February 21

Text: Matthew 7:6

"Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”(NASB)

The situation in Palestine 2000 years ago as compared to the America of now was quite different.  While today dogs are not considered excellent pets and sometimes members of the family, and pigs have great value in multiple ways, not so in Jesus’ Palestine.  Dogs were—under the right circumstances—tolerated.  Swine were without value.   Israel considered swine to be the symbol of pollution.  They at times referred to non-Israelites as dogs—a deliberate attempt to demean those of whom they spoke.

The value system of humans versus the values of dogs and pigs dramatically differed.  Neither animal was to be trusted.  Both animals were to be considered dangerous.  Dogs could tear those who invaded their territory.  Pigs could attack when disappointed.  Dogs had no appreciation of the concept of holy.  Pigs had no appreciation of “pretty.”  Neither had any concept of holy nor saw any usefulness in a pearl.

The righteous realize that everyone will not appreciate righteous values.  They understand some resent them and their values.  They know some seek, and some resent.  The goal of the righteous is to be righteous, not to force others to accept their values. The righteous have nothing to prove—they have the courage to be and are not on a mission to force conformity on others.  They gladly share their values with seekers, but they are not a threat to those who reject their values.  The goal is not the approval of those who reject them.  It is to live by righteous values.

Four realizations: (1) Not all people wish to be converted to righteous values. (2) Sometimes people will see what they refuse to hear.  (3) The righteous are not made righteous by their conversion rate.  (4) The righteous share, but they do not seek to control.

Suggestion for reflection: How should we distinguish between those who seek and those who do not?  (Read 1 Timothy 2:1, 2.)

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