What has happened in the last seven days? Some people made the news. Some people talked the news. Some people played sports. Some people talked sports. Some people went to the market. Some people stayed home. Some people had roast beef. And some people had none.
What will happen in the next seven days? Some people will make the news. Some people will talk the news. Some people will play sports. Some people will talk sports. Some people will go the market. Some people will stay home. Some people will have pulled pork. And some people will have none.
These are good things – also known as everyday living. And this is the view – good things; everyday living – in which to see Luke 18:1-8.
Do Not Give Up Prayer
Pay close attention to the first verse. “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” This is the most unusual verse in the Bible. Why? It is because Luke tells us that we are about to read a parable.
A parable is a story with a purpose. It is so that we remember a truth for everyday living. And remember what is true of everyday living. Everyday living is filled with good things. Food is a good thing. Marriag and dating – falling in love – are good things. Working for a living is a good thing. Planning for the future is a good thing. And yet “the good things in life can make us just as insensitive to the reality of God as the gross things in life can.”
Remember Lot’s wife. She perished not because she chose destruction over safety; judgment over salvation. She perished because she chose the good things in life over salvation.
Immediately after telling us to remember Lot’s wife, Jesus then tells us a parable. It is a truth for everyday living. The first verse (Luke 18:1) is unusual, this parable is unusual because we are told the point of the parable before reading the parable! This almost never happens.
I love this first verse. Jesus tells this parable “to the effect…” This is parable is to do something to us! What is it? “…that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” So, the reason for the parable is two things: 1) that we pray 2) and not give up prayer.
There is a lot said – sermons and books – about prayer or to help Christians pray. But what I find most troubling is the second part of the reason of this parable. Do not give up prayer.
What Do We Do When There is No Justice?
Think about it. When are Christians most likely to give up prayer? When have you most often given up prayer? It is zippity-do-dah, zippity-yay, everything is going my way. It is in the good things; the everyday living! And when is prayer most frequent? It is when good things sour.
And this is the parable. It takes place when the good things have soured.
The parable is about a judge and a woman. And it takes place in a certain city; the judge and the woman are in this certain city. The certain city is her home and his jurisdiction.
Now what do we know about the judge? He does not care about God or the things of God and he has no heart for people.
Now what do we know about the woman? She is a widow. She has no husband to help her, to stand with her or protect her. She has no one…except this judge.
And what has happened? Something has happened? Actually, two things have happened. First, she has been wronged. She mentions “my adversary” (v. 3). And second, nothings has been done about it. “Give me justice!”
Listen or look closely at verses three and four. The judge refused. He refused to give her justice. So, what did she do when there was no justice? There was no protest. There was no violence. There was no riot. She kept coming to him demanding justice. And he kept refusing – for a while.
When he was at work, she found him and demanded justice. When he was at home, she found him and demanded justice. When he was on Facebook, she found him and demanded justice. When he was shopping, dining, on vacation, she found him and demanded justice.
And finally, the judge gave in. She would not give up and he gave in. He was getting worn down and worn out because he could not escape her plea.
Listen to What the Judge Says
Listen to verse six. Jesus tells us to pay attention or “hear what the unrighteous judge says.” He gave in and gave her justice only because he tired of her. He did not care for her or for God. He only cared about himself. And Jesus says to pay attention to that.
And then Jesus asks three questions. Will not God give justice to his elect, his chosen, his people? And will he delay? Meaning, when he gives it, he gives it not in parts, but fully.
And the big idea is that God is not like the judge. When we pray, he is not like the judge. God’s heart is toward us! See Joshua 1:5 and Psalm 118:5-7.
And it is because when we pray, he is not a judge to us. He is our Father (cf. Luke 11:2). And this is why, even in the good things, we do not give up prayer.
But we are like the widow. See Psalm 73:25-28 and Psalm 121:1-8.
And this is why, even in the good things, we do not give up prayer.
But When Jesus Returns, What Will He Find?
But when Jesus returns, what will he find? Look at how this concludes. In light of this, Jesus asks, what will he find on earth when he returns? Will he find faith? Will he find his own, insensitive to the reality of God or will he find a people who cry out to him day and night?
It leads me to say this: we have time, in all the good things, to pray. We have 9:30 every Sunday morning. That is our time to pray together. We have our commute to work. We have our meal time. We have our leisure time. We have bed time. We have time as we wait to see him.
And so, as you pray, pray God’s Word. Take the words of Scripture and pray these back to God with your requests. And take everything to the Lord in prayer…and leave it there.