Sunday, November 06, 2022

Persistent Prayer and Tribulation

“There was a widow in that city who kept coming to him …”

Don’t measure God’s care for you by what you’ve got and haven’t got; by your problems or your prosperity. Don’t measure those things. They have nothing to do with the character of God.

The character of God is to be measured at the cross — “God so loved the world”, “God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” — that’s where the measure of God’s love is. That never changes.

So I have to go back to the cross in my trouble and say that’s where I know that God loves me and God cares. God may let Lazarus die because he’s going to do something I never even dreamed of.

The Answer to Everything

But, you see, there is no problem with God. He’s the answer to everything. The Bible says, “In everything” — that’s in everything that’s bothering us — “by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving” …

That’s where faith comes in: “I thank you, Lord, that you hear me. I thank you, Lord, that you’re there.”

I had to come to that place. To behave like a weaned child with its mother. To rest on my Father’s love and say, “Thank you, Lord, that you’re there. I’m not worrying about the answer, Lord. I’m weaned. I just want you and your company as I go through my problem.” Oh, what rest. He has the answer to your need. He has the answer to my need.

So, “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving,” we are to let our requests be made known unto God. “And” — listen — “the peace” that characterizes God …

Nothing disturbs him. I don’t mean he doesn’t care, but that nothing is too great for him. No problem swamps him and leaves him struggling. He so majestic, so glorious. He comes riding upon the storms that bother us, and comes to glorify himself in the midst of our self-created problems when we come to him in prayer; first of all confessing and clearing that matter up.

The End of the Matter

But once you’ve confessed to God, don’t bring the matter back again. Say, “Lord, we had that out, didn’t we.” If it comes to mind while you’re praying, say, “Lord, ‘the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.’ I refuse to discuss that sin, Lord, in your presence because I know that you’ve covered it. I know that I am clean in your sight through faith in the Lord Jesus, and it’s all gone.”

“ ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ I won’t deal with that anymore because it’s been settled at Calvary, and I’m not going to rake it up again, because if I did, Lord, it would mean that I didn’t believe. It would mean that I didn’t trust you, and ‘He that comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.’ ”

So you come, and you come in faith, and you open up the matter in the presence of God. You confess your sin and you obtain forgiveness, because his word tells you that you are forgiven, and you’ll not have anything else. Don’t rest upon your feelings. Rest upon his word. Because as soon as you rest upon your feelings, your feelings will change. Rest upon his word.

Now that matter’s settled, and whenever problems come, you just go to God — even though you may have created those problems and you may be responsible for them, you go to God — and you say, “I am your child.” And you wait in his presence and you worship before him. God will answer in his time.

The Persistent Widow

That’s what the parable of the persistent widow is all about. But it’s not all the parable’s about. Look at what it says in verses 7 and 8: “Will not God give justice to his elect?” Now that’s plural. That means his chosen people. “Will not God give justice to his chosen people who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?”

Will he be painfully keeping them in suspense? No! “I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily.”

But now, notice this: “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

How did we get on to that? Well, it’s very important that we understand the significance of this parable time-wise. It has application to us where we are now, and we’ve been applying it that way and seeing its message for us today; but there’s a larger message in this parable, and it has to do with the return of the Son of Man. And when the Son of Man comes, will he find that kind of faith? The widow’s kind of faith. Will he find faith on earth? Will he find his people crying to him in that spirit of faith of which the widow is a picture? Yes, a widow who is not coming to an unjust judge. A person without any resources, without anyone to cry to on earth, but coming to God alone, because he’s the only one to whom this widow can cling. “Will he not answer his elect speedily?”

The Coming of the Son of Man

This parable is about the coming of the Son of Man. Here’s an interesting thing for those of you who are Bible students. When the term “Son of Man” is used, it’s always connected in some way with his majestic rule over the earth; his coming kingdom.

“Son of Man” is not simply the opposite of “Son of God”. “Son of Man” does not simply mean that he became a man. It does mean that, but it means more than that. “Son of Man” means the divinely appointed ruler. In the book of Daniel, “one like a son of man” comes before the Ancient of Days, and what happens? He receives a kingdom. That’s prophetic. Jesus, the Son of God, is going to come and fulfill the role of the Son of Man. Hebrew scholars tell us it means “the man par excellence”. The man who is beyond compare. O hasten the day when he should come! The man without a peer. The man who can be compared to no other man. The Son of Man, whom God has appointed for his glory. He’s going to set up his kingdom.

But before the Son of Man comes, it’s going to be — as Luke 17 tells us — just as it was in the days of Noah. Just as it was in the days of Sodom. Trouble and trial for the earth. Days of great distress. And in the midst of that distress, after the church — I believe — has gone to heaven, God will be dealing with the people of Israel. The prophecies concerning the Son of Man are about to be fulfilled, but they are like the widow, without resources. All the nations are going to come against Jerusalem.

A Godly Cry for Justice

You see how easily this can happen, don’t you, if in our unbelief we have to look at events that are happening today? (The word of God should be enough.) See how easily God can gather the nations! It could be over Iran, or over Iraq’s behavior in invading Kuwait. We’ve got the “united nations” coming together. What are they doing? They’re going to solve a problem. God is going to put a hook in the nations and pull them all toward Jerusalem for a final great battle. There’s coming a time which the Bible describes as the “great tribulation”, and there will be on earth a repentant remnant in Israel just like this widow. And they’ll say, “Lord, we need justice!”

You say, “They’re the people who rejected their Messiah.” Yes, but they have repented. This remnant is mourning for him. These are believers within the nation who are crying out to him and saying, “O Lord, give us the justice we need.”

Then they’ll take up the language of the psalms. We read those psalms that cry out for justice, and we say, “I don’t really feel that I can pray that way, because the Lord said to pray for our enemies”, and so on. So we kind of skip over those, and I understand that. But remember, they’re there for somebody else. They are there for their benefit. Because the day will come when there will be a godly Jewish remnant like this widow, who will call upon God.

And when the Son of Man comes, he will, indeed, despite all the pressure, find faith on earth.

— Colin Anderson, excerpted from “The Return of Christ, Part 1”,
circa September 1990

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