Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tuesday's with Jesus #106

#106 "Just Keep Askin"
July 24, 2007
"Will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off?" (Luke 18: 7)
If you're a parent, can you recall times when your little angel bothered you so many times with a request that you finally just gave in and let the darling have their way? Jesus tells us the story of just such a situation. A story about a persistent widow and an unjust judge. This biblical passage is not hard to interpret. Jesus gives us the skinny right at the beginning. The interpretation is given in the first verse: "Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." 
The judge may have been a Roman magistrate who really had no interest in Jewish people's needs. He really didn't care about this woman's issues. But the Bible says that she kept coming. The Greek word, "ercheto", implies the imperfect tense, meaning that she kept coming over and over again. Over and over again she kept appearing in the judge's courtroom. She repeatedly came, looking for release from the injustices of her "adversary". It is interesting to me that the Greek word used here for adversary, is the same Greek word "antidikos" used for Satan, your adversary, in 1 Peter 5:8. The adversary that prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. You!
This lady is a bad mamma jamma. She's persistent. She's tenacious. She won't take no for an answer. She's got a "won't quit" state of mind. And she was rewarded by this judge, who didn't care about her, God, or anyone else. Not rewarded for her eloquence. Not rewarded for her influence because she had none. She was a widow with no man to defend her. She was rewarded for her persistence. Reminds me of David, who said, "But I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress and He hears my voice." (Psalm 55: 16-17) Persistent. Reminds me of Hannah, barren and provoked continually by Peninnah, who year after year prayed for a child. (see 1 Samuel Chapter 1) Tenacious. Reminds me of Jesus who prayed three times in the Garden of Gethsemene for the cup to be taken away. (Matthew 26: 36-44) Or Paul who prayed three times for the thorn to be removed from his flesh. (2 Corinthians 12: 7-9) Outstanding examples of persistent, tenacious, "won't quit" prayer. And of course, there was Jacob, in the championship wrestling match of the ancient world, wrestling with God saying, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." He went away with a permanent limp, but He went away with the answer to his prayers. (Genesis 32: 22-32) When was the last time you hung on to God and wouldn't leave Him alone, until He blessed you? Until He answered your prayer?     
Prayer is one of the mechanisms of relationship that God gives to us, His children to be in touch with Him. God may not need prayer, but we do. One of my commentaries says it this way, "He responds and listens to His children. He does not wind up the universe like a watch, as the deists of old argued. He does not merely send the universe ticking on its merry way and sit back to observe as an uninterested spectator; God relates to His creation. This is especially true when our prayers cry out for justice and righteous treatment of His children." (The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Luke. Darrell L. Bock)
This woman "bothered" the judge. She got on his nerves. She caused him trouble. Every time his tent was set up for judging, there she was. So he finally gives her what she asks. And if an unrighteous judge responds this way, how much more will a righteous God!  The judge is the total antithesis of our Heavenly Father. God is not bothered by you or by your prayers. The judge didn't care about her, but God cares about you. God loves justice. Psalm 11: 7 says, "For the Lord is righteous, He loves justice." And Jesus is the archenemy of your adversary, the devil. He loves to crush Satan's head with His mighty heel. Don't let your patience ever run out. The response may not come exactly when we want. We may have to wait for it. Just keep askin'. 1 Thessalonians 5: 17 says, "pray continually."
If it seems God hasn't answered your prayer yet, don't quit! The answer could be just around the corner. God's delays are not God's denials. Our sense of timing is flawed, but God's timing is impeccable. So pray persistently, and then wait patiently for His answer. One of the greatest men of faith in Christian history was the English preacher, George Mueller. He wrote these words about praying: "The great point is never to give up until the answer comes. I have been praying for 63 years and 8 months for one man's conversion. He is not saved yet, but he will be. How can it be otherwise? I am praying." George Mueller died and the man was still not saved. But as they lowered Mueller's casket into the ground, the man repented of his sins and trusted Jesus as his Savior–that's persistent praying!
I don't know what you're praying for today. I don't know how long you've been praying that same prayer. Is it for a marriage gone cold and sour? Is it for a child who causes you to lose sleep at night? Maybe your checkbook has all of its' lines written in red and the bills are stacked so high that you don't know where to begin. Perhaps you don't think that you can stand that pain in your body for one more day. Maybe you can't get that nagging feeling out of the pit of your stomach that you're just not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, or worth much of anything. The devil is a liar! Dr. Luke lets us eavesdrop today on a scene where our Savior is telling us to pray. Honestly, persistently, tenaciously and without ceasing. "The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5: 16) He will see that you get justice. 
If Jesus came today would He find you living by faith? Would He find you displaying confidence in Him by persisting in prayer? Would He find you waiting on Him? Remember that God's delays are not God's denials. Where will He find you when He comes? Biting your nails or on your knees? Worrying or worshipping? Remember that worry is worshipping the words of the adversary. Prayer is worshipping the God of the Universe. The God who, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, says to you....today.. "Take an example from this nagging woman...Just Keep Askin'."
Continually askin',
Donna Schultz
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