WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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THE WIDOW AND THE UNJUST JUDGE
(Persist in prayer and confidence in GOD’s justice)
In Luke chapter 18, verses 1-8, JESUS relates the, now famous, story of “the persistent widow”, as HE needed to illustrate the importance of “constant prayer to GOD”, to HIS disciples. Here HE gives us a vivid depiction of a pagan judge who is residing in a secular courtroom setting, perhaps, in Jerusalem. We can surmise this because, in the Jewish community, all ordinary disputes between the Israelites, such as this one, were always settled privately before a panel of Jewish elders, and not in a public forum.
Under Jewish law, even those disputes that were taken to arbitration had to be heard by a three-member panel, as one man could not constitute “a Court”. Three elders had to be chosen, one by the plaintiff, one by the defendant, and one would be appointed independently by a neutral, uninvolved source.
The judge in this particular parable, was one who would have been a “paid magistrate”, that was appointed, either by Herod, or, by some other Roman government official. These particular judges often had very unsavory reputations, and were often referred to as “Dayyaneh Gezeloths” in the Hebrew language, which translates to “Robber Judges” in the English.
The widow who is depicted in this parable is symbolic of all those people who were very poor and lacking in financial means or skills, to mount a decent courtroom defense. She represented those who had very little hope of getting justice from judges of this character. In the Roman courts, the more riches you had access to, the better your chances were of being successful in your litigations in a public forum.
This story serves to teach us “perseverance” and “patience” in our prayer life with GOD. GOD is not the “human judge” in this parable, who can be totally indifferent to the needs of the people. GOD cares very deeply about providing justice and provisions for HIS followers, and therefore, we can keep on praying, with confidence, whenever there is a “waiting period”. And we can be sure that GOD will deliver to us, justice and provisions, in the timeliest manner possible.
However, this does not mean that GOD will grant us everything that we “want” or ask for. The things that we pray for must also be within HIS Will. Oftentimes, GOD has to refuse our requests, because HE knows that, by granting it, it would do us more harm than good. That is why, when we say that “we want GOD’s Will to be done in our lives”, HE will test us with “a waiting period” so that we can gather our thoughts, which can help us to see, whether or not our requests, or petitions, are even GODly. Oftentimes we pray only in “an emergency situation”, and just as often, those prayers may not even be something GOD, in HIS holiness, will grant, because the prayer itself isn’t GODly.
Only GOD is able to see the whole of our lives in an instant, and only HE is able to know what’s good for us in the short run, and, in the long run. That is also why JESUS says that we must never be discouraged in our waiting for our prayers to be answered. We must first grow within our faith before we can be able to withstand the waiting, and understand whether or not our prayers are something that a holy GOD can grant to us, and still be holy. And, it would be good if we always remember that, the end to a perfect prayer has always been, “LORD, THY Will be done”.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website