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An Unrighteous Judge And A Loving God

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
–Matthew 7:11

To illustrate why we should pray at all times, Jesus told this story in Luke 18: “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent’” (vv. 2-3). In Jesus’s day, a widow was the most defenseless member of society. She had lost her financial provider. She had lost any advocate or protector she had. So this widow kept coming to the judge and begging for legal protection.

Verses 4-5 say, “For a while, he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’” This judge did not care one thing about the widow, but she kept coming and coming until finally he said, “I give up! I am going to give her what she wants so that she will leave me alone.” He was not motivated by conscience or compassion; he was doing what was best for himself. Nevertheless, he relented, and the widow got what she wanted.

Was Jesus saying that prayer is about twisting the arm of an unwilling God? No. This is not a parable of comparison; it is a parable of contrasts. First of all, there is the contrast between God and the unrighteous judge. Look at verses 6-7: “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect?” This judge was unrighteous and uncompassionate. Is that what our heavenly Father is like? No! Jesus was saying if an unrighteous and uncompassionate judge can be motivated to do the right thing, how much more will your loving, heavenly Father be motivated to do what is right for you?

The second contrast in the parable is between the widow and God’s elect. The widow was a complete stranger to the judge, yet he was motivated to act in her interest. How much more will God do for those of us who are His elect? The moment you trust in Christ as Savior, your status changes from being an enemy of God to being a child of God. You enter God’s forever family. Ephesians 2:19 says, “You are no longer strangers or aliens, but you are . . . of God’s household.” The widow had no standing before the unholy judge, but we have the privilege of speaking to a heavenly Father who loves us and acts in our best interest.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Persistent Praying” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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