(Back) The Coming of the Kingdom The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Next)
This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Part of Lecture 39 given on April 15, 1976
18:1And he spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint; 18:2saying, There was in a city a judge, who feared not God, and regarded not man: 18:3and there was a widow in that city; and she came oft unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 18:4And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;18:5yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest she wear me out by her continual coming. 18:6And the Lord said, Hear what the unrighteous judge saith. 18:7And shall not God avenge his elect, that cry to him day and night, and yet he is longsuffering over them? 18:8I say unto you, that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
Now, Jesus goes on to give a very well-known parable in Luke 18:1-8. Very often this parable is misinterpreted, because some of the interpreters imply that Jesus' message is that loud and persistent importuning will wear down God's resistance and cause Him to give in to our requests, and you can see why some people would have that notion, even if they have not read this parable; from their own life experience, they may have observed when they stuck to it and kept imploring and kept begging - they get it. They got what they went after, and then they assume that that's the way to get it. If you are loud and persistent, sooner or later God will get tired of all this and you will get what you want. Of course we know that is not correct.
If that was the meaning of Jesus' parable, then it would require that the judge in the story symbolize God, and that can't be; because he does not. He symbolizes the very antithesis of God. What the God symbolizes is erroneous, hard-hearted human judgment in human nature. It says he feared not God and regarded not man. He could not be the symbol of God, as I have often heard it interpreted. He stands for hard-hearted and erroneous judgment in human nature. This is what must be worn down and made into and subjected to persistent importuning, so that there is some usefulness in loud, persistent importuning, not because of what it does to God, but what it can do to some of our own inner resistance, you see, and our own erroneous and stubborn viewpoints about God and about ourselves.
Jesus clearly states that God's responses to our prayers is an entirely different matter from the widow's effect on the judge. You notice Jesus compares God to this judge. Jesus states that God is long-suffering and that He will avenge them speedily. This is in contrast to human responses. God does never lose patience with human follies and weakness. God compensates and vindicates those who seek justice through prayer. This is a very beautiful and wonderful realization to keep in mind, that God does not ever lose patience with human folly and weakness.
God compensates and vindicates those who seek justice through prayer, and even if it is not justice that one is seeking, whatever one is seeking, if you find that you are not getting what you ask for, remember the Bible statement, "Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss," which simply means that there is something wrong with your asking, there is something wrong with your attitude in your asking. It is amiss. Then if you have to keep repeating, just remember that you are working to break down, not God, but your own amiss-ness. If you are faithful and persistent, sooner or later your persistence will find that point of amiss-ness. Wear it down and weaken it. Then God will get the chance to get through to answer your prayer.[TruthUnity note: One reader thinks that the word “God” in the Final statement of this paragraph needs to be changed to “judge.” If that was the meaning of Jesus' parable, then it would require that the judge in the story symbolize God, and that can't be; because he does not. He symbolizes the very antithesis of God. What the God symbolizes is erroneous, hard-hearted human judgment in human nature.]
Text of the original transcript of the last paragraph of p.236 through the 2nd paragraph of p.237.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on 04-09-2014