Friday, December 13, 2013, Part 2

"Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces" (Matthew 7:6).

IDEA: The instruction of Jesus about dogs and pigs is easier to understand than to apply.

PURPOSE: To help listeners think about what Jesus meant in Matthew 7:6 and how it should be applied.

Do you think the Bible is an easy book to understand?

We live in a different culture and in a different period of history from that of the biblical writers. Does that make a difference in how we understand the Bible?

I. There are some passages in the Bible that are easy to understand but hard to apply. Matthew 7:6 is such a passage.

Look at the picture Jesus paints: "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces."

What is Jesus talking about?

Would it ever occur to you to feed your dog something sacred? If it would, what would you feed it?

When Jesus talks about dogs, He wasn't talking about cuddly pets that jump into your lap to have their ears scratched.

Dogs in the first century were scavengers. They were closer to wolves than to pets.

"What is sacred" probably refers to meat offered in sacrifice to God in the temple.

When you think about a "temple," you shouldn't be thinking about a cathedral. The temple in Jerusalem may have been beautiful on the outside, but it was a slaughterhouse.

At the end of the day, not all the sacrificial meat was consumed. Something had to be done with it. If the priests put it on the garbage dump, scavenger dogs would spend the night ripping it apart and eating it. (What do we do with old flags or used Bibles?)

The priests took great care to burn the meat and bury it so the dogs would not get it.