Of Dogs, Pigs, And Pearls

by Wayne Greeson

Jesus came into this world to reveal and speak the Truth. Often the truth He spoke was painful. One of the more painful truths spoken by Christ is found in the Sermon on the Mount. "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 rend you" (Matt. 7:6).

Jesus paints a vivid picture of a cornered person confronted by a hungry pack of snarling dogs and vicious boars. In fear and desperation the person throws into the mud in front of the beasts his most valuable possession, a bag full of pearls. The animals lunge forward anticipating food for their bellies only to discover the precious pearls are hard and tasteless. In their anger, the entire pack of animals turn on the person before them and drag him down into the mud where they tear him to pieces.

To the Jews dogs and swine were unholy and unclean animals fit neither for sacrifice nor food. However, Jesus is not warning about animals but people! There are numerous places throughout the Bible where unfit and worthless persons are called dogs or swine (See, 1 Sam. 17:43; 2 Sam. 16:9; 2 Ki. 8:13; 2 Pet. 2:18-22).

Jesus instructs His disciples not to waste the holy and precious instruction and rebuke of God's Word to those who are unfit and unworthy, for not only will they abuse and reject it, but they also abuse and reject you.

It is a sad but painful truth that there are those who lower themselves to the level of vicious snarling junkyard dogs and brutish boars in their rejection of God's wisdom. Get out of their way for if they have no respect for God or His Word they will certainly despise those who try to proclaim God's Truth. Jesus warns about such characters and teaches that we should be discriminating in our teaching and preaching less we fall victim to them.

Solomon explained why one must be discriminating in whom he entrusts precious pearls of instruction and wisdom. He taught that "fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Prov. 1:7) and a "scoffer does not love one who reproves him" (Prov. 15:12). Therefore, "Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words" (Prov. 23:9). Like Jesus, Solomon recommended a discriminating attitude toward those one tries to teach: "He who reproves a scoffer gets shame for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked man gets himself a blemish. Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser. Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:7-9).