Summary: "And shall God not avenge his own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?"
Theme: God will see justice done to those who cry to him
Text: Exodus 17:8-13, 2 Tim. 3:14-4:2; Lk. 18: 1-8
Today’s parable comes across as a very simple lesson about persistence. It teaches us that persistence achieves results. Looking back at our own childhood or at our children we will all realise the importance of persistence in learning to walk. The child does not just get up one morning and start walking. The child has to learn how to walk. He or she takes the first steps usually holding on to something and we have tried to make it easier by providing so-called walkers. After many failures they finally get the hang of it and they begin to walk. One inventor failed on many occasions but persisted. He persisted because in his own words he only viewed each failure as a lesson on how not to do it. It is really true that if at first you don’t succeed you should try and try again. One very important area in life where we should apply this principle is in prayer. This parable does not suggest, as some have mistakenly concluded, that God can be influenced or manipulated by stubborn, strong willed prayers. Through persistence in prayer we become more intimate with God. When we become more intimate with Him we will know His will and be obedient to Him. Then He can trust us with the answers to our prayers. If we ask God for an egg there is no point in Him giving it to us if we cannot take care of it and would let it to fall and break the moment we receive it. God knows what He is doing and He will see justice done to those who cry to Him.
God hears the cries of His people and He is not like the judge in today’s parable. In most parables depicting God, Christ uses the main character as a God-type. But here, the vain obnoxious Judge bears no resemblance to the compassionate and righteous God whom Christ taught us to call Father. By contrasting this man with God is to encourage us to trust the goodness and justice of God. If such a judge can see that justice is done, how can we doubt the willingness of God to see justice done to those who cry to Him? God truly is a righteous judge and does not need to be persuaded to bless. He cares for His people. The Scriptures declare that it is His good pleasure to give us the kingdom.
God is a just and righteous God who hears and cares for us. But He cannot just go ahead and do what He wants to do because He has decided to work with man concerning events on earth. In one of his book Paul Younggi Cho attributes the Churches’ conversion rate of 12,000 people per month to ceaseless prayer. When asked in an interview how he manages to head the biggest Church in the world his answer was very simple. "I pray, I listen, and I obey." To Paul Younggi Cho, prayer is what makes a difference. He understands and implements what the Scriptures teach about prayer and we can also learn from today’s parable. William Barclay commenting on this passage notes that the judge of this parable is clearly not a Jewish judge. This is because ordinary Jewish disputes were taken before the elders and not the public courts. The judge of this parable was probably one of the paid magistrates appointed either by Herod or by the Romans. Such judges were notorious and unless a plaintiff had influence and money to bribe he had no hope of ever getting his case settled. The widow in today’s story represents all those who are poor and defenceless. It was obvious that she, without resource of any kind, had no hope of ever getting justice from such a judge. But she had one weapon - persistence. God will see justice done to those who cry to Him. God will not do anything without man. We need to come to Him with our petitions and He will dispense justice.
God has given man authority concerning the affairs of earth. According to Genesis, God made man for a divine purpose and the whole earth was given over to man’s rule or dominion. Man was created to exercise dominion over all the works of God’s hand. He was to rule it, govern it and be head over it all. Nothing was left outside man’s dominion and God was bound for all time and eternity to honour His commitment. God does not change His mind. But man’s dominion was only possible when he walked in right fellowship and relationship with God. When Adam and Eve surrendered to Satan’s lie, they lost this dominion and instead came under Satan’s dominion. Under Satan’s dominion, they lost the right to rule. Satan took over their authority and power and now ruled man through the dominion of death. But God has restored this authority to man. In John 5:27, Jesus gives us an important revelation when He declares that the Father “has given Him authority to execute judgement also, because He is the Son of Man.” It was necessary for Jesus to be the Son of Man to receive this authority. God has invested so much in man. He gave him authority and dominion over all His creation. When Satan deceived man and he disobeyed God his dominion passed on to Satan. Christ however defeated him and restored man’s dominion. When man fell from his calling, the sceptre of dominion slipped from his hand and Satan picked it up and held it until Christ came to redeem it. The dominion of Satan was the dominion of death and Jesus had to die to gain access to that realm in order to subdue it. When Jesus triumphed over death, He was able to set free those held captives by death and hell. Through Christ’s triumph, God’s original intent and purpose for man was restored. God honours the dominion He has given to man and therefore waits for us to come to Him in prayer before He enters the earthly arena. God will not work on earth without someone who will work with Him. Let us through prayer discover God’s will and do what is necessary for it to be implemented on earth.