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1. And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
2. Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3. And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5. Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
7. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
8. I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
This is a parable of real contrast; a description of an unjust judge. Then he is compared and set over against God, and there is no comparison of course. Then there is the story of a widow. She is compared to us and our need to cry out to God. I want us to look at these contrasts that are given to us tonight in this respect and try to determine what the real message of this passage really is. I think Jesus sets forth in the very first part of the first verse what the real message is all about here. People ought to always to pray. Their lives should be one of prayer, that it should be a lifestyle of prayer. Not just so that we can give reports to people of how many hours a day we pray, but an entire lifestyle where the heart is open to God and reaching up to God. Things we do show that we have our hearts set on God and our minds on Him and reaching toward His will and reaching toward His word to understand Him better and better and more and more. He is saying that prayer is appropriate for all times, all ways. This whole way of living your life where you are open to God and there is communication, there is worship and praise, and prayer and petition from your own heart as Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer. Then there is a very direct connection and response from the Father because of this relationship between us and Him.
It is the picture of closeness. It is the picture of a Father who is constantly keeping his eye on his children and is aware of their needs and he knows beforehand what they have need of before they even pray. He is just waiting for them to come with boldness before His throne. He is waiting for communication. He is waiting for our approach.
That strikes a streak of glory in my soul to think that He is waiting on us just to approach, to come. He has made it so plain and so clear. We come in Jesus’ Name. We come with boldness to the throne and here is how the Father is waiting for us.
We are told first of all of a woman who had a special need and she came to this man who we learn later is an unjust, a dishonest, judge. Let’s look at him for a minute. He is one of the main characters in this scene that we want to look at. This judge is exactly opposite to what he is supposed to be. He is exactly opposite to what he should be from the pages of the Holy Word because there are certain kinds of regulations and instructions for judges in Israel. If you would compare for example Exodus 23, verses 6-8, the judge is not to rest judgment from the poor. He is to keep back from false charges. He is not to execute or kill some innocent purpose. He is not to take bribes. His judgment and what he renders is not to be influenced by the amount of money that he can get. That is spelled out very, very clearly in the Old Testament as far as judges are concerned in Israel.
Here is a man who is exactly opposite to that. In the first place, this judge does not fear God. He does not honor God. He doesn’t even look to God. He doesn’t regard Him, who indeed is the greatest judge of all. He does not seem to be aware that one day he will come under the judgment of the Almighty God and have to give an account. He has no sense of accountability that he has to give to God or anybody. He doesn’t have any respect for human beings. You can read the Bible all the way through and any time you see any person or any group or any nation that does not have respect for human beings and human life, they come quickly and swiftly under the divine sovereign judgment of Almighty God. He moves very swiftly to bring down judgment upon people who do not regard other human beings and their rights.
Read the messages of the prophets. For example, Amos and his oracles to foreign nations. Every one of those nations that engaged in something like slave trade or they sold the poor just for a pair of sandals or they mistreated people like they were just property and they didn’t have the image of God within them, God moved upon them drastically in a very determined way to simply show His sovereign will against that kind of treatment to human beings.
When we get to the place that we cannot regard human beings regardless of who they are and we have no respect for them, that is dangerous ground. God loves the whole world, not just certain kinds of people. We may consider abusing people that God loves, that is dangerous.
This man had no regard for human beings, the exact opposite of what he is supposed to be. He acts only in his own self-interest. His judgments and his rulings on a particular case are determined by the size of the bribe that he gets. Yet, here is a woman who keeps coming to him. She knows what kind of a man he is. He gives her the silent treatment all the time. He wants to get rid of her and yet she has a complaint. She needs to be avenged of her enemy. Somebody has done her a severe injustice and she wants justice. This woman wants relief and she wants help from this problem and injury that she has had. Then out of his own selfish interests, finally the unjust judge says Though I don’t fear God and I don’t regard man, and I certainly don’t pay any attention to this widow and her need, yet because she keeps coming and troubling me, I’m going to grant her request and rule in her behalf so I don’t have to put up with her any longer and she won’t have to take any comfort away from me. It is purely selfish interest that he grants her request and rules in her behalf in this case.
Most of the time we don’t see this man in absolute direct contrast to our heavenly Father, but I want us to do that right now. I used to read this and think What’s the matter with God? Does He want to just string us along? Is He some kind of God that we have to keep hammering and hammering and knocking and knocking and knocking? I used to try to see God in this unjust judge. I could never see Him in there, because he is not representative of God. No. The Bible says that God will avenge His chosen people. He will fight their battles for them and will see that they get justice. Hallelujah! Now that does me a lot of good. That is totally opposite to this unjust judge. God is looking down and He knows your life and mine. He knows when we are mistreated and when we don’t get justice. He knows when things are not right. He knows when people persecute His people. He knows the enemies to His people and His church. He knows about all that. He has a way of avenging. He has a way of moving in judgment.
Sometimes it is longsuffering. Sometimes it takes a while. Some of Amos’ prophecies concerning the nations, it took a hundred years for some and over a hundred years for others before they came to pass. Amos had long ago departed from the scene. But as far as Amos was concerned, when he read them and spoke them it’s as good as done. The prophet spoke in what is called the prophetic tense which means that though it may happen in the future, they speak as if it has already been seen, that it is already done. They speak as if it is past tense and has already happened. For them, it is as good as happened when God speaks to them that way.
That’s the way it is with God and His judgment and the way He works and the way He moves. Praise God! He sees what is in the future. He will bring judgment. Sometimes He brings judgment when we are already off the scene. Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. One day judgment will come. You can mark God’s word. Be not deceived. God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Judgment comes. That gives me comfort because I can just turn those rough cases over to Him and say Ok God, it’s in your hands. You take care of it. You can turn it over to God. You know He is better than any lawyer, better than any law enforcement system, better than any FBI or Secret Service. He knows what goes on and He knows when and how to make His move so as to give glory to God and do whatever He desires. He is still on the throne and He still controls.
Not only will He avenge His people, but He hears their cries day and night. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the suffering that is going on in this world, the injustice, the killing and the slaughter and the wars. Sometimes you don’t even know how to pray and all you can do is come back to the Lord’s Prayer and say Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. That’s about all you can wrestle with in praying because we don’t even know how to pray. But for God’s people who keep crying out to Him around this world, He comes moving in power and judgment. Because people prayed, the Iron Curtain fell. Because people prayed, the German wall fell. I tell you, God moves in His own time in His own way and He listens and He hears the cries of people who cry out to Him. No wonder Jesus said you ought always to pray. Keep on praying because sometimes He may be longsuffering with you as long as the answer. Most of the time, however, He answers speedily. Even though He is longsuffering, it says here He will avenge them speedily.
This is the main point of this message tonight: you don’t have to go to God like this woman kept going to an unjust judge. You don’t have to bait Him up and you don’t have to pay Him off. You just come as He has invited us to come. Come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy to help in time of need. That’s when you come, in the time of need. Sometimes you don’t have time to pray. In an emergency situation you just immediately cry out to God.
God is not some hard hearted kind of indifferent person who has no regard for human beings. He looks with understanding upon people with their needs. He sees suffering hearts and worried minds and He understands dilemmas and puzzles and He knows when people need direction and they need help, and He answers speedily. He comes quickly. All He wants you to do is to believe in Him.
Jesus is saying if somebody so evil and wicked would finally do something good just for his own selfish nature, how much more would your heavenly Father avenge His own elect that cry out to Him? Even though sometimes He bears long and suffers long and waits through some things, yet He says He will avenge them speedily. God is a God who answers prayer quickly!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Oh, I feel the anointing of the Holy Spirit!
I know there are times when in my own life the Lord needed to work some things out in my own life and He let me pray awhile. That may happen, but the general rule is, He answers speedily. He answers quickly. He is waiting to hear your cry. He is waiting for you to ask.
Let’s look at the contrast between the widow and us. The woman was not asking for vengeance. She was asking for justice for herself. She was willing to let the court or the judge’s action take care of the person who had wronged her. It is not our place to ask for vengeance. God has said Vengeance is Mine, I will repay. Don’t worry about it. You mark it down. God will pay. She was just asking for justice for herself. She had a determination in her heart to keep going and pressing her case. She was persistent, relentless because she knew she was right and she wanted things to be set right. She kept going. She wants things set straight. Whether or not she gets it exactly like she wants it as far as her enemy is concerned, that’s not her main problem. If you read the book of the Psalms, about a third of them are what is called Laments. In many of those laments, David or somebody else is really asking God for a little more than justice. Sometimes they are asking for God to beat up on their enemies. One time, David even prayed and asked for God to break his jawbone. Well I guess God understands that kind of praying too. Our purpose in prayer is not to tell God how to bring judgment and bring vengeance. Our purpose is to be sure that things are working good for us according to His divine will.
What about us? Jesus said you have an alternative in your life. You can pray or you can live a faint-hearted life. If you keep this openness in prayer and you pray always, you don’t have to faint. I don’t know exactly what causes people to faint. I think I get the idea that it is a spell of weakness that comes upon you and you lose control and you have not strength. You just black out. Jesus is saying occasions like that come to you in your life. You ought to pray and keep this prayer life going to keep from having fainting spells! He is saying you can build up by your openness to God and walking with Him and walking in prayer and walking in faith and you don’t have to faint. He is talking to people who are living in hard times and troubled times when it is hard to live right and when there are many, many who went back and who no longer walked with Jesus. They thought it was too hard. They thought the Christian life was too much trouble. We are living in the same kind of days when it is difficult to maintain a positive attitude of faith and maintain a bright, glowing testimony. But Jesus says you ought to pray and not faint. Prayer is the antidote to fainting! Prayer is the antidote to losing faith and losing your strength and just blacking out.
We are to pray believing that God will answer quickly, that He is wanting to hear us, that He wants to answer, that He will come on the scene and He is, in fact, just waiting for us to come to receive. He is ready to give.
Yes, we ought to pray because we have a heavenly father who wants to hear us pray and He wants to answer our prayers and do that speedily. We do not have a heavenly Father that is like the unjust judge that you have to keep pounding and pounding and try to bribe. He just wants us to ask Him right out of His mercy and His lovingkindness because that’s the way it comes.
Please stand for the closing prayer.
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