Dear Student of the Word,
It's time to revisit our ongoing devotional study of Luke's gospel, this time looking at Jesus' responses concerning the "day of the Lord" and then a few parables. We finish up with the man coming to ask Jesus what he had to do to gain eternal life. In today''s seven-part installment, this is what I wrote in part four (the entire study can be downloaded below - all questions are in bold letters to help you apply what you read):
Study Twenty-Five, Part Four
2 He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.' 4 "For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!'" 6 And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
18:2-6 – The lesson of this parable is to pray and not give up. It is not a story about God’s love for widows of the hard hearts of judges. It is a story about prayer.
It seems that the picture painted here is of someone who is shameless in their constant appeals to a superior authority who can help them. This woman pestered the judge and he finally gave in. Of course, that is not how God is. He doesn’t finally give in because He is tired of hearing from you. As you seek Him, He builds something in you that enables you to face future trials. He teaches you about faith, perseverance, and trust, and you appreciate the answer to your prayers more when you have worked and waited.
At times, God delays so that you don’t easily slip into an attitude that He is there to serve you quickly and at all times. Have you ever prayed for something fervently, only to look back and realize how selfish the request was? Weren’t you happy then that God didn’t answer, or He answered by saying “no?” But then there are other things that truly matter, vital spiritual issues and true spiritual riches that are worth pursuing and giving your life for. For those things, you must persevere in faith and prayer.
18:7&8 – There is one word in these two verses that I struggle with, and that word is “quickly.” I have learned that God’s definition of quickly and mine are entirely different. I may think that quickly involves two weeks; God may be thinking two years. I may be thinking two years; God may be thinking 10 years. The key here is to align my definition with God’s and then to keep on praying.
Jesus asked a good question at the end of the parable: “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Let’s personalize this question: If the Son of Man came today, would He find faith in your home? In your church? In the area of the church in which you serve? In your business? In you?
How would He determine whether there was faith? One way would be whether or not you are praying for something without giving up, because that is the lesson of this parable.
Earlier we talked about increasing your time in prayer. Now, why not take a look at your prayer list (I assume you have one—if not, why not compose one now?)? What items need to be reinstated that were there previously? Have you given up about something that needs to find its way back into your prayer life today? If so, write it down and keep on praying.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the daily devotional entitled The Leadership Walk. Thank you and I hope you continue to enjoy this study of Luke's gospel from God's word.