We have this week the parable of the importunate, or persistent, widow. Its purpose, said Luke, was to teach that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”
Christ Jesus said there was a judge who had no fear of God, and therefore had no concern for his fellow man. The judge most fit to deal with the matters of men is one who has reverence for God.
There was a widow living in the same city in which the judge presided. She came before the judge, saying, “Avenge me of mine adversary.” We must not misunderstand “avenge” as meaning the widow looked for revenge. A better translation of the word would be “grant me justice.”
The judge did not immediately grant justice for the widow. Jesus did not say how the widow persisted with the judge, but her determination resulted in the judge granting justice in the matter. He did not fear God and he had no regard for people, but he acted on the widow’s behalf “lest by her continual coming she weary me.”
Jesus was not saying we are like the woman, and He definitely was not comparing the judge to our Heavenly Father. Rather, He was saying we should pray without “fainting.” To faint means to lose heart, and believers are subject to lose heart amid trials and temptations.
Prayer should be a constant and continuing practice as we observe from the psalmist: “As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice” (Psalm 55:16-17).
If a judge without principles grants justice, then how much more will our righteous Father hear His children and respond to our prayers?
In that day, the widow really had no standing at all before the judge. Widows were usually among the poorest people, and being a woman meant she had no legal standing. In contrast to the widow, all believers are precious when we humble ourselves in prayer. Believer, you were bought by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord loves you just as much today as He did on the day our Savior hung on the cross.
God will grant justice to “his own elect,” Jesus said. We usually want an immediate answer to our prayers, but that is not always the way in which God works. In His wisdom, God sometimes delays in giving His answer. It is in those times that we must not faint, or lose heart.
One day we will understand why there was a delay, and we will know it was not because God did not hear us or that He did not care. We will know the delay was a time in which our Father was carrying out His plans that are much broader than we are capable of seeing right now.
God will defend and bless us. “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Christ Jesus asked. Will He find faith? Do not lose heart.
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. He can be reached at [email protected]