An Essay by Jackie Houchin, based on Luke 18:1-8, ESV.
In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus told a story illustrating how we ought always to pray and not lose heart.
It seems that in a “certain city” there was a judge who didn’t fear God or respect people.
There was also a widow-woman in need (widows in Bible times without sons to take care of them had no resources of their own).
And there was a person in town that Jesus calls her adversary. Perhaps this adversary was trying to evict her from her deceased husband’s house or maybe cheat her as she tried to sell goods or services to survive, or take advantage of her in some other way.
This widow has a cause, but she has no one to help her.
For a while, she went to the town judge to plea for justice. But time and again, he refused to hear her. Perhaps he had his clerks “shoo” her away. He had no time for “a woman.”
But she kept coming, day after day, with the same plea. “Justice! I need justice! Please help me.”
“Stop bothering me.”
“Woman, you are making me crazy! STOP!”
But she kept coming, crying louder, pleading with him, “Give me justice!”
“Okay, okay, okay! I can stand it no longer. To get you to stop bothering me, I will give you justice! Clerk, see to it! Today!”
Okay, before you start thinking that GOD is uncaring, selfish, bored, or doesn’t like you (which is NOT true), what is the purpose of Jesus’ story?
— to always pray and not lose heart —
So, look at THE WOMAN, not the judge.
See her persistence, her not giving up, her relentlessness. See her not getting discouraged.
Then Jesus says, “Will not GOD give justice to His elect who cry to Him day and night?”
- His “elect” – a true believer, His own child through faith in Jesus Christ.
- Cry to HIM – not going to others, not trying to fix it yourself, and not whining, complaining, grumbling…but crying, as a child to its Father.
- Day and night – not just once, but continually (this is not “vain repetitions”), a constant pouring out of your NEED before your Heavenly Father. Going to Him again and again shows your FAITH in Him and His ability to act.
Jesus asks at the end of His story, “Nevertheless when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
A final note:
You might question Jesus’ comment, “Will He delay long over their cries? I tell you He will give justice speedily.
Now this seems to go against Jesus’ theme of the story, that we ought to keep praying and not to lose heart. But, remember God’s timing is not the same as ours. (See 2 Peter 3:8-9) With Him, time is not a part of the equation. A millennium is like a day in His layout and scope.
And according to Isaiah 55:8-9, His thoughts and ways are not like ours – they are way higher, way beyond our understanding.
And also, as in Daniel 10:12-13, when the prophet had prayed in earnest, the answer was sent right away, but there was fierce Satanic interference for 21 days until the mighty Archangel broke through. (See also Ephesians 6:10-12)
So, pray always, earnestly, continually, persistently, and don’t lose heart. God WILL answer.
Luke 18:1-8 — And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
2 Peter 3:8-9 — But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Isaiah 55:8-9 — For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Daniel 10:12-13 — Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia,
Ephesians 6:10-12 — Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
ESV Text Edition® (2016).
The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.
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