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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: February 29, 2024

I love it when our two readings for the day fit quite well together, as they do today. In our first reading, Abraham has his servant swear by his inner thigh, which is a euphemism for the more reproductive part of his body, to get a faithful wife for his son Isaac, and not one of the godless women of the Canaanites. In all of this, Abraham is essentially saying to his servant, “God has promised that all nations of the earth will be blessed through me and through Isaac, from this land given to us. From our bodies will come the Savior of the world, the one who will undo the curse of Adam and bring about salvation for all mankind. That’s the promise God has made, and that promise will be devoured if Isaac has a Canaanite wife who drags him into unbelief and idolatry. Keep my son pure. Don’t let one of those wicked idolatresses come near and destroy the Messianic promise that rests in my loins and in him.”

But here in our Gospel text for today, we see what happens when a Canaanite woman comes near the Messiah Himself. (Mark calls her a “syrophoenician”, but that’s just the Roman term for the same people.) Seeing the mercy and the salvation that is flowing out of Jesus’ hands, this woman comes to Jesus, begging Him to pour our healing upon her daughter. Then, when she’s rebuffed by Jesus, called a sinful dog, she doesn’t argue. This woman of corruption and idolatry, this woman whose people led the Israelites into the most horrific forms of worship, child sacrifice, agrees with Jesus, ultimately saying, “yes, Lord, I know that I’m unworthy to receive even a crumb of your mercy. I know what I am. But I know that you came to save sinners like me. I know that the promise who once dwelled in Abraham and Isaac’s loins in my promise, my salvation.”

And so the story of Isaac and Rebecca comes full circle. Through Abraham’s servant, the son of the promise meets a faithful bride at a well. And here, the Promise Himself meets the woman of faithlessness and invites her to drink the waters of salvation, the waters of healing. The Savior of Israel welcomes the lost children of Canaan into His arms, folds them into the church, His Bride. 

Some come to your Savior. Leave behind the land of your self-worship, and your burning idols. Come into the kingdom of the Savior you could not corrupt, the Savior who won salvation for the sons of Abraham and the sons of Canaan alike.

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