What Is A Father? A Father Is Patient
Full Service Video
The Parable of the Persistent Widow (Listen)
18:1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
My wife brought this book for Kaylee home from Library the other day: Llama, Llama Red Pajama. It’s a cute fun rhyme about a little llama who goes to bed and gets scared and starts calling for his mama. When his mama doesn’t come right away he starts shouting and pouting and stomping. It reminds us of the patience that is required of a parent.
Similarly our parable this morning reminds us of our Father’s patience with us His children. We are all too often like this little llama. We get angry and upset when our Father does not answer our prayers as quickly as we would like.
This parable shares many things in similarity to that with which we started this series three weeks ago – that of the friend at midnight. It reminds us to continue earnestly in prayer. This parable is given to us so that we may learn not to give up in our prayers but continue earnestly. This parable is given to us so that we might learn that our Father is patient with an everlasting patience.
What are the elements of this parable?
First an unjust Judge.
A good judge, the kind of judge we all would want , would be one who does right is right in God’s eyes despite what men think. This judge is not a good judge. He does not care what God thinks.
A decent judge, the kind we usually see, does what society and the men around him thinks is right. This is not a decent judge he does not care what other men think.
A bad judge will accept a bribe, but will hide the fact of what he has done and feel ashamed. This judge is not even a bad judge. He does as he wants for selfish reasons and does it openly admitting it to himself and not even trying to hide it.
The worst judge a can think of is one who openly takes bribes and does not even care if people know it. But this judge is even worse than that because he does not deny the widow because he gains anything from her adversaries but simply because he has no incentive to listening to the widow.
Such is the judge which Jesus chooses to use as an example of God. If any of us would dare compare God to such a sinful and worthless person, it would be the highest blasphemy. Yet God himself uses this comparison so that we might learn, if such a one as this will answer in time, how much more so will not our Father answer if we continue in prayer.
Second The widow
A woman had no legal standing in the courts of Israel. A widow had even less. Without anyone to bring her suit before the judge she has very little hope even before a righteous judge much less this one. Add to that this is a penniless woman who cannot even bribe the judge to hear her. She has no chance. Her enemies can do as they like to her, without any worry about retribution.
This one stands as a representation of the saints. Such are the saints in this world, pushed around and kicked around and misused. For all appearance there is little hope that we can make any difference.
Yet by her persistence the widow got justice even with such an unjust judge. How much more so will our Father not hear and answer our prayer for deliverance, although Jesus says, “He bears long with them.”
And that is the problem isn’t it? Our Father is patient. Because of His patience and His desire that even the wicked be saved it seems as though our cries for help and deliverance are not answered. In His great patience He bears with His saints long. He is not distant. He is not ignoring His people. Rather he is there by their side bearing their tribulation and the sin and evil of this world.
Our Father Is Patient With Us
Consider how great our Father’s patience is, in the account of Adam and Eve:
When a child directly disobeys us, it is often our reaction to immediately scold. Imagine your reaction if you tell a kid to eat their peas and instead they look you right in the eyes, pick up a spoonful of peas and throw them in your face. Consider instead our Father’s reaction when Adam and even directly disobeyed Him. Adam and Eve sinned and the Lord’s response was patient love. Without yelling, without scolding He came down from heaven to find them and forgive them.
When I was child, even when I knew I was trouble, even when I knew I was in really big trouble, the thought of running away from my Father, the thought of hiding from my Father never even occurred to me. I knew that this would only make everything much worse. Yet when Adam and Even hid from God, God still shows only patience and love, calling them to repentance.
Adam and Eve sinned. They ran and they hid from God. Now when they finally come out and face God, they try to blame God. Imagine if your child not only disobeys you but tries to blame you. It’s your fault. You shouldn’t have put peas on my plate. Yet once again God shows only patience and more than patience He promises that he himself will fix the mess that Adam and Eve caused. He promises that He himself will be born as a man and die on the cross.
God our Father is patient with us, with an everlasting patience. This great patience ought to encourage us to open our hearts before the Lord. We do not have to avoid him because of our sin. We do not have to worry about saying everything perfectly and correctly. We do not have to hide or make excuses.
We confess and acknowledge that patient enduring love the Father has for us every time we say, “Our Father.” When we say “Our Father” we acknowledge that we are speaking to the One who knows our sins and has forgiven us and loves us despite these sins for the sake of Jesus Christ. We cannot hide, nor is there any point in trying to hide anything from him.
Our Father Is Patient With Evil
This same patience which the Lord has for us, He shows us He has also for all sinners. God is patient even with Evil. For this reason it often seems as though there is no point in praying.
We often feel like this widow, we feel like everyone is against us and God isn’t answering our prayers. Or we feel like this widow and we feel we have no chance of changing that which is wrong in this world or in our life. We feel powerless.
Sometimes we feel we have no chance of changing the problems with our nation: drugs, abortion, divorce, the liberal view towards sex.
Closer to home we might feel like there is no chance. Maybe a friend who is an atheist, maybe a son or daughter who is headed down the wrong path, maybe our own marriage that seems to be falling apart. We might feel like there just isn’t any chance, because nothing seems to change. What can we do? There doesn’t seem to be any chance, and it doesn’t seem like God is answering our prayers.
Our text reminds us that God’s patience is not a reason to give up on prayer but rather a reason to be encouraged in it. It is God’s patient love that leads Him to not destroy our nation. It is His patience that leads him not to send down judgment on us and our loved ones.
God is trying to work in their and our hearts. This is the long suffering of God.He will hear and answer even though he bears with His saints for a long time.
Jesus reminds us, “because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” In a very similar way because God is patient with evil, many will give up calling to Him. Jesus urges us not to allow God’s patience to be an excuse for our lack of Faith. Rather when we see His patience with the evilness of the world around us it should encourage us to pray all the more fervently.
A couple years ago in Sutherland, Texas a gunman shot and killed 26 people while they were praying at church. Numerous high profile atheists made fun of Christians saying, “Where was their God while this man killed these people.” Rather than seeing this as a failure on God’s part, we should recognize His patience. We should remember the parable of the unjust judge, that although God is patient with evil nevertheless He will not ignore the prayers of His saints for deliverance.
Near the end of the book Llama, Llama, Red Pajama the mama llama scolds the little llama reminding the child that she is always near even if she does not immediately answer. How much more so can we not be certain that our Father in heaven is always near even if He does not immediately answer.