The Dogs Have Come into The Camp!
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1. The Jewish Camp
“And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?”
God’s camp is very great!
Now, the word “camp” is used 124 times in your King James Bible.
This message is concerning the dogs coming into “the camp”.
Now, for this turn to [Mark 7:25-28]
“For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.
And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.”
Are ready for this?
I will make this announcement. I am a dog. [I can hear you laughing.] Now, I will repeat it again. Rick St.James is a dog! Amen!
We are now ready to hear some things from Scripture.
2. The Beautiful Story
Turn to the first chapter in the book of Ruth in the Old Testament.
We have here … a most beautiful story … having been told to us all … living in this day [the “last days” of Second Timothy 3:1] This account starts [in verse one] with “a certain man”.
“Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.” [Ruth 1:1]
3. The Famine In The Land
Something else, this “certain man” had a wife and two sons to feed in a day when there was a famine “in the land.” [We need to remember a man needs to take care of his family according to First Timothy 5:8: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”] Therefore, this “certain man” decides to move himself and his family to a foreign land.
What side-lesson can we learn here? We can learn from here that a man will do whatever is necessary … in order to fill his own belly. He will even leave his very home [which is in “the land”] and go to a strange land … in order to take care of himself and his family.
Now, [in a spiritual sense] we today are living in a land that is in the midst of a very great famine. Now, what is this famine? It is a famine of hearing the word of God. [Amos 8:11-15]
Remember this basic truth. It is by the hearing of God’s words that faith comes to a person. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” [Romans 10:17]
4. Going Out Full and Coming Back Empty
In verse two, we see this man and his family had “continued there.” [Ruth 1:3]
Now, as it happens to all of us, adversity came to visit them [in verse three]. The man dies: “And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.” [Ruth 1:3]
Now, we see, in verse four, that the two sons [Jews] had married “women of Moab” [Gentiles]. [Ruth 1:4]
Then, adversity … as it often does … strikes again this very same family, in verse five, [which thing can happen to any of us, mind you] with both of Naomi’s boys dying in that strange land. [Ruth 1:5]
In verse six, we will see what any sane person will do if they are feeling the pangs of hunger when they hear the good news: “how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.” [Ruth 1:6]
When we are young, we are filled with the “vim and vinegar” of life. Is not that a true saying? That is, we are all too ready to go, and to jump anywhere and everywhere without any thought nor regard to God.
Now, is not this the case with both you and me? [Come on now, has the cat got your tongue?]
Look at what happens to us all. We go out, and we all do our own thing.
Then, when the thing is done, we find out that the thing always comes back home … to roost on us [so to speak].
We are then forced to learn our lesson in the school of hard knocks … this basic truth found in the Book of Ecclesiastes: “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” [Ecclesiastes 2:11]
To summarize, in life (we find out) we go out “full” and then, we come back “empty”. We leave home “full” and then, when it is time to come home, we come back, [as they would say: “on empty”.
This is the very thing that Naomi found was to come to her, when she realized: “seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?” [Ruth 1:21b] [Affliction … will drive us all to somewhere.]
Now, when we go out “full” and we come back “empty” … we will come to the very end of ourselves.
Now, if “peradventure” [ as THE BOOK says in Second Timothy 2:25] “if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;” we may feel that God has dealt with us “very bitterly” [as Naomi had come to feel], and we may now be willing to seek and to wait for God.
5. Namomi … A Type of Israel
Now, Naomi’s plight pictures something for all of us [to “whom the ends of the world are come”] to see. [1 Corinthians 10:11] [“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”]
Naomi is this: she represents a type of the Jewish nation in dispersion (which means a nation that has been judged, “run out of” their LAND, and dispersed among all the nations of the world, and HOMELESS … for nearly two thousand years).
This is exactly what is seen in the book of Ezekiel: “And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them.” [Ezekiel 36:19]
6. Time To Come Home
It is now time for them to come HOME.
So Naomi comes home to Israel. [Since 1948, Israel has been coming home to THE LAND.]
7. The LAW is The Rule … GRACE is The Exception To The Rule
We find out next, that God (of all things) uses an outsider … a Gentile daughter-in-law, Ruth, to be the means of blessing to her Jewish mother-in-law.
Now, it is through the eyes of faith … by the grace of God which enabled Ruth to latch on to the God of Israel. [It is as it says it is in Zechariah chapter 8:23: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.”]
Now, Ruth said to her mother-in-law: “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:” [verse sixteen]. Amen!
A Gentile has come “empty” into the camp of Israel to be made “full”.
Now notice something here … a Moabite woman has come into the congregation of Israel … in direct opposition to the LAW of God. Look at what the LAW saith in the book of Deuteronomy chapter twenty-three, verse three and four: “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever: Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.” [Deuteronomy 23:3-4]
Ruth came into the congregation! She not only came into the congregation of Israel but got into the very lineage of the Messiah – Jesus Christ. A Gentile dog is listed in the “book of the generation of Jesus Christ.”
We READ in Matthew chapter one: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; And Jesse begat David the king; …”
Did you see that?
Ruth is named here. And Rahab is named here. [“By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.” [Hebrews 11:31]] They both got in!
These “outsiders” got in even though the LAW said they could NOT get in!
How can this be?
The answer is G-R-A-C-E!
Now, GRACE finds the way against ALL ODDS!!!
Grace provides the EXCEPTION to the LAW of God.
8. The Dogs Get The Crumbs
We find in the Scripture [in the book of Matthew] a most peculiar happening which will be hard on the thin-skinned Americans living in the 21st century.
This narrative, which forms a hard saying, is found in Matthew chapter fifteen, verses twenty-one through twenty-eight.
Now, we find here that “a woman of Canaan” [a Gentile] is called a DOG.
We will see here that even a dog can find mercy from God WHO is come in the flesh. This woman knew she was running on “empty” and was at the end of herself when she came to Jesus Christ saying: “Lord, help me” (in verse twenty-five). HE says to her: “It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.” (See verse twenty-six.)
Herein, is shown the manifold grace of God.
The dogs [of which I am] were brought into the camp of the Jews. Great grace had indeed … come to the Gentiles.
It is … as the Apostle Paul by the Holy Ghost said in the book of the Ephesians … in chapter two starting with verse eleven: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” [Ephesians 2:11-18]
When God saved this old sinful sailor in 1973 … HE did it by the GRACE of God through faith in HIS SON Jesus Christ. My testimony, therefore, agrees whole heartedly with the Syrophenician woman who said the following to the Son of God nearly two thousand years ago:
“And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.”
I have, as a dog, enjoyed eating the crumbs from the children’s table.
9. The Dogs Have Come Into The Camp
The dogs have come into the camp!
We are the people! “Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” [1 Peter 2:10]
My friend, are you running “on empty”?
Have you come to “the end” of yourself?
Are you a dog [a Gentile living in the times of Gentiles]?
Do you want to obtain the mercy of God through the blood of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God?
Then, get saved by believing on the LORD Jesus Christ.
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” John 1:12.
Church Age Truths—The Visitation To The Gentiles
"Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world."