The Professor Grant Horner Bible Reading System is a great 500 day Bible reading plan. The following link presents a description of the plan ( https://sohmer.net/media/professor_grant_horners_bible_reading_system.pdf). My goal is to briefly share my thoughts on the passage that stands out the most for me each day. I will try to go back and cover the previous days.
For Day 151, the verse that stood out to me was verse 1 of the parable of the persistent widow recorded in Luke 18:1–8 (ESV). This passage reads:
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?”
Verse 1 presents the basic teaching of the parable in that we always ought to pray and we should never lose hope. We could stop our discussion with those principles, and if faithfully applied, would provide great benefit. Yet, there is more.
Verses 2-5 set up a contrast between God and the judge. Verse 2 says that the judge “neither feared God nor respected man.” The judge’s lack of a fear of God means that he looked to his own wisdom and not to God for wisdom. He didn’t care a thing about God and whether or not his rulings were consistent with God’s commands. The fact the judge did not respect man means he did not have concern or compassion for those who came before him. His uncaring attitude ran counter to the fact that widows should have received special relief since they were the personification of the vulnerable (e.g., Exodus 22:22-24; Deuteronomy 10:18; 24:17-21; 27:19).
Verse 3 describes the widow as persistent. Verses 4-5 tells us that even though the judge was unqualified to be a judge (see Deuteronomy 1:16-17), he was going to give the widow her relief “so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.” One commentator elaborates on the phrase “beat me down” (or as the NASB95 reads “wear me out”) as follows:
The phrase “wear me out” translates an idiom that literally means “strike under the eye” (Gr. hypopiaze me, cf. 1 Cor. 9:27). We could translate this idiom “lest she give me a black eye.” Figuratively a black eye represents a damaged reputation. Consequently the judge apparently feared that by refusing to respond to the widow his reputation would suffer (cf. 11:8). He granted her request for selfish reasons.
Constable, T. (2003). Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible. Galaxie Software.
It was not on religious grounds or social justice grounds, but only out of selfishness did the judge grant the widow’s request for justice. This judge is in total contrast to our loving heavenly Father to Whom we pray.
Verses 6-8a makes a comparison between God and the judge. If an unrighteous human judge finally gives justice, how much more speedily will a righteous loving heavenly Father give justice to His elect who persistently cry out to Him.
By making this contrast and the comparison, Jesus sent a strong message to His 1st Century disciples to be persistent in prayer and never give up. That same message applies to 21st Century Christ-followers.
Finally, verse 8b seems to indicate that at His Second Coming, Jesus will not find many who persistently call out to God. This text serves as instruction to not let our fervent prayer life grow lackluster, but that we should practice continuous intense prayer knowing that God is faithful to answer our prayers. The current state of the United States heightens Jesus’admonition to be persistent in prayer and never give up.
As I read it, this parable applies only to believers. Thus, if you are not a Christ-follower, it has no application to you. Yet, that can change. Today can be the day of your salvation. Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved.
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