In the third chapter of the Book of Judges we find that the Israelites have disobeyed God’s direct command to have nothing to do with the heathen among whom they lived. The Israelites, having free moral agency as do all other people, had done the opposite of God’s commands. They had married heathen wives and had adopted their gods and religious practices. As a result, God had cursed them by causing them to be defeated by the army of Mesopotamia to whom they had been prisoners for the eight years preceding the time of this story (vss 4-8). In desperation the rebellious Israelites had humbled themselves and cried out to God for help. Out of love for His chosen people, God raised up a man named Othniel and placed His Spirit upon him. Othniel delivered Israel out of their enemy’s hands. Following their deliverance Othniel ruled over the nation for 40 years.
Over the following generations Israel would wander away from God many times. Each time they would come to their senses, confess their individual and national sins, repent and call out to Him for help. Because of His love for them, and because of Abraham’s faithfulness, the Almighty would send someone to deliver them out of their current mess. This continued until 722 B.C. when He caused Assyria to invade Israel, defeat her and send her survivors into captivity. The same story played out for the Jews (tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi) who followed in their brethren’s sinful footsteps. In 585 B.C. God caused them to be defeated by Babylon and enslaved in that country after destroying Jerusalem and the Temple. Notice that He used two of the most vile and wicked nations on earth to defeat and enslave His chosen people. Though their sins were both many and continuous, God repeatedly answered their prayers and blessed them, at times doing such miraculous things as bringing water out of a rock and sending manna down from heaven.
In 2 Kings 5 we find the story of a mighty Syrian military leader who had led his nation’s military to victory over Israel. Again they had been defeated because of their sins. The military leader’s name was Naaman, who was a leper. Following his victory over Israel Naaman had brought a young Israelite girl back to his home to serve as a maid to his wife. One day the girl told her mistress that there was a prophet named Elisha in Samaria (Israel) who could heal her husband of his leprosy. Desperate for help, Naaman went to see Elisha who told him to go to the Jordan River and dip himself in its waters seven times. Reluctantly, he followed Elisha’s orders and was instantly healed of his terrible disease. Naaman was a heathen who worshiped a heathen god. Yet God healed him.
In the Middle East only swine are considered lower than dogs. Canaanite people were heathen who worshiped any number of heathen gods. One day as Jesus and His disciples were walking across the land a Canaanite woman followed along behind Him, crying out for Him to cast an evil spirit (devil/demon) out of her daughter. Jesus replied that “the children’s bread” (healing, deliverance, etc.) was for them only and not for “dogs.” Note that Jesus called a fellow human being a “dog.” Let that sink in. Anyone who does not believe and obey His and His Father’s Words is, in Their eyes, a “dog.” The longest and most detailed of the Ten Commandments contains explicit instructions for observing His 7th day (Saturday) Sabbath. Do you know anyone who obeys that command? The two billion plus Catholics and Protestants who observe the sabbath on Sunday are, in God’s eyes, “dogs.” Nothing in the Scriptures indicates that there will be dogs in the Kingdom of God. Nevertheless, Jesus cast the evil spirit out of the daughter of a “dog.” Of course, the daughter herself was also a “dog.”
In John chapters 5 and 8 we find Jesus healing and forgiving the sins of two people WHO DID NOT KNOW WHO HE WAS. In both cases He revealed the reason He blesses non-believers and answers their prayers. He spoke the exact same Words to both of them: “SIN NO MORE.” He would later die so that they would be able to receive the Holy Spirit which would empower them to obey His command to keep sin out of their lives. His desire is for those He helps to become so loving toward Him that they will seek out His will in His Holy Bible, believe it and obey it so that they might join Him in Paradise. Unfortunately, the vast majority only get more religious.
On at least two occasions Jesus fed, healed and delivered masses of people after preaching to them. One would assume that they were people whom He knew wanted to know the right way and follow it. However, when asked by His disciples why He spoke to them in confusing parables, but spoke to them (disciples) plainly, He replied that He DID NOT WANT THE PEOPLE TO KNOW THE MYSTERIES OF (HOW TO ENTER) THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Why? He explained that He knew their hearts, that they were not interested in His Truth, but only in being healed, delivered, fed, etc. Even though He knew they did not seek Him, that they wanted only what they could get from Him, HE PERFORMED MIRACLES FOR THEM ANYWAY.
In Matthew 10:7,8 Jesus sent His disciples out with this command: “And as you go, preach, saying that the Kingdom of heaven (the church) is at hand (soon coming). And as you go HEAL THE SICK, CLEANSE THE LEPERS, RAISE THE DEAD, CAST OUT DEVILS. FREELY YOU HAVE RECEIVED (POWER FOR MIRACLES), GREELY GIVE (MIRACLES) ….” Notice that He said nothing about the character of the people to whom they were to minister. We are commanded to meet the needs of the people without checking their spiritual pedigree.
The loving God does indeed do miraculous things for the most vile of mankind. The sole purpose of His largess is to prompt the recipients of His kindness to search out the Scriptures, learn His Truth, believe it and obey it. Alas, that is not what happens. Satan steps in and directs them back to where they were when the need occurred–Catholicism/Protestantism. As stated before, they are like the sow and the dog, they return to the religious quagmire from which they came, thereby proving true the Words of the Apostle Paul–they are “ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the Truth.” L.J.