Our third text begins in the same teaching style when Jesus begins by exposing the erroneous, sinful view of God. Luke 18: 1-8 is a story designed to encourage prayer.
” Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. “
What makes the majority of people give up on prayer ?
The idea that God is uncaring, unjust and harsh !
Many people have an unhealthy fear of God, seeing Him as an unfair judge. This paralyses their prayer and makes them give up easily. Jesus exposes this wrong view in his opening lines describing this awful man.
” In a certain town “ – he might even have said ” In a certain mind-set ! “
” ..there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. “
Again this definition exposes the hidden lies that have wounded our perception of God. It couldn’t be further from the truth of a generous loving God who so cared for the world that He sent His one and only Son to suffer and die on a cross.
The ultimate caring !
A widow’s prayer request is also mentioned.
” Grant me justice against my adversary. “
Her plea is the universal cry for justice which has risen from broken, bereaved hearts since the earliest ages. Literally she is saying ” Give me justice against anti-justice. ” As well as being the voice of humanity she is also the voice of a Church, perhaps not yet fully understanding her inheritance as a Bride, yet interceding for justice against the great adversary Satan.
Sometimes, in reading this story, it seems that the judge is more of a problem than the widow’s adversary. Sadly, many people in the world seem to spend more time blaming God for injustice and adversity than blaming their true adversary Satan. True evil hides behind perverted perceptions of God.
Our ” judge God “ here is just as refusing as ” our asleep God “ in the last story.
” For some time he refused “
Refusing justice ! Unthinkable ! Even old Abraham knew better than that when he ” persisted “ in prayer to raise himself up to the level of God’s justice when he interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah.
” Will not the Judge of all the earth do right ? “ Genesis 18 :25
Again, the whole passion of Christ is a potent statement to God’s utter lack of procrastination in bringing justice to the world.
So are we to vainly pray for justice like some poor widow woman. Is prayer just about giving God a headache until he gives in ! Are we meant to simply wear God out with our superstitious mumblings and good works ! I remember hearing a famous preacher once say that many religious people he met seemed to be ” nicer than God ! “ Is our attendance at Church, added to our cultural morality, myriad masses and prayer chains designed to wear down God’s resistance until he finally gives in and answers !
” Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 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 ! “
Surely we can do better than this ! Jesus’ whole aim here is to expose our wrong legalistic perceptions and spur us on to faith. If an evil father can give food to his kids, and if an uncaring judge can finally give in, how much more, does God want to answer !
” Listen to what the unjust judge says. 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 ? “
It is at this point that you have to think back to the pantomimes you saw at school… ” Oh yes it is!…Oh no it isn’t “. You get the idea? The crowds around Jesus would be bursting to answer. ” No ! No !…Our loving God will not keep putting us off ! Even if the Romans are here, bringing injustice with every step, we know that Yahweh is not an unjust judge. “ And Jesus, having got them to a point of faith continues:
” I tell you, he will see that they get justice – big cheer from the crowd !, and quickly – even bigger cheer from the crowd !”
And then he delivers us our ultimate, deeply challenging punch line:
” However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth ? “
Will he find hearts freed from fear and unbelief, hearts which trust a loving Father who gives good gifts to those that ask. Will he find the faith that pushes through the apparent failures, lacks and contradictions of life, a faith that takes hold of Yahweh Jireh, God the Provider. Will he indeed find his chosen ones crying out in intercession, day and night, in full faith that their prayers for justice in the nations are being met and that deliverance is as quick and as sure as the rising dawn.
In reading these words and parables, the Holy spirit may have exposed deep wounds and lies that have distorted God’s generous beauty to your eyes. Allow these same words to gently encourage and heal and bring a fresh power and perspective on prayer and its certain answer !
Look to the cross, look to the heart of Christ and find total care, total Fatherhood, total commitment, total grace, total intimacy, total action and total love !
Oh yes he is…..!