The Signs of the Times


May 21, 1896

And Shall Not God Avenge His Own Elect?


“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; saying, There was in a city 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, Tho 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, tho he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” ST May 21, 1896, par. 1

This judge was a man appointed by the law to give decisions upon cases that were brought before him. He had no love or reverence for God, and therefore no unselfish love for his neighbor. He had no regard for the rights of men. Judges were required to show a special attention to widows; but this man cared nothing for the rights of any. The Lord gave instruction through the prophet Jeremiah as to what judges should do for those who called upon them. “Thus saith the Lord: Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, and do no wrong; do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.” The widow and the fatherless were objects of the Lord's special care, but those who feared not God, who had no regard for their fellow-men, took advantage of the cases of those who were helpless and destitute. A judge unfaithful to his trust suffered might to triumph over right. ST May 21, 1896, par. 2

The widow who came to plead with the unjust judge to avenge her of her adversary was determined that the judge should attend to her case. For a while he refrained from answering her request, but afterwards, because he was getting weary of the continual coming of the widow, he said that he would avenge her. In the position which he occupied, the judge could have immediately delivered this woman from her oppressors, but he had no disposition to do so. Instead of delivering her, he united with her adversaries to do that which would bring oppression upon her. For a long time justice was delayed, but at length because of sheer weariness on account of her persistent importunity, he decided to do the act that he should have done long before. ST May 21, 1896, par. 3

What revelations will be made in the day of final reckoning that will show how much suffering unjust judges have brought upon their fellow-men! It will be made manifest that their injustice has not come upon men because of ignorance of what were their rights, but because they were unmindful of the privileges that God had given to their fellow-men. Tho they stood as judges, they themselves brought upon men terrible oppression, and assisted the robber, the thief, in robbing their fellow-men. The day is coming when these judges will be arrayed before the throne of eternal justice, and will have to give an account before Him who is the judge of both the quick and the dead. When the books are opened and men are judged according to the works written in the books, sentence will be pronounced against the evil judges who have brought so great oppression upon the innocent and the helpless. They will be called upon to behold every deed of injustice, and to see the sufferings that they have thereby caused their fellow-men. Those actions that had the appearance of external propriety, and even of goodness, will be unmasked, and the hypocrisy of men will be seen in its true character. Those who do a deed of justice simply to rid themselves of the trouble of listening to the pitiful tales of suffering that the afflicted pour into their ears, are placed in sharp contrast with the all-merciful, all-pitiful Father, who considers the appeals of his suffering children with infinite compassion and love. The Lord calls upon men and angels to hear what the unjust judge said. Heaven is cognizant of the actions of men. The Lord places in contrast the spirit and action of the unjust judge with his own Spirit and action, saying: “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, tho he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.” ST May 21, 1896, par. 4

These words are to administer comfort to all those who are oppressed. God hears the cries of his children. Jesus gives them the assurance that God has not forsaken, that he will come forth to vindicate their cause. There is One who has suffered in their behalf, who has borne with them their sorrows and afflictions, and who will appear as their deliverer. The people of God who suffer persecutions for their faith, who are falsified, scorned, and derided, are often tempted to think themselves forsaken of God. To the eyes of men they are in the minority, and to all appearances their enemies triumph over them, yet let them not violate their conscience; for the Lord will give them a signal victory. God will hear the humble prayers of his contrite ones. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” ST May 21, 1896, par. 5

The question is asked, “And shall not God avenge his own elect?” The elect of God are the objects of his special care. Of his people Christ said, “Ye are the light of the world.” The elect are those whom God has made the depository of sacred responsibilities. They are those whom God has called out of darkness into his marvelous light, to show forth his praises, and to shine as lights amid the moral darkness of the world. The unjust judge had no special interest in the widow who importuned him for deliverance, yet to get rid of her pitiful appeal, he heard her plea, and delivered her from her adversary. But how different is the attitude of God toward his children! “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” He loves his people with infinite love. God has from the beginning chosen us for salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. ST May 21, 1896, par. 6

We are called to be laborers together with God. The Lord has a particular regard for those who are chosen and faithful, who cry day and night unto him. It may seem that the trials and sufferings continue, and that God does not regard them. Delay may seem long; but their prayers are not in vain; for he will avenge them speedily, that is, at last, and in a way not expected by them, when the most trying point is reached. There is no danger that the Lord will neglect to hear the prayers of his people. He will be true to his word. The danger is that his tried, tempted people will become discouraged and will not persevere in prayer, so that God will avenge them of all that wicked men have brought upon them. The Lord asks: “Can a mother forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” ST May 21, 1896, par. 7

(Concluded next week.)