The Signs of the Times


September 15, 1898

Lessons from the Parable of the Unjust Judge


From this parable God would have us learn to respect the cause of the poor. “Ye shall not respect persons in judgment,” He declares; “but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's.” “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker; but he that honoreth Him hath mercy on the poor.” This is one of the lessons we are to learn from the parable of the unjust judge. It is an admonition to all who claim to be righteous. “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise,” God says. “Therefore turn thou to thy God; keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.” Those who fear God, who accept Christ as a personal Saviour, will reveal a Christlike character. The character of God will speak through them in vindication of truth. ST September 15, 1898, par. 1

In God's people is begotten tender sympathy and compassion for the distress of suffering humanity. Christ awakens in them a deep interest in others; and as they labor to supply the necessities of those around them, the Lord works in their behalf. They realize the truth of the words: “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” ST September 15, 1898, par. 2

To those who co-operate with God by helping others, the promise is given, “Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday; and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that be of thee shall build the old waste places; and thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” ST September 15, 1898, par. 3

In this parable Christ draws a sharp contrast between the unjust judge and God. The judge, tho fearing neither God nor man, listened to the widow because of her constant petitions. Altho his heart remained like ice, yet the widow's importunity resulted in her success. He avenged her, tho he felt no pity or compassion for her, tho her misery was nothing to him. “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.” ST September 15, 1898, par. 4

The judge yielded to the widow's request merely because of selfishness, that he might be relieved of her importunity. How different is God's attitude in regard to prayer! Our heavenly Father may not seem to respond immediately to the prayers and appeals of His people; but He never turns from them indifferently. In this parable and the parable of the man rising at midnight to supply his friend's necessity, that the friend might minister to a needy, wayfaring man, we are taught that God hears our prayers. Too often we think that our petitions are unheard, and we cherish unbelief, distrusting God when we should claim the promise, “Ask, and it shall be given you seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Let us draw the instruction that we should from these parables. The Lord is our judge; He is our lawgiver. We give evidence of the strong ground of our confidence in God by importunate prayer, combined with good works. But faith without works is dead, being alone. ST September 15, 1898, par. 5

The unjust judge revealed his own natural traits of character. Are there any claiming to be sons and daughters of God who copy this pattern? Should the Lord answer their requests, they would think it was because of their goodness. They would fail to see their defects of character. But those who judge righteously, who deny self, may expect the answer: “Here I am. What shall I do for you?” ST September 15, 1898, par. 6

What is prayer—merely the presentation of our soul hunger?—No; the presentation of our perplexities and necessities, and of our need of God's help against our adversary the devil. As the elect of God we need to understand the nature of our wants and the motives that prompt us to prayer. We need to remember that we are in need, and that our wants must be supplied from the heavenly storehouse. Prayer is to be offered for the preservation of life, for the preservation of every power and faculty, that we may render the highest service to our Maker. It is to be offered for temporal necessities and blessings. In the prayer Christ gave His disciples, the request is made for daily bread. “Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things,” the Saviour said. “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” The realization of our need urges us to pray earnestly, and our Father is moved by our petitions. ST September 15, 1898, par. 7

God's special work is to benefit His people in every way, to enlighten, to purify, to transform and strengthen man's moral and spiritual powers. We need to be as Christ has said,—instant in prayer. As soon as difficulty comes, let us offer our simple, sincere prayers. Christ will present these, mingled with the fragrance of His Spirit, to the Father. They will be wholly accepted; for if we have taken Christ to be our personal Saviour, we are born again. We are sons and daughters of God, members by adoption of the royal family. ST September 15, 1898, par. 8

God revealed His character to Moses. In answer to the prayer of His servant, “I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory,” He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee.... And He said, Thou canst not see My face; for there shall no man see Me, and live.... Behold, there is a place by Me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock; and it shall come to pass, while My glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand while I pass by.” ST September 15, 1898, par. 9

“And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” ST September 15, 1898, par. 10

This is the provision made for the people of God in all ages. He who dwelleth in the heavenly sanctuary judgeth righteously. Those who wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places, are His special care. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God,” the armor that He has provided for every believer, “that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” ST September 15, 1898, par. 11

Pray on, church of God, pray on; for the General of the heavenly army, with angels that excel in strength, is with His people on the field of battle. In the hour of peril, be steadfast. The adversary of souls is determined to oppose all who plant their feet on the platform of eternal truth, who would uplift the banner on which is inscribed, The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. They are the objects of Satan's deadly hatred. But rest assured that Christ fights with His army. He himself leads His followers, and He will renew the strength of every faithful soldier. ST September 15, 1898, par. 12

We never need distrust God. The just Judge repulses no one who comes to Him in contrition. He has more pleasure in His church, struggling with temptation here below, than in the imposing host of angels that surround His throne. Not one sincere prayer is lost. Amid the anthems of the celestial choir, God hears the cries of the weakest human being. You who feel most unworthy, commit your case to Him; for His ears are open to your cry “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Will He not fulfil the gracious Word given for our encouragement and strength? ST September 15, 1898, par. 13

Mrs. E. G. White