Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 14: "Shall Not God Avenge His Own?"
Based on Luke 18:1-8
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Christ had been speaking of the period just before
His second coming, and of the perils through which
His followers must pass. With special reference to that
time He related the parable "to this end, that men ought
always to pray, and not to faint."
"There was in a city," He said, "a judge, which feared
not God, neither regarded man; and there was a widow in
that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of
mine adversary. And he would not for a while; but
afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God,
nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I
will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And
shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and
night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell
you that He will avenge them speedily."
The judge who is here pictured had no regard for right, [p. 165] nor pity for suffering. The widow who pressed her case
before him was persistently repulsed. Again and again she
came to him, only to be treated with contempt, and to be
driven from the judgment seat. The judge knew that her
cause was righteous, and he could have relieved her at once,
but he would not. He wanted to show his arbitrary power,
and it gratified him to let her ask and plead and entreat in
vain. But she would not fail nor become discouraged.
Notwithstanding his indifference and hardheartedness, she
pressed her petition until the judge consented to attend to
her case. "Though I fear not God, nor regard man," he
said, "yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge
her, lest by her continual coming she weary me." To
save his reputation, to avoid giving publicity to his partial,
one-sided judgment, he avenged the persevering woman.
"And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day
and night unto him, though He bear long with them? I
tell you that He will avenge them speedily." Christ here
draws a sharp contrast between the unjust judge and God.
The judge yielded to the widow's request merely through
selfishness, that he might be relieved of her importunity.
He felt for her no pity or compassion; her misery was
nothing to him. How different is the attitude of God
toward those who seek Him. The appeals of the needy and
distressed are considered by Him with infinite compassion.
The woman who entreated the judge for justice had lost
her husband by death. Poor and friendless, she had no
means of retrieving her ruined fortunes. So by sin, man
lost his connection with God. Of himself he has no means
of salvation. But in Christ we are brought nigh unto the
Father. The elect of God are dear to His heart. They
are those whom He has called out of darkness into His
marvelous light, to show forth His praise, to shine as lights [p. 166] amid the darkness of the world. The unjust judge had
no special interest in the widow who importuned him for
deliverance; yet in order to rid himself of her pitiful
appeals, he heard her plea, and delivered her from her
adversary. But God loves His children with infinite love.
To Him the dearest object on earth is His church.
"For the Lord's portion is His people; Jacob is the
lot of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and
in the waste, howling wilderness; He led him about, He
instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye."
Deut. 32:9, 10. "For thus saith the Lord of hosts: After
the glory hath He sent Me unto the nations which spoiled
you; for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His
eye." Zech. 2:8.
The widow's prayer, "Avenge me"—"do me justice"
(R.V.)—"of mine adversary," represents the prayer of
God's children. Satan is their great adversary. He is the
"accuser of our brethren," who accuses them before God
day and night. (Rev. 12:10.) He is continually working
to misrepresent and accuse, to deceive and destroy the
people of God. And it is for deliverance from the power
of Satan and his agents that in this parable Christ teaches
His disciples to pray.
In the prophecy of Zechariah is brought to view Satan's
accusing work, and the work of Christ in resisting the
adversary of His people. The prophet says, "He showed
me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the
Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O
Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke
thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now
Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before
the angel." Zech. 3:1-3.
The people of God are here represented as a criminal [p. 167] on trial. Joshua, as high priest, is seeking for a blessing
for his people, who are in great affliction. While he is
pleading before God, Satan is standing at his right hand
as his adversary. He is accusing the children of God, and
making their case appear as desperate as possible. He
presents before the Lord their evil doings and their defects.
He shows their faults and failures, hoping they will appear
of such a character in the eyes of Christ that He will render
them no help in their great need. Joshua, as the representative
of God's people, stands under condemnation, clothed
with filthy garments. Aware of the sins of his people, he
is weighed down with discouragement. Satan is pressing
upon his soul a sense of guiltiness that makes him feel
almost hopeless. Yet there he stands as a suppliant, with
Satan arrayed against him.
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