Will He Find Faith?

The Poet J.R. Lowell (1819-1891) wrote these stirring words (take a moment and meditate upon them):

Careless seems the great Avenger; history’s pages but record

One death-grapple in the darkness ’twixt old systems and the Word;

Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,—

Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,

Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.

I was reminded of these words as I pondered Luke 18:8 (Read 18:1-8)

“I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

This verse concludes the paragraph we will be looking at this Sunday and ties it to the passage we addressed last Lord’s Day. So, from 17:20-18:8 the overarching theme is Christ’s return to earth to bring about the consummation of His Kingdom and establish His rule.

The application of our text this week is found in verse 1, that in the presence of injustice and despair we ought to “pray and not lose heart.” This word of encouragement to despairing hearts is that when the answers to our riddles are not readily available, we should still trust our gracious and good God.  Luke 18:1-8 is a call to those who despair and feel hopeless to keep praying and learn to trust our good and gracious God who, as Lowell stated, is keeping watch over us from above.

As we contemplate this unfeeling judge in the parable we are driven to acknowledge the reality of contrast. Our God is not like this unfeeling and uncaring judge.  Isn’t it fascinating how Jesus paints a picture in the unjust judge of what you think of God when you’re in that hard spot? And then He says to you, “Guess what? Your God is not like that. I know what you’re thinking in your heart. You think He’s up on the throne just like that. He’s not interested in you. He’s overlooked you. He’s forgotten about you. But your God is not like that.” You see, the first bit of good news in this passage is that your God is more willing to hear your prayer than you are to pray it. Jesus is saying, “Don’t you understand, believer, that your Heavenly Father, He is waiting to be gracious? You just can’t see it right now.”

Now we turn our attention to this desperate widow with no resources. Christian, you are not like that widow! WE are to be like her in our persistent prayer, but we ARE NOT like her with no resources. Verse 7 describes us as “His Elect.” Jesus is saying, “Don’t you realize who you are? Believer, don’t you realize who you are? You are not a widow with no resources, you are the beloved of God. He set His love on you from before the foundation of the world. Before you existed He loved you. He loved you so much that He gave His own Son, Jesus, to die in your place and then He not only forgave you your sins, He adopted you into His family and made you a joint heir with Jesus Christ. He does not love you less than He loves His own Son! You’re His child! You’re His chosen!” That’s what that doctrine’s for that when all the lights go out you still know that God loves you.

As we await His coming. As we struggle with injustice. As we feel despair. He speaks to our heart: He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

See You Sunday,

Pastor Byron