Found Faithful

Found Faithful

Words of Faith 11-16-18

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Luke 18:1 8

    Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. [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?"

 

       Jesus had just given a major teaching on the End Times, also called the Day of the Son of Man.  We are to be ready.  But what about people who are hurting or oppressed or who have experienced some injustice?

        Jesus was immediately sensitive to that which is unresolved and unfair in this time that we await His return.  He told a parable about how we are to respond to injustice.

        There was a judge who neither feared God or men.  Later, Jesus uses a word that means "unjust." He was not fair.  He was a worldly man.  He had no particular reason to do the right thing.  He may well have been turned only by a bribe or kickback.  

        There was a widow who "kept on coming" to him with her grievance.  Her grievance was an injustice against her.  And though it looked as though she would never find satisfaction, she kept coming and coming.  The Greek means "continually coming." Her plea was, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'   

        The judge refused for a while.  But FINALLY he said to himself, '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!' "  

       The Greek is interesting.  It literally means "so she won't blacken me under my eyes." The phrase may mean to be worn out with circles under the eyes.  It may also have been an expression that referred to being "shame faced." It would not be a stretch to say “so she won’t keep beating me up!” 

         Interestingly enough, Jesus compared God to this unjust judge.  "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?  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?"  

         Of course Jesus was not comparing to the "unjust" nature of this worldly man to God.  He was saying that even an unjust judge will render justice if the pressure is applied to him.  If you wear him down and if you threaten his reputation he will finally do the right thing.  How much more will your Father be willing?

        This teaching of Jesus touches on one of the most difficult areas of our faith.  What about injustice, the things that are wrong that should be made right?  What about the suffering of the innocent at the hands of the wicked, and the advantage of the unrighteous over the righteous.  What about the pain of the oppressed that never seems to be answered.   What about atrocities against Christians, against Jews, and against Arabs?  Atrocities against any and every one? These are the things in life that are painful just to think about. 

        The great and obvious injustice at the time of Jesus was the oppressive rule of Rome.  Through terrible taxation and brutal force, Rome ruled the land of Jesus with an iron fist.  Periodic slaughter of Jews by Pilate and the Herod kings were a constant reminder that Israel was not free from terror or tyranny.

          Part of the longing for the Day of the Son of Man is the longing for a day of justice.  As we noted last week we don't want justice without first justification.  We don't want the judgment of God without first having the atonement of Jesus.  But there is a sense in which we all wonder, how long, Lord, will the unrighteous go unpunished?  Jesus says there will be justice.  It will be quick.  It will come.  So don't give up. Pray.

        This teaching reminds us of Jesus' teaching on prayer in chapter 11:5 13.   A friend may not get up in the night to give you bread for any other reason than your persistence in knocking!   Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

         The powerful truth is that God answers prayer.  How much more even than earthly fathers does He desire to give good gifts to His children.  But this is still different.  This is not about general prayer.  This is not about general intercession.  This is a prayer for justice.   This is about the cry of our hearts for God to make right the things that are wrong in this world.  Listen to the cry of Habakkuk:

    [2] How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?

    Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?

    [3] Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong?

    Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.

    [4] Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails.

    The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

 

          And listen to God's answer: [5] "Look at the nations and watch-- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.

       God hears.  Are there things that you have experienced in life that are simply not just?  Not right?  Not fair?  Things that have happened to you or to your family that are just painful and there nothing that ever seems to make such things right?  God knows.

       How do we respond as we await the coming of the Lord?  We could give up on God and be cynical and apathetic.  We could just deny that the injustice exists and bury our heads in the sand.  We could become activists, or even plot a revenge.  But Jesus says to pray.

        Prayer may lead you to let go, but this is not complacence, or apathy, or cynicism.  Prayer may lead you to see with eyes of faith things that are not yet here.  Prayer may lead you to activism.  Prayer will never lead you to revenge (Romans 12:19). 

         But letting go, without prayer, is giving up.  Refusing to face injustice, without prayer, is denial.  Activism without prayer is folly.  So how do we pray?  Jesus said to pray FOR your enemies (Luke 6:27).  He said to pray for justice (Luke 18:1 8).  We pray for transformation.  How to we pray?  We pray with persistence. 

           Jesus ends this teaching in an interesting way.   "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?"

            For Jesus, the question is NOT whether there will be justice.  The question is whether there will be faith.  Will we still believe when He comes?  Or will we give up and take the denial route which is not real faith, or the activist route which does not trust Him or listen to Him, or revenge route?  Jesus is coming back.  Will he find faith on the earth?

 

          Father, may we be found persistent in our prayer and courageous in our faith.  May we be found faithful to the plan you have set out for us.  In Jesus' name.