Biblical Worship – The Canaanite Woman

Biblical Examples of Worshipping God

Matthew 15:21-28

Mp3 Audio    PowerPoint


I.         Introduction (John 4:23)


A.      This is a study series looking at True Worship, and True Worshippers

B.       We have been looking at HOW God’s people worshipped God


1.        How Abraham worshipped even though he was about to lose his son Isaac

2.        How Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would NOT worship this world’s false gods of gold, money, power, music, and were ready to pay the ultimate price to be able to worship the God of heaven simply, and effectively

3.        How Job worshipped even in absolute defeat and despair

4.        Today let’s turn to the pages of Matthew, and learn once again that our worship only matters to God when it is unwavering and full of faith!


C.       I’ve said it before… People have a weird concept of how to worship…


1.        They think that you got to be in church

2.        You got to be almost comatose, mesmerized, hypnotized, swaying

3.        You got be happy and prosperous and have no problems or troubles


D.      But none of the above is true according to almost ALL instances of worship in the Bible.

E.       Real worship (really valuing God) takes place amongst tears, in troubles, when trapped, during tragedies and through trials.

F.       If YOUR worship doesn’t do to well in those times, then THIS message series is for you!


II.       Background (Matthew 15:21)


A.      Our Lord is travelling through the northern area of Israel, preaching, teaching and healing people.

B.       Many would gather to hear Him preach, and to see Him do the impossible.

C.       Well, a desperate woman breaks through the crowd

D.      Her situation is dire, and her hope is fading fast.

E.       But she finds it hard to get the attention of almost anyone around Jesus.

F.       This woman is in a very unusual way, going to teach us about how to worship once again, when it doesn’t make sense to worship our God!


III.     Message


A.      A Defeated Woman (Matthew 15:22-27)


1.        Far from God (Mt 15:22a) – isn’t that how we feel sometimes


a.        This woman was NOT a Jew, but a Gentile – wrong culture, wrong nationality – wrong everything! She was a black woman

b.       A Canaanite – she was of the people that Joshua had overthrown 1,400 years earlier and had made into servants

c.        Listen to the way God sees us before we know Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:11,12; 4:17,18) – As a matter of fact… we are Gentiles too!

d.       This woman was lost spiritually


1)       She was outside of the world of the Jews who had the Bible, and who knew the promises of God, and who heard the prophets speak – she was of another world – the Gentile world

2)       She had no hope, and was without God in the world

3)       Her religion had failed her, and her life was falling apart

4)       This is how everyone on this planet starts off


e.        And yet she comes to Jesus! The right start. But that doesn’t mean instant gratification!


2.        Desperate for God (Mt 15:22, 23a)


a.        Don’t pity this women – learn from her this morning! Her hardship here is about to teach us just how strong our worship must be for it to make a difference in our lives and situations that WE go through!

b.       Desperate Situation


1)       Her daughter was grievously vexed with a devil


a)       Demon possessed – controlled by a Demonic being

b)       Don’t be fooled into thinking there are not such things – just as real as GOD, and the devil, there are demons


2)       Her daughter’s life was in serious danger – as it would be

3)       She had travelled against the wishes of her family

4)       She had even embarrassed herself by even TRYING to get close to this Jewish Messiah

5)       And yet here she was… desperate with no one else to turn to


c.        Desperate Cry for Help – listen to her words


1)       Have mercy on me – I KNOW don’t deserve your help

2)       O Lord – watch that word – it is so important

3)       Thou son of David – promised Messiah

4)       This woman knows more than 99% of all the Pharisees


d.       Desperate Wait (Matthew 15:23a)


1)       She waits for Him to say SOMETHING

2)       But “He answers her not a word” – learn the lesson of unanswered prayers


a)       God ignores us to see if we are serious about our needs being met by HIM only

b)       God ignores us to show us just how HELPLESS we are in the face of emergencies

c)       God ignores us to get the selfish elements out of our prayers

d)       Continuing in Prayer only strengthens our faith – it will not hurt it!


3.        Frustrated by God (Mt 15:23) – thank God for a Bible that shows things as they REALLY are! People got frustrated in the Bible. Not everything “just worked” – sometimes there were big long delays, and sometimes, nothing at all happened!!! David had times when he thought God was asleep (Ps 44:22-26)


a.        She was seemingly IGNORED by Jesus – this is the Silence of God

b.       She is then rejected by the Apostles – They COULD have done something for her if they wanted to, but seem to see her only as a bother


4.        Focused on Christ (Mt 15:24-27)


a.        This woman is amazingly going to do what the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, and politicians couldn’t do in 3 ½ years – she is going to catch Jesus in His talk! But it ain’t going to be easy!


1)       She works her way through the moving crowd of people and was finally able to address Jesus, only to be ignored and passed by

2)       The crowd of Disciples around Jesus just keep moving on too

3)       This woman pleads with the apostles to do SOMETHING, but they just push her out of their way and try to keep up with Jesus

4)       She keeps “pestering” them and pestering them until they ask Jesus to tell the woman to go away

5)       Jesus declares He is NOT sent to the Gentiles, but only to the lost, troubled sheep of Israel. Still not talking with her, just into the air


b.       But that is Ok… She knows that Jesus is right


1)       What a statement He made! She is NOT who He came to help

2)       Jesus came to save HIS people, the Jews (Mt 1:21; 10:5,6)

3)       The Gentiles were not in on the plan yet – she had “jumped the queue!” and it looked like she was not going to be helped at all.


c.        So she tries again, but this time, notice the words here, “Then came she and WORSHIPPED Him” – now she is working by faith!!!


1)       What did I tell you?! She is not giving up, and is going to listen to every word that Jesus says, and use it to her advantage now

2)       She took that little statement He made and took it as a cue to try once more!

3)       She is about to do what the Pharisees never could do (Mt 22:15) – she is going to trap GOD ALMIGHTY in His words!


d.       How does she do it?


1)       By worshipping – not by walking away (John 6:68) – not by giving up when things got hard or uncomfortable!

2)       This is not one of those “beautiful moments” in life where everything just comes together. No, this is absolute surrender to Jesus as being her ONLY hope – that is how He has to be seen by everyone in this room too!

3)       Don’t most people get easily offended, easily disappointed, easily discouraged? And doesn’t it make sense that it is to OUR loss?


e.        How does this Canaanite woman worship Jesus?


1)       She Stayed.


a)       She worships first of all, by realizing that there is no one else to turn to – worship is intended for ONE Person only

b)       She had tried finding help at home, then she simply “tried” Jesus, then the apostles

c)       But now she is not going ANYWHERE else

d)       Jesus is going to be her only focus now – her concentration!

e)       Worship is to be poured out on just Him! Not Mary, not angels, not people – only and always Him!


2)       She Surrendered.


a)       She worships secondly, by accepting how ever the Lord saw her - Listen to how Jesus speaks to her…

b)       It just wouldn’t be right to take what is meant for the children and give it to the dogs!!!

c)       WHAT? What did Jesus just call this woman and her family?

d)       Do you know what a female dog is called?

e)       Hey! When God looks at this world, He sees us for what we REALLY are! Filthy, wicked, sinful dogs!

f)        You got a problem with that? Then let me help you… you will never know the depth of the LOVE of God until you realise just what it is that He is loving in John 3:16!!!

g)       For ANYONE to ever be born again, they need to see themselves as God sees them – lost, without hope, and without GOD in this world! Wicked, sinful, damned!

h)       Hmmmm. Now that is a good start to worship!


3)       She is Satisfied.


a)       Now she moves in close – now she will stop Jesus dead in His tracks – she will stop the entire crowd by her worship!

b)       She worships, by taking whatever the Lord would give her

c)       Don’t misunderstand… this is all expected by Jesus – He has played things out so that this woman comes to this place. He is doing all this for a very special purpose; an eternal purpose

d)       Now she says an amazing thing: “Lord you are so right. But us dogs aren’t too picky. And we don’t mind the crumbs that fall from the table. Can we at least have the crumbs?”

e)       Now she has Him. Since all dogs everywhere know the value of sitting right up next to the dinner table, and sitting very still and quiet, so too does this women know her place when kneeling just before Jesus!!!

f)        She comes thankful for whatever God’s will is, and for how ever God works in her life!

g)       She has just decided that she will trust Him to do right, and to do His best – He can do no less!!!


f.         You had better believe there was a deafening silence after her words!


B.       A Delighted Saviour (Matthew 15:28a)


1.        Another point about unanswered prayers – they are not always permanent!

2.        Jesus now looks right at this woman and speaks directly to her and congratulates her


a.        “O woman” – what a way to start a sentence! Jesus is very impressed

b.       Great is thy faith! And it was!


3.        Worship is how you show your faith to God. It is a level of confidence and faith beyond what we have already experienced – it is trusting when it doesn’t make sense to trust!


a.        A faith that can’t worship in the troubles, and especially during the silent times is not faith at all

b.       Most of the Jews, the people of God, were faithless, and unbelieving

c.        People like this Gentile woman, and the Centurion of Mt 8:8-10 were slaps in the face of every Jew who was too good for the Messiah

d.       Today, most people are “way beyond Jesus” and instead, it is the low, the broken, the messed up, the harlots, the sinners, who come worshipping and get an audience with the King of kings (Mark 2:17)


C.       A Delivered Daughter (Matthew 15:28b)


1.        This was not cruel – this woman got what she came for

2.        As hard as this experience may seem, this was for us and for all people who experience the frustration of the silence of heaven, and unanswered prayers

3.        And there is not a mother in here that wouldn’t be willing to go through any amount of humiliation if it could bring about the deliverance of their children from some disaster in their life!

4.        How many times do we sort of just wave a magical prayer at a problem only to see NOTHING happen? I think we have God all wrong!

5.        This deliverance was a miracle that was in response to a desperate woman’s unwavering faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!

6.        Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all had the tenacity to talk with our Lord this same way – not letting Him go until we have exhausted every possible means of blessing just as Jacob did in his tent (Gen 32:26)!!!


IV.    Conclusion – What’s the Application?


A.      We need to change some things in order to correctly worship God


1.        Our approach – a little more humbly please! How about a lot more humbly


a.        Come in LOW, and then go lower!

b.       Church must be a place for the broken, the humble, the messed-up, the lost, the ruined to find transformation

c.        Don’t come showing off ANYTHING

d.       Guard your tongue – quite boasting and bragging – it all came from God anyway!

e.        There is NOT anyone who doesn’t need to take a step down before almighty God, and approach Him as we really are – a mess, in need of some serious help!


2.        Our adherence – we need to quite looking around to all the options we have, and start clinging to Christ, and holding on to Him through thick and thin, hell or high water, through both mountains AND valleys! Tenacity!

3.        Our appreciation – for just whatever God gives (Rom 1:21)

4.        Our anticipation – just how much should we believe God for?


B.       Next time heaven goes silent when you pray, worship the Lord

C.       Next time your attempts to do right go wrong, worship the Lord

D.      Next time you have no place to go, worship the Lord

E.       And do it wisely, as this great woman did – by faith in the only answer to every one of your problems – especially of your soul’s problem


Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland