In Bible times, widows were often the most helpless and vulnerable of all people. With no defender, protector, or provider they were often pushed to the fringe of society and overlooked. More often they struggled  to make ends meet. It is still true today. There was a recent report I saw concerning rip-offs by businesses, such as overcharging and other forms of financial deception. The top two groups swindled were widows and single mothers. This flies in the face of God’s commands in Exodus 22:22~”Do not take advantage (עָנָה `anah) of the widow or the fatherless. (NIV) This is to mistreat, afflict, or exploit.

In our parable, the judge has no concern for the plight of the poor widow and repeatedly refuses to render her justice (18:4) However, the widow refuses to give up because persistence is her only resource. Have you ever thought about persistence as a resource. When looking for a job, finding the right car or house to buy, even the right school to attend. For some persistence kept you from making a terrible choice in marriage.  By definition persistence—firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. Luke 18:1~And he told them…that they ought always to pray and not lose heart (ἐκκακέω ekkakeō). (ESV) He said don’t be…utterly spiritless, wearied out, or exhausted.

The judge realizes the widow will not leave him alone. Therefore, he says to himself that because the widow keeps bothering him, he will give her justice. He doesn’t want to be worn out with her constant requests (18:5). The point of the parable is not that God has the same attitude toward us as this judge, who is wearied by the visiting widow. No, this is a parable of contrasts. Rendering the point of this parable is, if persistence is effective with an unjust judge, how much more will it be effective with God, who is the righteous Judge?

The Power of Persistence

We have been learning to listen for the last two months, as we walked with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Today, as we wrap up our series we look and listen to why answers are delayed. Have you ever prayed about something and it seemed God was in no hurry to answer? Some mistakenly believe, if they just pray the prayer of faith, the answer will come instantly, or at least it will show up in the mail, marked priority. However, kingdom living requires that we understand God’s timing is different and it can feel as though answers are delayed. This thought hanging on the wall of your mind is precisely the introduction we need to consider the parable of the persistent widow. Luke 18:1~Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. (NLT)

Understanding why God sometimes delays answers to our prayers requires two actions: Remember and Research. So to help us Remember, let’s read the parable. Luke 18:2-3~“There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ (NLT) Luke 18:4-5~The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’ (NLT). 

Luke 18:6-7~Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? (NLT) Luke 18:8~I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith? (NLT) This parable is about a judge who lived in a certain city and neither feared God nor respected or cared about people. Jesus says there was a widow in the town who kept saying to him,—Give me justice. This shares how with us how time and again she has come back to him and asked, begged, pleaded her case against her adversary—(18:2-3).

God’s Guide

Be spiritually rich (12:21). Jesus applies the parable by saying in Luke 12:21~Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God (NLT). If we want to avoid being a fool, then we are going to have to become rich, toward God. This means we are making spiritual investments in our lives, accumulating, building, and engaging in opportunities that God provides. A fool spends all their time storing up treasure for themselves and neglects to become rich toward God. Being rich toward God includes giving back to God. Proverbs 3:9~ Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; (NIV).

When we give our tithes and offerings, we are showing honor to God. We are also reminding ourselves who has provided and given us the ability to gain wealth Deuteronomy 8:18~But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today (NIV). That is Ole Mo, reminding us God is Jehovah Jireh. Being rich toward God is also being generous to those in need. Referring to what believers are to be taught, Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:18~ Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share (NIV). When we do that, the next verse says we are storing up treasure for the future, or heaven. 1 Timothy 6:19~In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life (NIV). Where we give and how much we give reveals how much treasure we are storing up in heaven. Our Takeaway: Our attitude toward possessions reveals our true priorities. The way we live, and the way we give shares with the world the placement of our hearts. Don’t just take my word for it, listen to Jesus in Luke 12:34~Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be (NLT). Where is your heart today? Are you a good citizen of the Lord’s kingdom? Perhaps you’d like to have a chat with the Lord today, He is ready for you to come to Him.