Scriptures: Matthew 6:6-8, Luke 12:32, Romans 14:17, Matthew 18:6, Luke 18:6-8, Luke 18:1, Romans 8:31-39
Life goes crazy sometimes. Our region went through the Noble Tri-State Crematory nightmare. More people than one would think were effected by that horror. At some point in our lives we wonder, "God, where are you? Do you care about me and about my loved ones?" Today I want to tell you that God is for you. It may seem that he is not out there or simply doesn't care about you, but God is for you.
In Luke chapter 18, Jesus told us a parable about a judge. That judge did not care about people. Neither did he fear God. Those are horrible attitudes for a person set in a seat of judgment. One would think that a judge would care about doing the correct thing toward people, but not this judge. He didn't care about people. Another person in this parable was a widow. Jesus said that she kept coming to the compassion lacking judge and pleading with him saying, "Grant me justice against my adversary." Obviously she didn't have a husband for she was a widow. Someone had taken advantage of her and she was forced to this merciless judge. She had no one that could help her. She went to the only person who could help and that was the crooked judge.
That judge didn't want to help that widow. What was in that for him? He didn't fear God. So, he was not concerned about doing the right thing morally. He didn't care about people. So, he wasn't concerned about helping the widow on humanitarian grounds. He doesn't give a flip about this widow. What was the widow to do? She needed something done and only that cruel judge was the only person who could help her.
The judge rejected her plea and sent her out of his courtroom. The Bible says she bothered the judge. She was interrupting him. She was taking his time. She was an annoyance to him. She aggravated him. Her only recourse was to pester him. She decided that she would pester that insensitive, callous, unfeeling judge until he avenged her and answered her request. So, she did. Every time he would turn around, there was that widow. In the morning, there was that widow. At night, there was that widow. In his courtroom, there was that widow. Day in and day out and month in and month out she bothered him. Finally the hard hearted judge gave in and said, "Okay, okay, I give up." I will do it because you are wearing me out.
So, what is the moral of the story? Pestering pays off, right? It pays to pester God. At least that is what every Bible commentary I have, and every Bible teacher I have heard teach Luke 18, says the moral of the story is about. They say that if you have a problem that only God can solve, and if he is reluctant and compassion less and insensitive to your needs, pray harder, pray longer, pray louder, and pester God until you wear him down. If you stick with it long enough, you will finally wrench a blessing from his tight-fisted hand.
How does that interpretation feel to you and to your spirit? Does it feel right or is something wrong with that interpretation? My commentaries say that the judge represents God and we represent the widow. Therefore, that must be what Jesus is teaching, right?
My problem is that it contradicts everything else Jesus taught us about the Father. Every other place Jesus taught that the Father loves us and desires to bless us. Let me show us a few thoughts.
Matthew 6:6 says, ". . . thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
Matthew 6:8 says, ". . . your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."
Jesus said to not worry about things like food and clothing. Father God will make certain that he takes care of us (Mat 6:25). He said look at the birds. God takes care of them. Look at the lilies in the field. God clothes them (Mat 6:28). Does that sound like a God we have to pester and bother and beg until finally he gives in to you? The truth is that Father God wants to give us everything. In fact, the Bible says that God gets great pleasure out of giving to us.
Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
It is God's pleasure to give to us. He wants to give us everything. He wants to give us the kingdom. That means a happy joyful life.
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Father wants us to be done right. Father God wants us to have a peaceful life. Father God wants us to have a joyful life. If we are done wrong, God will take care of it. Listen to what Jesus said.
Matthew 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
God is for us! Don't mess with his people. He is already at work before we even pray.
So, what is the meaning of Luke 18 and the unjust judge? Allow me to show you something in that passage.
Luke 18:6 And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says.
Luke 18:7 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?
Luke 18:8 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 told this parable as a contrast. It's a continuum of contrast. The unjust judge is a contrast to Father God, not a type of him. God loves people. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son . . ." (Joh 3:16). God is not too busy to love on us. Jesus asked, "Will he keep putting them off?" The answer is, "No!" Jesus said that God will not only bring justice, but bring it quickly.
Another contrast is the widow with the chosen ones. The widow is not a type of you and me. She is a contrast, not a type. She was not a chosen one. She had no relationship with the judge. You and I are chosen ones! We are God's children. You and I will get justice quickly.
I was talking to Judy, my wife, this week about this message. She said, "You know what Delbert? Every time that we needed this ministry defended, God did it. Every thing that attempted to harm the ministry and destroy our lives, God moved for us. We prayed. We kept our hearts right. We didn't talk about people. God has always avenged us."
I use that to tell you that God is for you. God loves you. You are chosen ones. He will take care of you. You don't need to feel that you must beg and pester and bother God. It is his good pleasure to give you everything about his kingdom.
The parable is to encourage us to pray.
Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
The parable is not to discourage us from praying. However, if I had been that widow, I would have given up. I tell you. If I believed that I had to wear God down every time I needed him to listen to me, I just wouldn't pray. If I really thought that each time I pray, I was wearing God down a little more then I would not pray. If I really believed that I bothered God when I prayed, I wouldn't pray. If I really believed that I had to wrench a blessing out of his fisted hand, I wouldn't pray and neither would you. At least you wouldn't pray always. Jesus is teaching us to pray and that God will bring justice and bring it quickly. God does not keep putting us off his chosen ones.
Then Jesus ended the parable with these words. "However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" Obviously, there is something here that people have difficulty having faith to believe. What is it? It is they believe that God is reluctant to hear our prayers and reluctant to quickly move on our behalf. Where is your faith concerning this? Will Jesus find in you and me faith believing that God desires to hear us? Do we believe that God has great pleasure in blessing us? Do we really believe that God is for us? Or do we believe that we are more like the widow, a bother to God? Where are you in that continuum? I want to nudge you today to move a little. I want us to move away from the judge and toward the Father. I want us to move away from the widow and toward the chosen ones. You and I need to decide for what kind of faith is Jesus looking.
Have you ever heard someone pray one of those prayers where they say something like this? "O God. I know I am just a maggot. I know I am the scum of the earth. I know that I have no right to ask you for anything, but, O God, please, I beg you, have mercy on me . . ." Somebody needs to slap you if you pray a prayer like that. I am kidding, sort of. That is not a faith prayer. That will not move a grain of sand, much less a mountain. We are children of the most high God. We are not beggars and maggots. God is for us! Let's look at Romans 8:31.
Romans 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Paul said, "What, then, shall we say . . ." Paul has spent pages developing this thought in his letter to the Romans. What else could he say? How else could he say it? God loves us. Paul said that God is for us. God loves us so much that he did not even spare his own son. If God would give his son, then why would he not give us all things? Not only has he been for us, he will continue to be for us. He gave his son and will continue to give us all things. If God loved us so much that he willingly gave his own son, is he going to make us beg him for a favor? Paul says come on, be real, think.
God is for us. If God is for us then what or even who could be against us? Paul continues in Romans 8:33.
Romans 8:33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
Who can bring an accusation against you and get by with it? The answer is no one can because God is the judge and he has chosen us. If that's not enough, our elder brother is sitting at the right hand of God to back up what the Father says. God is for us!
Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
We can't fail. God is for us! Nothing can separate us from God's love for us. Look at this.
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
Paul doesn't say that the enemy will not try to condemn us. In fact, there will be trouble. There will be hardship and persecution and famine and nakedness and danger and war. However, nothing we go through is able to separate us from the love of Christ. Can any trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or war separate us from God's love? God is for us! Paul says,
Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
It's God's love that make us conquerors. It's through his love for us, his chosen ones, that we are well able to conqueror. I like the thought of "super conquerors." We are actually super heros through his love because God is for us! There is no circumstance in life that we cannot have the victory over. The enemy comes, but because of his love, we win every time.
Because of the love of God for us and the super power the believer has through that love, Paul was beside himself. He takes off saying,
Romans 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
Romans 8:39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul says nothing can will separate us from God's love for those in Christ Jesus. Paul says death can't do it. Death only puts us more in that love. Life doesn't separate us because God is our love source. The enemy comes, but love is greater.
Paul goes off and actually doesn't make a lot of sense. He says angels can't separate us. Well, why would they? Demons can't separate us from his love. The present nor the future can't. No power can separate us from his love. Paul said height can't separate us. Height? What is he talking about? No one knows. Depth can't separate us from God's love. What's he talking about? No body knows. Paul says any created thing. Paul is preaching and rolling. He says to think of anything. There is nothing that can take us out of God's grasp.
God desires to fix things. God is for us. God is for you. He is already working on your stuff. Some today are going through things. We want to pray for you. He wants you to overcome. One day we will all go through stuff. He wants us to know in advance that he is working for us. Pray. Never stop praying. God will move quickly. He is working because nothing can separate us from God's love.