This morning, our pastor preached on the parable of the unjust judge.
I’ve never understood that parable until today. He did a great job of explaining it. Here is the passage:
18 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Jesus tells his disciples this parable because “they ought always to pray and not lose heart.”
It’s easy to lose heart. It’s challenging to keep “heartened”. I’ve lost heart this past week. It’s easier to not lose heart when things are going the right direction. And things were going the right direction. Had been going the right direction for quite awhile. I got comfortable. Complacent. Foolish. And my reliance on God diminished.
I’ve “preached” here how important it is to fight for joy, to look for joy, to keep up courage when things get challenging. But this past week as challenges have mounted, I’ve not listened to myself I guess, because I have found myself “losing heart”. What does that look like? Discouragement. Going backwards. Returning to old vices and addictions. And it compounds itself because there is anger at the self for allowing the self to fall back.
I watched my boys, the Kansas City Chiefs, play today online. Losing heart is like being in a 4th and inches situation, so the logical thing to do is to push up the middle and gain that 1st down. However, the other team sometimes will transform into an non-penetratable brick wall that actually pushes the ball handler backwards, losing ground. (I know. It’s a sports analogy. I’m pretty impressed myself. And by the way, the Chiefs are up 9-0)
So I look at this parable and for the first time, I understand that the purpose of the “unjust judge” as a character in this story is to show the complete opposite of our God. And then I read Jesus’ response:
7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
And I find myself frustrated with Jesus’ response “Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily.” And I want to say the following things:
- What exactly is considered justice? Because what I consider justice must not be it.
- Jesus says God will not delay long over them. And yet I know many cases where justice does not come speedily. I know friends who are in dire need of justice from God and yet the justice seems very delayed. And there are incidents in my own life, where I don’t see God providing speedy justice. Why is this so?
- God gives justice to the elect. What does this mean? Does it mean that He gives justice to believers, because I know many non-believers who seem to receive justice long before friends of mine that are believers do.
And I could go on.
There are times when I cry to God day and night, like this passage says. And He remains silent, which seems to contradict this passage. There are things in my life that I know will not receive justice until heaven or Christ’s return. That does not seem speedily.
But then I have to stop myself in my tracks. I have to remember-preach to myself-that God’s ways are not my ways. And the ugly pride and stubbornness that seems to continually plague me wants to argue with God over this. Wants a fight. Wants to debate. But my God does not fight back. He will not debate me. Instead He remains sovereign, which sometimes means withholding answers when I demand them.
God is sovereign. God is sovereign. How many times am I going to have to remind myself of this fact?
So tonight, I turn to Isaiah 55:8, a verse that is easy to memorize and one that I in my stubbornness need to keep close at hand:
There really is comfort in this verse. I don’t want God’s thoughts to be my thoughts, because I know my thoughts are sinful. Imperfect. Just plain wrong. And I certainly do not want my ways to be God’s ways! That would be a disaster, because my ways lead to nothing but failure and disappointment.
No. I want God’s thoughts and God’s ways to reign. Even when I don’t understand.
Even when I don’t understand.