A Bible Devotion

Thursday, May 16, 2024

The Unjust Judge

Jesus told a parable about a widow and an unjust judge which some have misunderstood. We need not harass God until He finally gives in and answers our prayers.

LUKE 18:1-8 NKJ 1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: "There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 "Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying,'Get justice for me from my adversary.' 4 "And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself,'Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 'yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.'" 6 Then the Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 "And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 "I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"

In verse one Jesus revealed why He told this story: to encourage us not to give up on prayer.

The idea that we must keep on begging God for the same thing until He finally answers -- instills no confidence and gives us no encouragement to pray!

God is not like the unjust judge. You do not have to come to Him repeatedly asking for the same thing until you finally convince Him.

Jesus is teaching persistence in prayer, but not persistence in praying for the same thing over and over.

The literal meaning of the word translated "lose heart" in verse one is "not give in to evil." It means giving up in view of difficulty.

Jesus' purpose in telling this parable was to impress on us that we must continue to pray to God and not give in to the evil we see around us. We should not be cowards who lose courage and quit praying. Jesus told us that was His purpose, so we should not try to extract another meaning from this parable.

Jesus' message is that God is nothing like an unjust judge, but infinitely better. So, if a poor widow can get help from a human judge who has no regard for what God thinks, much less what people think -- HOW MUCH MORE can we expect our wonderful Father God to provide help for us when we come to Him.

After telling the parable, in verse eight Jesus gives us His interpretation: God will answer quickly! So we don't have to approach God like this widow did the unjust judge!

It may seem to us that God is not answering our cries for help speedily. But Jesus said otherwise. God is working!

Although God actually answers speedily, from our human viewpoint the answer may seem delayed. I think Jesus is saying, "Don't let circumstances cause you discouragement. You can have confidence in God. When you pray He will listen and answer speedily. So keep on praying."

Why would people become discouraged and quit the practice of prayer? Only if it did not seem to work. If they always saw answers quickly, there would be no temptation to stop praying.

That is why Jesus told this story, so we would be encouraged to stand in faith no matter how long it took for the answer to show up. We can have faith because God is merciful, gracious, and dependable -- nothing like the unjust judge.

God does not have to be convinced or coerced to help you. God loves you and desires the best for you. You can expect God to speedily help you. And don't worry about people hindering your provision. If a poor widow can influence an evil judge to do right, how much more can your Father God influence people! So keep praying!

Why do answers to prayer not always manifest quickly -- even when God immediately grants our request. God does not violate people's freedom to choose. So, in answering our prayers, it may take some time for God to work with people to get them to change. But we can be confident that God is working on our behalf, even though we may not see any outward change yet.

Instead of thinking it does no good to pray, because God probably won't answer anyway, this story was told to make us think the opposite.

So, we are to pray in faith, and never doubt. We are to be confident and keep looking to God, knowing that God is working and our answer is on its way. When we know that, it would be foolish for us to "keep on asking" for the same thing over and over.

Jesus summary statement in verse eight, which concludes with a question about faith, has this idea: God will be faithful. You can count on Him. There is not any chance that God will not be faithful to answer the cries of His people. But will His people be faithful? Will they persevere in their faith in God?

Will they keep trusting God and believing in His goodness, even when it seems like answers do not always immediately come? Will people continue to believe what Jesus said, that God will answer speedily? Or will people give up and think it is useless to pray to God?

SAY THIS: God is not an unjust judge!


To hear audio teachings by the author of this devotional, click here.


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