DEFEAT THE AMALEK
“Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.”Exo 17:8-9
- And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
- In order to achieve victory Israelites had to PUSH! Aaron and Hur put a stone under Moses’ hands, because it was heavy, to support them. “But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.” Vrs 12.
- Because of the extra push Israel defeated Amalek.
- HANNAH DID NOT RELENT IN HER PRAYERS FOR CHILDREN
Hannah pushed the door continually through prayers. And the doors for six children were opened for her (I Sam 1&2). “And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the LORD.” I Sam 2:22.
- ELISHA ENDURED AND PUSHED AND RECEIVED DOUBLE PORTION
Prophet Elisha did not leave his master, Elijah, even when his master told him, four times, not to accompany him on his journey. Elisha pushed and eventually received double portion of Elijah’s miraculous gifts.
- PROPHET JERIMAIH PUSHED AND PUSHED AND WAS CALLED “THE WEEPING PROPHET”
- He was called by God 1:6-8
- He was rejected by his neighbours 11:19-21
- He was rejected by his family. 12:6
- He was rejected by false prophets and priests. 20:1-2
- He was rejected by friends. 20:10.
- He was rejected by his audience. 26:8.
- He was rejected by kings. 36:28.
- He was confined to the courtyard of the palace. 32:3.
- He bought a field. 32:9.
- His scrolls were taken from him and burned. 36:27.
- He rewrote the scrolls. 36:32.
- He was taken captive to Babylon. 40:1.
- He was taken captive and sent to Egypt. 43:4.
It was not one door that was closed against Prophet Jeremiah, but many. Notice that he pushed through and opened all the doors!
- SOME GREAT MEN AND WOMEN WHO PUSHED AND OPENED THE DOOR
- James Watt, in 1765, invented the first modern steam engine.
- Nicolas JozephCugnot, a French mechanic, built the first self-propelled road vehicle in 1769.
- Karl Benz, a German, built the world first practical automobile powered by an internal combustion engine (petrol engine vehicle).
- A Chinese, CaiLun, invented the paper
- Galilio invented the telescope
- A Scottish physician & chemist, William Culhen invented the refrigerator
- Alexander Fleming, in 1928, discovered the Penicillin (antibiotics)
- Michael Faraday discovered electricity
- American inventors, the Wright Brothers invented the aircraft
- A Scottish inventor, Kirkpatrick, invented the bicycle
- An American, Edwin Drake produced the petrol in 1859
- Johannes Guttenberg, a German, invented the printing press in 1450
- An Italian, G. Marconi, invented the radio in 1895
- An American physicist, Nikola Tesla, invented the fluorescent bulb
- Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone
- KonradZuse built the first programmed computer
- Internet first protocol was in 1982.
- In 1990 Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web (www), the first internet web browser.
None of these people achieved success at first trial. They struggled against closed doors until the doors opened!
- THAT DOOR THAT YOU SEE CLOSED IS NOT LOCKED, PUSH AND IT SHALL OPEN HENCEFORTH.
- When the devil whispers in your ear that you are not strong enough to withstand the storm, that the door is closed against you, whisper to the devil that “you are the storm.”
- A smooth sea never make a skilled sailor
- Unless you do something beyond what you are doing now you will never grow
- You can’t get your head above water if you never stick out you neck
- Winners never quit, quitters never win
- As you push the door, admit your mistakes. He who defends his faults and errors has no intention of quitting them.
- While pushing the door, expect criticism and antagonism. Note that nothing significant has ever been accomplished without controversy, antagonism and criticism
- Never mind whom you praise, but be careful of whom you blame
- Do something and push, even if you make mistakes. A life spent making mistakes is more useful than a life spent doing nothing
- It is better to push the closed door than to stand aloof or sit on the fence
- Notice the difference between when a man says, “I failed three times, and when a man says to himself, I am a failure.” Failure is a situation, not a person, Push and the door will open
- The greatest enemy that can prevent you from pushing the door is “fear.” When fear holds the door let faith push it open
- When fear comes to your house, do not give him seat, if you do so he will not depart
- Wise men talk less, but fools talk more. When you are pushing the door, concentrate your energy and talk less. Talk less of you plans, show your result instead.
- Do not cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.
- The road to success is always under construction
- Push the door and it will open. Know that when you are kicked from behind, it means you are out in front.
PUSH THE CLOSED DOOR, IT IS NOT LOCKED, IT WILL OPEN FOR YOU!
Ojota Church Of Christ,
77, Olatunji Street,
Ojota – Lagos.
UYO TOWN CHURCH OF CHRIST, 20 PAUL BASSEY STREET, UYO
SERMON DELIVERED BY BRO. BOKIME BASSEY ON 18TH AUGUST, 2019