April 4, Wednesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Yes Lord; yet…”

Mark 7:24-30

And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.

As a child, I grew up under the notion that one must never question God. I believed that doing so would not only be a show of irreverence to Him, but also signaled a lack of faith. And while I still certainly believe that we ought to be reverent to the Lord, when I look at Scripture, I see many men and women of faith asking questions and making requests to the Lord:  In Genesis 18, Abraham is, in a sense, bargaining with God to spare the city of Sodom. In Judges 6, Gideon asks God for multiple signs. In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah pleads with God, that He would give her a child. The Psalms are full of questions being raised up to God: “How long, O Lord?  Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?” These are just a few examples of Scripture that lead me to believe that our Heavenly Father is not only willing to hear our questions/requests, but He desires to respond to us!

Our passage today is perhaps one of the boldest moves I’ve ever read about in the Bible. The Syrophoenician woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter, but Jesus initially denies her request, indicating that His ministry is primarily for the Jews. At this moment, I might have walked away. After all, who am I to question Jesus? However, this woman’s response is incredible: “Yes, Lord; yet…” Captured in those three words, I believe, is the correct attitude with which we ought to present our requests to God: with reverent submission.

I love Jesus’ response. He grants her request by delivering her daughter of demon oppression, and in doing so he reveals that our God is not only sovereign but also graciously relational. Today, let’s remember that we can bring our questions and requests to our Father. He is not angry at us for asking questions; on the contrary, I believe that our Father is eager to respond to our requests.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for pausing and loving on this Syrophoenician woman, even though it wasn’t really her place to be asking You for things. It’s none of our places to be asking You for things, and yet You never turn down a desperate, contrite heart. Help us to come to You today as Your children, in humble submission, but also with boldness and confidence, knowing that you love to hear from us. In Your name we pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Ephesians 4


Lunch Break Study

Read Philippians 4:5b-6: The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.        

Questions to Consider

  1. According to the passage, what truth allows us to not be anxious about anything?
  2. How, and with what attitude, are we to let our requests be made known to God?
  3. In what situations/circumstances are we to hold to these truths?

Notes

  1. The passage begins with this truth: “The Lord is at hand.” “At hand” simply means “near.” This is the truth that establishes the foundation upon which we are able to walk in the next two commands.
  2. How do we make requests unto God? By prayer and supplication (supplication is a “prayer of asking”). With what attitude are we to pray? With thanksgiving!
  3. Paul says not to be anxious about ANYTHING, but in EVERYTHING, we should pray with thanksgiving, making our requests to God. That means that this is applicable in all situations and circumstances. And the reason is because “the Lord is at hand.”

Evening Reflection

Today, we read about the Syrophoenician woman who desperately pleaded with Jesus regarding her daughter who was oppressed by a demon. When was the last time you were desperate for the Lord? Most of us would agree, at least in our minds, that we couldn’t live without Jesus. But how often do we feel this desperation for His presence? This evening, let’s remember our need for God and rekindle our desperation for more of Him.

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