“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
Matthew 7:7 – July 26th, 2016
There is real danger in the spread of the gospel and our gracious and understanding God knows it. The verse that lies before us today expressed that reality in a way that many have overlooked. The notion of dogs and pigs is obvious metaphor, but the objects of this metaphor is what has obviously escaped many Christians. We’re admonished by Christ that when we are casting the seed of the gospel, that we abstain from giving this holy word, this pearl of immeasurable value to those that might be called dogs or pigs.
Who could these two groups of people be? Why would Christ call us to keep back the life-giving words of the gospel to these people? The simple answer is found in understanding Jesus’ culture in which He spoke. Dogs were definitely not man’s best friend in the Jerusalem. The dogs that would invariably come into town would be ferrel dogs, not tamed by man, and were vicious pack animals that sought to harm those that might get in their way. In the Old Testament any animal with a split hoof, which would include swine, were considered “unclean”. If someone ate that animal or touched it’s dead carcas they would be deemed “unclean”.
Jesus makes the point that there are those that we will come in contact with; those who will name the name of Christ and those who might not, who will seek to harm us and therefore goad us to invest in them. We then must be watchful and seek to determine from our conversations and interactions if these persons might actually be seeking to “…turn to attack you…”, or if they are sincerely desiring help. Likewise, there are going to be those whose entire aim is to try, in whatever way possible, to defile you thereby “trampling [the pearl of the gospel] underfoot…”.
We are commanded to share the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with “almost” everyone we come in contact with. These are the two exemptions from that command. The danger now might be though to think or justify you’re failure to preach that holy pearl because everyone is seeking to “defile” or “attack” you. In a sense––that is true. Everyone who is not in Christ is under the sway of the enemy, and therefore their aim is to defile or hurt you. This caveat though is not about those who might be passively involved in this action or might come into this category for a moment when confronted with the gospel. This is a description of those people as a whole. They “are dogs” they “are swine”. That’s their entire aim in life and that’s their only reason to speak with you.
Therefore, the “Connection Point” of this verse is simply this: If someone’s confrontational it doesn’t mean that they are dogs, but confrontational. If someone turns against you and is seeking to upset your perception with others it doesn’t mean that they are as a whole swine. If however, someone is persistently, consistently, seeking to trap you or back you into a corner so that you appear or actually fall into sin––run. If a person is laying traps or worse, land-mines for you to step in––run. Do not continue to give to them the grace of God. Do not continue to cast those pearls of the gospel at them. Instead, shake the dust of their home off your feet and go to the next.