The Widow and the Unjust Judge

Key Verse: “Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with┬áthem?”
—Luke 18:7

Selected Scripture:
Luke 18:1-8

IN TODAY’S LESSON, WE find Jesus giving another parable, in which he spoke of a widow who had suffered certain things of an “adversary.” She went to a judge in her city and pleaded with him to serve justice upon the one who had caused her suffering. Since she was not wealthy and could not bribe him, her repeated appeals to the judge were ignored. (Luke 18:2-4) It is not surprising that the Lord called him an “unjust judge.”—vs. 6

Because the unjust judge “feared not God, neither regarded man,” he paid little attention to the principles of righteousness, nor did he show consideration for his fellow man’s difficulties. Thus, he was unmoved by the complaint of the widow. Being careful regarding his own convenience, however, the judge finally meted out the justice she had requested, since by her constant coming to him she was becoming an annoyance. (vss. 4,5) Though he cared little for the woman’s plight, her persistence illustrated what Jesus wished to emphasize by the parable.

As we look at the lesson of the parable, Jesus did not wish to compare the unjust judge to God, but rather to contrast the two. If an unjust judge can be moved to action because of persistence by an individual in asking for justice to be served, how much more will a righteous judge. God is a righteous and loving Heavenly Father. If, in our lives, a matter of concern comes to us that in our judgment requires earnest and repeated prayers, and if the answer is not quickly given, we should never think that God is ignoring us. As a loving God, we can firmly trust to his wisdom and power with respect to our petitions, and to his guidance in all our ways.—Prov. 2:6-8; 3:6

In the opening verse of our lesson, Jesus says, “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” (Luke 18:1) This means that the abiding presence of the Heavenly Father and his Son is continually available to us. Their care and interest is constantly upon our behalf, and at any instant we may engage their special attention by means of prayer.

Proper prayer requires giving careful heed to the Lord’s Word. By asking according to that Word, by faith, we can have confidence in the results. We are to watch, pray, wait with patience, and watch still further for the answers from our Heavenly Father. By following these steps with regard to prayer, we will not only be heard, but the Lord’s answers will never be a disappointment to us, because we will count them as an indication of his will.

We are to recognize a distinct difference between coming repeatedly to God in earnest prayer and the “vain repetitions” of some. Jesus condemned such prayers, because they are not given out of the humility and meekness of a properly motivated heart.—Matt. 6:7

As stated in our Key Verse, when his “elect” cry to him in faith, our Heavenly Father is sure to hear and answer their prayers. Although he has permitted them at times to be maligned, slandered and misrepresented, he will bestow upon them, if faithful, “glory and honour and immortality.” (Rom. 2:7) Mankind, too, will soon have their oft-repeated prayer answered: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth.” (Matt. 6:10) For all of these answers to prayer, we render praise and honor to our loving Heavenly Father.