Inspiration – What Shall We Render Unto the Lord?

The Lord Jesus Christ came to our world as a helpless babe. He was born in Bethlehem, and the angel announced to the shepherds as they watched over their flocks by night, ‘Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’

“The Redeemer of the world might have come attended by ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of angels; but instead of this He clothed his divinity with humanity, made Himself of no reputation, took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels, but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. For it became Him for whom are all things, and by whom all things consist, in bringing many sons and daughters unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all one, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.

“Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, submitted to humiliation that we might have hope. For our sake He became poor, that through His merits we might be entitled to imperishable riches. Shall not the story of Christ’s self-denial and self-sacrifice for our sakes, lead us to pour contempt on all our pride and selfishness? The Son of God could make nothing of the human family, save as He submitted to humiliation, and through suffering came in contact with suffering humanity. It was through unutterable woe that Jesus came to reach lost man where he is plunged in sin and degradation. Let us contemplate the life, nature, and purpose of the King of glory. Let us look upon the Majesty of heaven as He shrouded His glory in the form of a child, and was cradled in a manger. But though He was so lowly born, so humbly circumstanced, angels bowed in adoration before the Babe of Bethlehem, without forfeiting their place in the courts of God or marring their allegiance to the Deity.

“The Babe of Bethlehem, though the King of glory, was not entrusted to wealthy parents. His was a lowly lot. When presented in the temple, His parents could not offer anything but the offering of the poor,—a pair of turtle doves or young pigeons. This offering was made in behalf of the child Jesus; yet when Simeon took Him in his arms, the Holy Spirit fell upon him, and he knew the Lord’s Anointed, and he blessed God, and said, ‘Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.’

“His divinity veiled in humanity, Jesus grew up as a child, and it is written of Him that ‘the child grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.’ At twelve years of age He accompanied His parents to Jerusalem to attend the feast, and, forgetful of their charge, they returned, not missing the child Jesus, who had tarried in the city. ‘But they, supposing Him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found Him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking Him.’ After three days of sorrowful searching, they found Jesus in the temple, sitting among the doctors both hearing and asking them questions. ‘And all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. And when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said unto Him, Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? Behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said unto them, How is it that ye sought Me? wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?…And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.…And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.’

“The story of the birth and childhood of Jesus never loses its fragrance and interest, and it should be often repeated to the children and youth. Jesus was ever in sympathy with all phases of the life of childhood and youth. When the mothers brought their children that Jesus might place His hands upon their heads and bless them, the disciples looked with disfavor upon the tired mothers and their little ones, and sternly forbade them to come to Jesus to trouble Him with so unimportant a matter; but Jesus did not look upon them with disapprobation. His compassionate voice was heard saying, ‘Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’ He took the children in His arms, and blessed them, and spoke words of encouragement and sympathy to the mothers, and both mothers and children returned to their homes strengthened and blessed by the divine love of the Master. They loved Jesus, and often repeated to others the story of their visit. They told how the disciples had forbidden them, but how the Lord had had compassion upon them.

“The story of Jesus blessing the children should encourage all mothers to seek the Lord, and bring their little ones to Him. He is as verily a personal Saviour today as He was in the days when He walked a man among men. He is as verily the helper of mothers today as He was when He gathered the children to His breast in Judea. He identifies His interest with that of suffering humanity, and the children of our hearths are as much the purchase of His blood today as were the children of long ago. The Lord will give to the praying mother the wisdom and grace she needs to instruct and interest her little ones in the precious old story of the babe born in Bethlehem, who is indeed the hope of the world.

“Jesus is our Saviour, our Redeemer, our wisdom, our sanctification, our righteousness. Let mothers make it their first interest to teach their children of the great love wherewith God has loved us, that led Him to give His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. It is the first duty of parents to make the precious truths of salvation very plain and simple and attractive to their children. They should ever seek for the best way in which to lead their children to trust in Jesus as their personal Saviour, to love Him, to deny self for His sake, and to do good to those around them in His name. The first precept from their earliest years should be, Give your heart to Jesus; live to please Him. Do not live simply to amuse and gratify yourself; but live to honor Jesus, who has loved you, and given Himself for you. Were parents in earnest in thus educating their little ones, there would be a great company of children in the army of the Lord. They would then make sacrifices for Jesus’ sake, and desire to give, not only their little gifts of love, but their whole hearts to Jesus.

“We should bring gifts to Jesus, as did the wise men when they found the Lord of glory. They had been studying the prophecies, and they knew that the time was fulfilled, and that Jesus had come to be the Saviour of men. Guided by a star, they journeyed to Jerusalem, and all along the way they were inquiring, ‘Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.’ ‘And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him; and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.’

“The wise men have left us an example of what we should do. Jesus should be the object of our adoration, the recipient of our gifts. It is not man, but our Redeemer, that should be honored. To Him we should offer our praise and gifts and treasures; but instead of this, the world sets its treasures flowing in the channel of self-gratification, and to the honor of men. Christmas gifts are bestowed on our children, on our friends and relatives, and few think of what they can do to show their love and gratitude to God for His great love and compassion upon them.

“In celebrating Christmas, fathers, mothers, children, and friends are diverted from the great object to which the custom is attributed. They give their whole attention to the bestowal of gifts upon one another, and their minds are turned away from the contemplation of the Source of all their blessings both spiritual and temporal. In their attention to gifts and honors bestowed upon themselves or their friends, Jesus is unhonored and forgotten. Parents should seek to teach their children to honor Jesus. They should be instructed how He came to the world to bring light, to shine amid the moral darkness of the world. They should be impressed with the fact that ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’

“We are dependent upon Christ for both spiritual and temporal blessings, we should especially remember the world’s Redeemer, on those days in which others forget Him in pleasing one another, in festivity and careless mirth. We should show special honor to Him in whom our hope of eternal life is centered. Through all the year parents should be educating their children as to how they may honor Jesus in their gifts. They should instruct them that Christ came to the world to save perishing sinners, and that instead of spending money for needless ornaments, for candies and knick-knacks to gratify the taste, they should deny themselves for Christ’s sake, that they may offer to Him an expression of their love. The theme of Christ’s amazing love can be so presented to your children that the little ones will be lost in wonder and love, and their hearts will be melted at the story of Calvary. Tell the children and youth that Jesus died to save them, that He wants them to give to Him their young lives that they may be His obedient children, and be saved from ruin.

“Christ will be pleased to see that the children and the youth, whom He loves, also love Him, and He will accept their gifts and offerings to be used in His cause. From the denial of self in children and youth, many little streams may flow into the treasury of the Lord, and missionaries may be sent out through their gifts to bring light to the heathen, who bow down to gods of wood and stone. Home missionaries also may be assisted, and there are poor who are suffering and needy, who may be blessed with the gifts of the children. Christ identifies His interest with that of His children. He says, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.’

“Brethren and sisters, what are you going to bring to Jesus as an offering of love? What will you render unto the Lord for all His benefits? Will you show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, or will you devote your time and money to self and to pleasure seeking, as though self were the great object of attraction? O, may the coming Christmas be the best one you have ever enjoyed, because you have brought gifts to Jesus, and given yourselves and your all without reservation to Him who has given all for you.”

The Bible Echo, December 15, 1892.

Bible Study Guides – Lessons from Book of Joshua – The Blessings and the Curses

February 9 – February 15, 2020

Key Text

“There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them” (Joshua 8:35).

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 499–504.


“Only as a reverence for God’s Holy Word was cherished in the hearts of the people, could they hope to fulfill the divine purpose.” Prophets and Kings, 465, 466.



  • What choice did the Lord set before His people at the border of the promised land, and what can we learn from this? Deuteronomy 11:26–28.

Note: “Obedience is required; and unless you obey you will stand on worse than neutral ground. Unless you are favored with the blessing of God you have His curse. He requires you to be willing and obedient, and says that you shall eat the good of the land. A bitter curse is pronounced on those who come not to the help of the Lord.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 166.

  • What two mountains were selected for the pronouncement of the blessings and curses? Deuteronomy 11:29. How were the tribes of Israel divided for this sacred duty? Deuteronomy 27:11–13.

Note: “Ebal and Gerizim, upon opposite sides of the valley, nearly approach each other, their lower spurs seeming to form a natural pulpit, every word spoken on one being distinctly audible on the other, while the mountainsides, receding, afford space for a vast assemblage.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 500.



  • What command regarding Mount Ebal had been given through Moses, to be performed when the people would pass over Jordan? Deuteronomy 27:2–8.
  • What else was to be done for the purpose of fixing the law in the minds of the people? Deuteronomy 6:6–9; 31:19–22.

Note: “In the days of the wilderness wandering the Lord had made abundant provision for His children to keep in remembrance the words of His law. After the settlement in Canaan the divine precepts were to be repeated daily in every home; they were to be written plainly upon the doorposts and gates, and spread upon memorial tablets. They were to be set to music and chanted by young and old. Priests were to teach these holy precepts in public assemblies, and the rulers of the land were to make them their daily study. ‘Meditate therein day and night,’ the Lord commanded Joshua concerning the book of the law, ‘that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success’ (Joshua 1:8).” Prophets and Kings, 464, 465.

  • What benefit do we, too, gain from memorizing God’s law and meditating on the promises and warnings found in His Word? Psalm 119:11.

Note: “Several times each day precious, golden moments should be consecrated to prayer and the study of the Scriptures, if it is only to commit a text to memory, that spiritual life may exist in the soul. …

“The mind must be restrained and not allowed to wander. It should be trained to dwell upon the scriptures; even whole chapters may be committed to memory, to be repeated when Satan comes with his temptations. Even while you are walking on the streets, you may read a passage and meditate upon it, thus fixing it in your mind, and God will flash the knowledge obtained into the memory at the very time when it is needed.” The West Michigan Herald, October 26, 1904.



  • How did Joshua carry out the instructions that had been given through Moses with regard to Mount Ebal? Joshua 8:30–32.

Note: “According to the directions given by Moses, a monument of great stones was erected upon Mount Ebal. Upon these stones, previously prepared by a covering of plaster, the law was inscribed—not only the ten precepts spoken from Sinai and engraved on the tables of stone, but the laws communicated to Moses, and by him written in a book. Beside this monument was built an altar of unhewn stone, upon which sacrifices were offered unto the Lord. The fact that the altar was set up on Mount Ebal, the mountain upon which the curse was put, was significant, denoting that because of their transgressions of God’s law, Israel had justly incurred His wrath, and that it would be at once visited, but for the atonement of Christ, represented by the altar of sacrifice.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 500.

  • How did Joshua station the leaders and people for that grand ceremony, and what is significant about the way the stranger was welcomed? Joshua 8:33.

Note: “Six of the tribes—all descended from Leah and Rachel—were stationed upon Mount Gerizim; while those that descended from the handmaids, together with Reuben and Zebulun, took their position on Ebal, the priests with the ark occupying the valley between them.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 500.

“Let those who believe the word of the Lord read the instruction contained in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. There they will learn what kind of education was given to the families of Israel. While God’s chosen people were to stand forth distinct and holy, separate from the nations that knew Him not, they were to treat the stranger kindly. He was not to be looked down upon because he was not of Israel. The Israelites were to love the stranger because Christ died as verily to save him as He did to save Israel. At their feasts of thanksgiving, when they recounted the mercies of God, the stranger was to be made welcome.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 273, 274.



  • What was the climax of the Mount Ebal ceremony? Joshua 8:34.

Note: “Silence was proclaimed by the sound of the signal trumpet; and then in the deep stillness, and in the presence of this vast assembly, Joshua, standing beside the sacred ark, read the blessings that were to follow obedience to God’s law. All the tribes on Gerizim responded by an Amen.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 500.

  • Why was it appropriate for the congregation to say “Amen”? Psalm 106:48. Why is it often appropriate for us to say “Amen” too?

Note: “When the word of the Lord was spoken to the Hebrews anciently, the command was: ‘And let all the people say, Amen’ (Psalm 106:48). When the ark of the covenant was brought into the city of David, and a psalm of joy and triumph was chanted, ‘all the people said, Amen, and praised the Lord’ (1 Chronicles 16:36). This fervent response was an evidence that they understood the word spoken and joined in the worship of God.

“There is too much formality in our religious services. The Lord would have His ministers who preach the word energized by His Holy Spirit; and the people who hear should not sit in drowsy indifference, or stare vacantly about, making no responses to what is said. The impression that is thus given to the unbeliever is anything but favorable for the religion of Christ. These dull, careless professed Christians are not destitute of ambition and zeal when engaged in worldly business; but things of eternal importance do not move them deeply. The voice of God through His messengers may be a pleasant song; but its sacred warnings, reproofs, and encouragements are all unheeded. The spirit of the world has paralyzed them. The truths of God’s word are spoken to leaden ears and hard, unimpressible hearts. There should be wide-awake, active churches to encourage and uphold the ministers of Christ and to aid them in the work of saving souls. Where the church is walking in the light, there will ever be cheerful, hearty responses and words of joyful praise.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 318.



  • What else was included in the ceremony of blessings and cursings? Joshua 8:35. What was to be repeated on a regular basis? Deuteronomy 31:10–13.

Note: “[Following the reading of the blessings, Joshua] then read the curses, and the tribes on Ebal in like manner gave their assent, thousands upon thousands of voices uniting as the voice of one man in the solemn response. Following this came the reading of the law of God, together with the statutes and judgments that had been delivered to them by Moses.

“Israel had received the law directly from the mouth of God at Sinai; and its sacred precepts, written by His own hand, were still preserved in the ark. Now it had been again written where all could read it. All had the privilege of seeing for themselves the conditions of the covenant under which they were to hold possession of Canaan. All were to signify their acceptance of the terms of the covenant and give their assent to the blessings or curses for its observance or neglect. The law was not only written upon the memorial stones, but was read by Joshua himself in the hearing of all Israel. It had not been many weeks since Moses gave the whole book of Deuteronomy in discourses to the people, yet now Joshua read the law again.

“Not alone the men of Israel, but ‘all the women and the little ones’ (Joshua 8:35) listened to the reading of the law; for it was important that they also should know and do their duty.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 500–503.

  • Name some of the blessings and cursings. Deuteronomy 28:1–13; 27:14–26.



1     How are the blessings and curses given to ancient Israel relevant today?

2    How has memorizing and meditating upon Scripture benefited me at times?

3    Why was the stranger together with the leaders and people on the mount?

4    In what ways can I be more supportive of the task of my local minister?

5    Why is it important that all learn their duty to God from a young age?

Question and Answer – Why call the woman a dog?

“He [Jesus] answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and cast it to dogs” (Matthew 15:26).

“The woman urged her case with increased earnestness, bowing at Christ’s feet, and crying, ‘Lord, help me’ (Matthew 15:25). Jesus, still apparently rejecting her entreaties, according to the unfeeling prejudice of the Jews, answered, ‘It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.’ This was virtually asserting that it was not just to lavish the blessings brought to the favored people of God upon strangers and aliens from Israel. This answer would have utterly discouraged a less earnest seeker. But the woman saw that her opportunity had come. Beneath the apparent refusal of Jesus, she saw a compassion that He could not hide. ‘Truth, Lord,’ she answered, ‘yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table’ (verse 27). While the children of the household eat at the father’s table, even the dogs are not left unfed. They have a right to the crumbs that fall from the table abundantly supplied. So while there were many blessings given to Israel, was there not also a blessing for her? She was looked upon as a dog, and had she not then a dog’s claim to a crumb from His bounty?

“Jesus had just departed from His field of labor because the scribes and Pharisees were seeking to take His life. They murmured and complained. They manifested unbelief and bitterness, and refused the salvation so freely offered them. Here Christ meets one of an unfortunate and despised race, that has not been favored with the light of God’s word; yet she yields at once to the divine influence of Christ, and has implicit faith in His ability to grant the favor she asks. She begs for the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table. If she may have the privilege of a dog, she is willing to be regarded as a dog. She has no national or religious prejudice or pride to influence her course, and she immediately acknowledges Jesus as the Redeemer, and as being able to do all that she asks of Him.

“The Saviour is satisfied. He has tested her faith in Him. By His dealings with her, He has shown that she who has been regarded as an outcast from Israel is no longer an alien, but a child in God’s household. As a child it is her privilege to share in the Father’s gifts. Christ now grants her request, and finishes the lesson to the disciples. Turning to her with a look of pity and love, He says, ‘O woman, great is thy faith’ (verse 28).” The Desire of Ages, 401.

Prayers of Thanksgiving

We are not very good at saying “Thank you,” are we? We are often like a little boy who, upon his return from a birthday party, was asked by his mother, “Bobby, did you thank the lady for the party?”

“Well, I was going to, but a girl ahead of me said, ‘Thank you,’ and the lady told her not to mention it. So I didn’t!”

“The leper that returned to give glory to God was rewarded for his faith and gratitude. But how sad it is that only one of the ten appreciated the blessing that was bestowed upon them! In every age God has poured out his blessings upon men, and has healed and restored them as he healed the ten lepers. But how often the proportion of those who recognize and appreciate God’s mercies is even less than one to ten! The nine did not report themselves, but went on their way, satisfied that they were restored. They did not give honor to God, and to Jesus Christ, whom he had sent to be their healer. The Lord works continually to benefit mankind. He is continually imparting his bounties. He raises up the sick from beds of languishing, he delivers men from peril which they do not see; he commissions heavenly angels to save men from calamity, to guard them from the pestilence that walketh in darkness, and from the destruction that wasteth at noonday, but their hearts are unimpressed. They do not consider God’s blessings, they do not rejoice in his love. They center all their thoughts upon themselves. They do not appreciate Christ’s pitying tenderness and matchless love. Only a few discern that their blessings are the result of the never-failing mercies of God through Jesus Christ; but those who do discern this fact, make melody in their hearts to God, and, as did the cleansed leper, they offer to him a tribute of praise and thanksgiving.” The Signs of the Times, July 2, 1896.

Recognize Your Blessings

During this season of thanksgiving, we want to say “Thank you,” but before we can do that, we need to count our many blessings. “Count your blessings” is excellent advice, but sometimes we have to recognize them first!

A man who owned a small property wished to sell it. Sending for a real estate agent, he asked him to write an advertisement describing the house and land.

When the ad was ready, the agent took it to the owner and read it to him. “Read that again,” demanded the owner. The agent read the description of the property once more. “I don’t think I will sell it after all,” said the owner. “I have been looking for a property like that all my life, and I did not realize that I already owned it!”

“Count your blessings”—yes, but start by asking God to open your eyes to see your possessions in Christ. Begin by recognizing all that you have in Christ. That will change your entire perspective and enable you to praise and thank God for what you have.

The Greatest Gift

From James 1:17 we read: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” What is the good gift referred to in this passage? It is the greatest Gift of all: “The heart of God yearns over His earthly children with a love stronger than death. In giving up His Son, He has poured out to us all heaven in one gift.” Steps to Christ, 21.

And what does Christ wish to give to us? “He [Christ] should be presented as the Source of all true pleasure and satisfaction, the Giver of every good and perfect gift, the Author of every blessing, the One in whom all our hopes of eternal life are centered.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 175.

Do you realize that not everyone in the world knows Jesus? There are over 6 billion people on this earth today. It is difficult to say just how many of these inhabitants are Christian, but it is thought that 33 percent, or nearly 2.1 billion people, consider themselves to be Christian. (<> September 2007.) Regardless of what statistic you use, think of what this means. This means that the vast majority of people do not know about or believe in Jesus! Every time you draw a breath, at least four people die who have never heard the name of Jesus. That is almost 200,000 people a day! Someone put it this way: What is 750,000 miles long, reaches around the earth 30 times, and grows 20 miles longer each day? Answer: The line of people who are without Christ.

We are privileged, so privileged, to know Christ; we are privileged to be part of His church. For Christ, His grace, and salvation we need to give thanks.

Prayers of Thanksgiving

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:18.

How are we to give thanks? What form is our thanksgiving to take? When we look through the Bible, we see that thanksgiving can be shown in a number of different ways. We are told that thanksgiving is a natural element of Christian worship. (I Corinthians 14:16, 17.) The psalmist tells us to offer to God a song of thanksgiving. (Psalm 69:30, 31.) Hebrews tells us that we give to God a sacrifice of praise when we confess the name of Jesus. (Hebrews 13:15.) And, of course, we show thanks to God by the giving of our gifts.

Especially, though, we are to pray. “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2. Why do Christians need to pray? Because prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness God requires of us. Prayer time is meant to be thanksgiving time.

Jesus gave us an example of this: “And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before [them]; and they did set [them] before the people.” Mark 8:6.

As Jesus demonstrated, prayer time is to be thanksgiving time. Too many times, though, when we come to God in prayer, we come as prayer beggars: give me, help me, bless me, heal me … God wants us to ask, but when we pray, He also wants us to come to Him as praise givers. Many modern Christians tend either to neglect the practice of prayer or to minimize its significance. Jesus holds before us the importance of prayer as a time of thanksgiving.

“Shall all our devotional exercises consist in asking and receiving? Shall we be always thinking of our wants and never of the benefits we receive? Shall we be recipients of His mercies and never express our gratitude to God, never praise Him for what He has done for us? We do not pray any too much, but we are too sparing of giving thanks. If the loving-kindness of God called forth more thanksgiving and praise, we would have far more power in prayer. We would abound more and more in the love of God and have more bestowed to praise Him for. You who complain that God does not hear your prayers, change your present order and mingle praise with your petitions. When you consider His goodness and mercies you will find that He will consider your wants.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 317.

Based On Scripture

It is good for our prayers to use the actual words of Scripture as we claim the promises given there. For instance, we can pray using the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, the Lord’s Prayer, as given in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. But we can also pray using the words of the Psalmist: “O give thanks unto the Lord, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.” Psalm 107:1. “Praise the Lord [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!” Verse 8. Let us give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. (Psalm 107:15, 21, 31.)

“O give thanks unto the Lord; for [he is] good: because his mercy [endureth] for ever.” Psalm 118:1. And give thanks for the salvation He has given: “I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.” Verse 21. “Thou [art] my God, and I will praise thee: [thou art] my God, I will exalt thee. O give thanks unto the Lord; for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.” Verses 28, 29.

Have you ever thought of the Psalms as prayers, of using them as your own prayers of thanksgiving to God?

Words of Paul

We can also use the inspired words of Paul as our prayers of thanksgiving to God. Some appropriate passages would be: “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” Romans 1:8.

“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and [in] all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you.” I Corinthians 1:4–6.

“Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3.

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:3–6.

God loves the words of our biblical prayers because these are the words of His own heart and mind. By them God is praised. By them God is thanked. By them God is glorified.


God wants us to receive every good thing with thanksgiving. There are many ways to give thanksgiving, but the best way is through prayer.

“Man must come on bended knee, as a subject of grace, a suppliant at the footstool of mercy. And as he receives daily mercies at the hand of God, he is ever to cherish gratitude in his heart, and give expression to it in the words of thanksgiving and praise for these unmerited favors.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 315.

What will be the result as we express our praise and thanksgiving in this way? “Our hearts are to be so filled with the love of Christ that our words of thanksgiving shall warm other hearts. This is service that all can perform, and the Lord accepts it as offered to Himself. He makes it efficacious, imparting to the earnest worker the grace that reconciles man to God.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 18.

As we thus labor for God, with thankful hearts, we must: “Be of good courage in the Lord. Learn to take everything to Him in prayer. Believe that He helps you. Express your gratitude by words of thanksgiving. Do not look on the dark side, but believe God’s promises, and walk by faith.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 133.

[All emphasis added.]

A member of the LandMarks editorial staff, Anna writes from her home in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. She may be contacted by e-mail at:

Asking to Give

Have you ever wondered why Jesus had so much influence over men? Why did men flock just to listen to what He had to say? How was it that Jesus’ words accomplished so much good? What were the mighty secrets of His life? We want to learn them, because Jesus said that as He was in this world, so we are to be also. 1 John 4:17. One of His most powerful secrets is found in this verse, “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to Him that is weary: He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4 As Jesus dwelt among men, His Father woke Him from His slumbers morning by morning and He spoke to Jesus, and would give Him words to speak—”A word in season to him that is weary.”

Each one of us have sinned and sin has made us weary. Even the affects and results of sin make us weary and stay with us all throughout our lives. Paul said, “What I would like to get rid of, I can’t, and the things that I don’t want working in me, keep working in me anyway.” (Romans 7:13-18) The law of sin is the law of death. Jesus took our place to give us eternal life, but, nevertheless, as long as we are on this earth we have the curses of sin to live with. We have the curses of sin to live with. We have disease; we have others who talk to us that are upset with us; we have financial burdens; we have trials that make us weary. But the thing that makes us the most weary is the burden of guilt that is caused by sin.

Jesus came to this earth to save us from our weariness. Jesus took the words that His Father gave Him and gave them to men. Jesus, who was pushed on every side, who was followed by enemies all of His life, who the devil personally conducted warfare against, could say at the end of His life: “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself; but that Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works…The word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.” John 14:10, 24. Rather than speaking his own words, he spoke words that ministered to the needs of others.

Can we ever live a powerful life like that? The servant of the Lord has told us that, “Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised no powers, that men may not have through faith in Him perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was.” Desire of Ages, 664. We need to find out what the secret of the power in His life was; the power that caused Him to live for others only, amid scorn, mockery and abuse.

The Secret

To learn the secret of His life we will look at quotations from the chapter “Asking to Give,” Christ’s Object Lessons, 135-149. “Not for Himself, but for others, He lived and thought and prayed. From hours spent with God He came forth morning by morning, to bring the light of heaven to men. Daily He received a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit. In the early hours of the new day the Lord awakened Him from His slumbers, and His soul and His lips were anointed with grace, that He might impart to others.” Is that how you are living your life? Is the Lord waking you up every morning with the first thought of your day being “Father, thank you for giving me life through another night. Thank you for Your blessing, for the morning light. Now Father, what do You want to tell me? I am listening.” God will tell us how to speak a word to the weary ones of this earth.

“Christ’s disciples were so impressed…with His habit of communion with God.” One day they found Him praying. Jesus went right on praying seemingly unconscious of their presence and they said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Jesus again gave the Lord’s payer. Read through the section on the Lord’s Prayer from the book Thoughts From the Mount of Blessings. Phrase by phrase, on your knees, pray that it may be incorporated into your life.

The Present Neighbor

Jesus, in answer to their request, then told this most interesting story. “And He said unto them, ‘Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he from within shall answer and say, “Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give him as many as he needeth.” Luke 11:5-8

This man had out-of-town company. When his company came, even though it was late, he knew that his company was hungry. In the Eastern countries the people are perhaps more courteous than people in the United States; at least that is what I hear from some who have been there. This man wanted to be hospitable to his company, but he had no food to give his guest—nothing. But he thought that his neighbor might have food. He went and knocked on his neighbor’s door in the middle of the night. His neighbor was in bed and was asleep with his children. How is it with you if you are sound asleep about midnight, and the phone or door bell rings? Most of you have experienced it. You struggle to wake up, but you are in such a deep sleep, you wish you did not have to wake up. So you can just imagine this neighbor. He did not want to get up. He wanted to stay in bed. But what did the man keep doing? He kept knocking and asking until the neighbor woke up and got up and gave him some bread.

Asking To Help Others

There are people all around us who are on their one time journey through life. They get faint and weary. If they do not receive the Bread of Life, they will die—eternally die of starvation. Jesus told us how to help them. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For [notice this next word is all-inclusive,] everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” So many times we do not ask, and then we wonder why our words have no influence to help others. No one who asks to give to others will ever be turned away. The Lord is so anxious for us to ask even though we feel unworthy, that He even tells us what to say: “do not abhor us, for Thy name’s sake, do not disgrace the throne of Thy glory: remember, break not They covenant with us.” Jeremiah 14:21

When on earth, Jesus prayed a most beautiful prayer. He said, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” And then He said this, “As Though hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” John 17:17, 18. How are we sent? We are sent into the world the same way He was sent into the world. So, we need the same strength that He received form His Father. We need the same power that He revealed in His life. The power of love. The power of perfect self-control. We need the words from on high, the Bread of heaven, that we can speak to weary souls and give them strength so that God’s grace may be imparted through us to others.

Our Work

There are so many that never get beyond the ABC’s of the Christian life. Here is the reason why. “It is because this work is neglected, the work of caring for others, that so many young disciples never advance beyond the mere alphabet of the Christian experience.” Desire of Ages, 640. Now when you learn to read, what is the first thing you learn? You learn the alphabet. But after you know the alphabet, do you know how to read? You can know the alphabet forwards, you can know it backwards, you can know it perfectly, you can say it fast, you can say it slow, you can write it, but do you know how to read? No, you do not know how to read if all you know is the alphabet. The alphabet is just the tool that you need to help you learn how to read, but if you do not know how to put it all together, you cannot read. Why do so many young disciples never advance? Because “the light which was glowing in their own hearts when Jesus spoke to them, ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee,’ they might have kept alive by helping those in need. The restless energy that is often a source of danger to the young might be directed into channels which it would flow out in streams of blessings. Self would be forgotten in earnest work to do others good. Those who minister to others will be ministered unto by the Chief Shepherd. They themselves will drink of the living water and they will be satisfied. They will not be longing for exciting amusements or for some change in their lives. The great topic of interest will be how to save souls that are ready to perish. The conversation is the thermometer of your Christian experience. Has the topic of your conversation been how to save souls? Or has it been on some other topic?

Jesus assigned to His followers the job of giving the Bread of Life to the perishing world. “He who had appointed their work, saw how often their faith would be tried. Often they would be thrown into unexpected positions, and would realize their human insufficiency. Souls that were hungering for the Bread of Life would come to them, and they would feel themselves to be destitute and helpless. They must receive spiritual food, or they would have nothing to impart. But they were not to turn one soul away unfed.” Now that is a real fix. They had nothing to give. They realized they were destitute and helpless, but they were commanded not to turn away one soul unfed. “Christ directs them to turn to the source of supply. The man whose friend came to him for entertainment, even at the unseasonable hour of midnight, did not turn him away…And would not God, who had sent His servants to feed the hungry, supply their need for his own work?

What Does Christ Long To Give You?

“But God delights to give. He is full of compassion, and He longs to grant the requests of those who come unto Him in faith. He gives to us that we may minister to others and thus become like Himself.” Do you get the picture that is being described here? God gives us bread that we can give it to others and in that way we become like Him. There is no other way to become like Jesus except by imparting the Bread of Life and the Water of Life to others. You cannot just get it and horde it. It will spoil. Spoiled grape juice turns into wine and it can cause all kinds of terrible things. But if we get, that we may impart, what a blessing the weakest souls on this earth could be! “There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit.” Ministry of Healing, 169. The secret is all in putting self aside.

Jesus says, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name that will I give to you.” John 15:16. But there are some conditions that He has laid down for us. One is found in this text. “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. John 13:34. That was one of Christ’s last commands to His disciples. “If we have in any way grieved or wounded others, it is our duty to confess our fault and to seek for reconciliation. This is an essential preparation that we may come before God in faith, to ask His blessing.”

There is another qualification that is essential to answered prayer. It is found in this text. “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Werein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed me. In tithes and offerings.” Malachi 3:7, 8. Jesus wants us to be faithful in our tithes and offerings. He is gracious, even though we make mistakes, if we will just return to Him, He will hear our cry. And then He encourages us with this promise, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10

Obedience Is A Condition

Sometimes when we come to the Lord, He waits a little while so that we may search our hearts and cast out all of self. Prayer does not bring God down to us. That is not the purpose of prayer. Prayer brings us up to God. “All His gifts are promised on condition of obedience. God has a heaven full of blessings for those who will cooperate with Him. All who obey Him may with confidence claim the fulfillment of His promises.” There is no limit to God’s power, if we are asking to give. But so often, James says, “we pray and receive not” because why? We “ask amiss that we may consume it on our own lusts.” James 4:3. So God tests and proves us that we may be cleansed.

“The path of sincerity and integrity is not a path free from obstruction, but in every difficulty we are to see a call to prayer. There is no one living who has any power that he has not received from God, and the source whence it comes is open to the weakest human being.” Desire of Ages, 667

Often when we are giving out the Bread of Life, we find ourselves in perplexing situations. We realize that we do not have the wisdom to advance. “When perplexities arise, and difficulties confront you, look not for help to humanity. Trust all [another all-inclusive word] with God. The practice of telling our difficulties to others only makes us weak, and brings no strength to them. It lays upon them the burden of our spiritual infirmities, which they cannot relieve. We seek the strength of erring, finite man, when we might have the strength of the unerring, infinite God.

“You need not go to the ends of the earth for wisdom, for God is near. It is not the capabilities you now possess or ever will have that will give you success. It is that which the Lord can do for you. We need to have far less confidence in what man can do and far more confidence in what God can do for every believing soul. He longs to have you reach after Him by faith. He longs to give you understanding in temporal as well as spiritual matters. He can sharpen the intellect. He can give tact and skill. Put your talents into the work, ask God for wisdom, and it will be given you.”

Friends, did you hear those words? Did you catch the reality of what this promise means to the worker for God? It says He will give us wisdom, not only in our spiritual affairs, but in our temporal affairs. That is everything in life. There is nothing left that God has not made provision for. God wants you to totally surrender your life to Him. He wants you to be willing to wake up when he wakes you up in the morning, that your ear can hear as the learned. He wants you to expect great things from Him and He will give you success in your work. It is an unfailing promise.

Standing Through The Shaking

Do not talk of your faults, your trials, others’ faults, others’ trials; in short, do not talk about erring men. Talk about soul-winning. Talk about the blessings of God. If your mind is filled with these things, you will withstand temptation. But if your mind is filled with the things of earth, you will fall. You will not be able to stand. So fill your mind with the promises of God. Ask that you may give to others. If your life becomes a channel of God’s blessings, the waves of the ocean can be surging around you, the greatest tempest can be blowing, and thunder can be crashing, the lightening can be flashing through the sky, but your life is hid with Christ and you can stand in the middle of anything. That is what I want for each of you. I want us to stand together as a mighty army so that we can give the Loud Cry to this perishing world.

We are going through a mighty shaking, but if we remain steadfast in faith and prayer, we will come forth as gold. The disciples went through the terrible ordeal of the cross. But, they came through it and the Lord poured out his Holy Spirit on them. Three thousand were converted in a day. And, if we are faithful, we will yet see the mighty things that God will do for His people. The latter rain will be poured out on His humble waiting ones and the truth will be proclaimed in power to a perishing world.

The End

When God is Silent

The study of the providence of God has been highly recommended to us. We are told that John the Baptist, while living his retired life in the wilderness of Judea, studied the providence of God in nature. We are told that Jesus Christ Himself studied carefully the providence of God during His years at Nazareth. We are also told that He loved to go out into the mountains around Nazareth, into the forests and glens to find places to pray and to study the providence of God. We have an example of this providence in action recorded in Matthew 15.

Jesus was not always easy to understand, at least it seemed so to the disciples. But you have to look at it from His standpoint, too; they were not always easy to teach. He had a very difficult lesson that He needed to teach them at this point in their educational experience. To teach them this particular lesson, He set up what appeared to be a five—day seminar. He took them over the hill country from Galilee to the area of Tyre and Sidon, fifty or sixty miles to the northwest. I would estimate that it took them at least two days to go, two days to come back, with one day spent there.

What was this special effort all about? Was it for a woman who had a devil-possessed daughter? Well, yes; but that is only a small part of it. That was the easiest thing that Jesus had to do on this particular journey. His biggest job was not to deal with the devil-possessed daughter of a woman but to deal with the tradition-possessed minds of the twelve disciples. They thought like Jews; they lived like Jews, and they were Jews. They had imbibed the spirit of the rabbis, which had a particular view of the world that Jesus had to deal with. It was not appropriate for His cause and for His disciples to have the world view of the rabbis. The Jews had a saying, “Just as the best of serpents should be crushed, even so, the best of Gentiles should be slain.” This was an opinion that all of His disciples held. Before He could use them as missionaries to the Gentile world, Jesus had to get a new idea into their minds.

Preparation before Commission

Just before His return to heaven, Jesus said to His disciples, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8. If Jesus had not done some special educational work for them, they would have choked and sputtered when He said Samaria. When He said, “Unto the uttermost part of the earth,” they would have just been aghast. (Out there was where those curs, those mongrels, those horrible Gentiles lived.) He had a job to do before they would even consider such a thing.

We have now the woman to consider. We are told that she was a woman of Canaan. The Canaanites, were the oldest race of people who lived in that area. Actually, however, she probably did not know herself who her ancestors were. Centuries before, the Assyrians, a small but ambitious nation of people, sought to control the whole country. To accomplish this, they first used force and cruelty, believing that if they were mean and cruel enough, nobody would ever dream of rebelling against their power. This did not work, however, and people rebelled anyway. Later in their history, they resorted to the practice of relocation people. By taking them away from their homelands and mixing them all up, they hoped to leave them without sufficient strength in numbers to be able to mount a rebellion. This resulted in the people encountering, and to a large degree assimilating, various types of cultural and religious attitudes.

Many years later, when Cyrus permitted the Jews from Babylon to go back to Jerusalem, secular historical tell us that he did the same thing for many other people. Under his rule, if you could still remember and if you had a desire to do so, you were allowed to return to your ancestral homeland. This resulted in another great transmigration of people all over the vast area. There had been a great deal of inter-marriage with the different peoples. So if you lived in the area of Tyre and Sidon, like this woman did, and you were referred to as a woman of Canaan, that did not mean very much. It would be very, very difficult for you to be sure whose blood was in your veins; but for certain, it was not the blood of Abraham.

On the other hand, before a Jewish boy learned to read and write, he learned his pedigree. He learned to prove that he was descended from Abraham; so by groups of seven, he memorized the most outstanding ancestors of his ancestral line. He did not try to remember all of the but enough to show you that he was indeed in line with Abraham. If you called upon him to tell you who he was, he would not just say, “I am Joseph, ” or “I am David.” He would say, “I am Joseph, son of, son of, son of, son…” all the way back to “son of Abraham.” That is what counted. You had to be a son of Abraham. So people with an attitude like this looked at this woman as if she were just a cur, or mongrel. Because of this situation, she was ideally suited to be the subject of this seminar.

The stage is set; the players are there: the pagan, the prejudiced disciples, and the compassionate Saviour. But as we watch the action unfold, we may be at first as puzzled and bewildered as the disciples were.

The woman comes with her first appeal to Jesus. “Lord, have mercy on me; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.” Jesus’ first answer to her is silence. So what does the silence mean? The disciples think, of course, that it means rejection. That is what they understand his apparent indifference to mean. They cannot understand why He does not finished the job and get rid of the woman. But Jesus knows what He is doing, and He works carefully in this educational situation.

Now as we look on and see somebody appealing to the Saviour and His answer is silence, we possibly can identify with that because we have had that experience, have we not? Have we not presented some request to the Lord and received silence as an answer? A young college girl was talking to me about some of her problems one day. I asked her, “Have you talked to the Lord about it?”

She answered, “Yes, I have. But it seems like God just doesn’t say anything.” That is not so uncommon. I think that it is really quite common that we talk to the Lord about something and the answer appears to be silence. What does the silence mean? This is a question that we can reflect upon with profit.

Why Silence?

Does it mean that God does not hear? Does it mean that He does not care? Does it mean that the answer is no? Well, certainly it cannot mean that He does not hear. We know that He hears. Certainly it does not mean that He does not care, whether we are looking at this situation or our own situation. After all, He had walked fifty miles or more just to get to this woman to take care of her problem; so He certainly cares. In our case, we know that He died for us; He lives for us, so He cares. So it cannot mean that He does not hear; it cannot mean that He does not care. Well, does it mean that the answer is no? Not necessarily. What, then, does it mean?

We may get a clue from Romans 8:26 where we are told, “We know not what we should pray for as we ought.” In The Desire of Ages, 200, we find these words: “The Saviour longs to give us a greater blessing than we ask.” The Saviour wants to give us something bigger and better than we are asking for. Well, why does He not do it? What is holding Him back?

We need to think about that for a moment. Physical things can be given by surprise, but spiritual things cannot. We can surprise somebody with a gift of money or property or land or personal things. We even have surprise parties where everything is a total surprise to somebody. And that works. You can put something physical in a person’s hand, but you cannot put something spiritual into someone’s heart by surprise. That is impossible. The heart must be wanting that spiritual gift before it can be given. I think that if you will just do a little thinking about it, you will see that this is true. How can you give a spiritual gift of peace or happiness or joy or anything like that to somebody whose heart is just far, far away and not concerned about peace or happiness or joy? It cannot be done. Because a spiritual gift cannot be given unless it is desired, God sometimes finds it necessary to delay an answer to our prayers. You see, we are carnally minded.

Here is a simple illustration. Suppose the pastor of a church says, “Wednesday evening at 7:30 there is going to be prayer meeting and everybody who comes is going to receive a blessing. The Lord has promised it.”

So we go to the pastor and ask, “What did you say that we are going to receive Wednesday night?”

He answers, “A blessing.”

“What can I do with a blessing? Can I eat it?”

“No, you cannot eat it.”

“Can I wear it?”

“No, you cannot wear it.”

“Can I put it in the bank?”

“No, you cannot put it in the bank.”

Suppose that on Sabbath morning the pastor were to say, “We are going to have prayer meeting on Wednesday night and everybody who comes is going to get a new $20 bill.” Do you think that you could make it to prayer meeting? On, yes! We understand this. We would be there, everyone of us, young and old. We put so much more value on money than we do on what the Lord has promised, and that is a problem. That is a problem that God has to deal with, and one of His ways of dealing with it is with His silence.

“Lord, I need a new pair of shoes.” Silence. “Lord, this is the second time that I am telling You that I need a new pair of shoes.” Silence. “Lord, pardon me for mentioning this third time, but I need a new pair of shoes.” Silence. “What is the matter with God?” Silence. “I wonder if it could be something the matter with me.” “Now we are getting somewhere,” God says.

Better Answers

You see, God delays the answer to our prayer because He wants to give us something better than we ask. Why do we always have to talk about shoes?” He asks. “Why can’t we talk about something important? Did I not promise you that I would take care of all things? Did I not say, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you?’ Why do you always come to Me with a list of physical things that you want?”

Record, or try to remember all of your praying for a week, making a list of all of the physical things that you ask the Lord for and a list of all of the spiritual things that you ask for. I suspect that the list of physical things will be quite a bit longer because we have to talk about shoes, clothes, our house, and all of our other things. All the while, God is saying, “Talk about something important. You need the joy of Christ in your life far more than you need new shoes. Why can you not talk about that?”

As we move along, we take notice of His disciples’ confusion on this point. You see, He answered the lady twice and He spoke to the disciples once. When they noticed that He was not answering her, they interpreted it to mean rejection and they said, “Send her away; for she crieth after us.”

He said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” That throws them into confusion and this is what He wanted to do. You see, His body language, if we want to call it that, and His speech did not agree. “I am only sent unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Therefore, I am not sending her away.” What? “What is He saying?” the disciples mutter one to another. He should be saying, “I am only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; therefore I am sending her away.” That would make sense. But He says one thing with His body language and He says something else with his words; so they begin to puzzle, and that is what He wants.

Weakening Prejudice

It was with this point that He drove His first wedge and opened a crack in that big wall of prejudice. “He is surely not suggesting to us that this mongrel, this cur, is a lost sheep of the house of Israel, is He? Or is He? Could that be what He is saying?” This is the thought that He wanted to be forming in their minds.

We now come to His second answer to her, and it seems even worse than the first. He had just been ignoring her as if He did not even see her, but now He stops and looks at her and she pleads again, “Lord, have mercy on me.”

Looking at her, He says, “You are a dog.”

Well that is even worse than the silence. We wonder that she even held on. We are told that she saw something in His face that He could not hide (see The Desire of Ages, 184), so she latched on to that. If you have ever worked among third-world people, you may have discovered something. They may not have the greatest education, but it is very difficult to fool them. They are very shrewd judges of human nature. They read your face, your eyes, your actions. This Canaanite woman probably had very little education; she may not have known how to read or write, but she could read His face. She saw something there that she latched on to. So when Jesus said to her, “You are a dog,” instead of walking away, she replied, “You say I’m a dog and I do not deny it; but if I am a dog, where are my crumbs? You do not look like a man who would starve His dog to death.”

Jesus answered, “Okay, okay, you win.” What else could He do when she said, “I am not basing my plea on my character; I am placing it on Your character?” As Martin Luther said, “She threw His bag of promises down in front of Him, and He couldn’t step over it.”

Well, she got what she wanted and the disciples learned something. This was a hard lesson to learn, but they learned it. As the Jewish nation hardened itself and raised more and more barriers against the gospel message and the disciples were called upon to move farther and farther out into the Gentile world, they remembered this experience. They remembered that a mongrel cur can be a child of Abraham.

Originally, Paul and the disciples believed, “If ye be Abraham’s seed, then you can approach Christ.” Christ turned it right around. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:27-29

We often experience the silence of God when we pray. Does it mean that He does not hear? Oh, no. Does it mean that He does not care? Oh, no. It means that He wants us to think. He wants us to think about something that we are not thinking about because our mind is so taken up with shoes and socks and all of the physical things of life. “The Saviour longs to give us a greater blessing than we ask; and He delays the answer to our request that He may show us the evil of our own hearts, and our deep need of His grace.” The Desire of Ages, 200. He deliberately chooses to answer us with silence.

“Sometimes answers to our prayers come immediately, sometimes we have to wait patiently and continue earnestly to plead for the things that we need. We are to keep on asking, even if we do not realize the immediate response to our prayers.

“There are precious promises in the Scriptures to those who wait upon the Lord. We all desire an immediate answer to our prayers and are tempted to become discouraged if our prayer is not immediately answered…this is a great mistake. The delay is for our special benefit.” Counsels on Health, 380

“The God of providence still walks among us. Though His footsteps are not seen, though His positive and direct workings are not recognized or understood, the God of providence is still walking among us making journeys to reach us perhaps.” Reflecting Christ, 98

Thank God for His providence. Thank Him for His mercy, for His understanding, for His willingness to go anywhere, to do anything to bring any one of us to the salvation of the Lord. Thank God for the fact that every one of us has a page in the book of providence where every detail is numbered. Nothing happens to us except by His permission.