Thursday, March 17, 2011

Grant Me Justice Against Mine Adversaries

Our God IS a Just God

"ALSO Jesus told them a parable to the effect that they ought ALWAYS to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up)He said, In a certain city there was a judge who neither reverenced and feared God nor respected or considered man.  And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, Protect and defend and give me justice against my adversary.  

And for a time he would not; but later he said to himself, Though I have neither reverence or fear for God nor respect or consideration for man, Yet because this widow continues to bother me, I will defend and protect and avenge her, lest she give me intolerable annoyance and wear me out by her continual coming or at the last she come and rail on me or assault me or strangle me.

Then the Lord said, Listen to what the unjust judge says!  And will not our just God defend and protect and avenge His elect (His chosen ones), who cry to Him day and night? Will He defer them and delay help on their behalf?  I tell you, He will defend and protect and avenge them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find persistence in faith on the earth?" Luke 18:1-8

An atheist once contacted me saying that my God wasn't real because he had prayed long and hard to get to know God, but nothing ever happened.  Since no "God" ever answered him, he figured there was no "God".

I told him, the Scriptures indicate that those who seek God in sincerity will find Him (Psalm 34:18, 107:9, 145:18-19; Matthew 5:6; John 6:27; James 4:8).  He responded that he had sought Him.  I pointed out that this promise is not made to people who "have sought" (meaning they have since given up seeking), but to those who "seek" (continue doing so).

The man responded, "I have already done that and I am not going to waste anymore time waiting on your God to decide to talk to me."

I said, "That is fine, for such is certainly your choice.  However, while you are completely free to stop seeking, don't make this appear to be a deficiency on the part of the Lord.  You have chosen to disqualify your own self from the promise.  Finding such a pursuit futile may be your reason for not seeking, but that doesn't change the fact that the promise is still only given to those who seek. Every day you live is an opportunity for you to change your mind. Do with it what you will."

At the end of this conversation, I marveled at the sheer wisdom and brilliance of our Lord.  I used to wonder why we have to continue to seek, continue to pray, continue to ask, continue to knock...  I mean, why can't God just answer us after the first time we ask?

Yet, God sets up the Gospel in such a way so as it will not be the least bit attractive to the flesh.  He chooses that which seems like foolishness to the world as the vehicle for His salvation (I Corinthians 1:18-25, 2:14). He requires that drawing nigh to Him necessitates a denying of the flesh. 

So those who do not want to deny the flesh will be repelled by His message, while those of a broken spirit & contrite heart will be delivered by the same message.  The things which frustrate the flesh are the very things God uses to deliver us from it.

Consider the Scriptures from Luke 18:1-8 referenced above.  Jesus gives this parable as an example of how we should pray.  This woman sought assistance from an "unjust" judge.  She desired justice against her adversaries, and she was not going to give up until she had it.

How much more should we feel emboldened to approach the Lord our God with our petitions; knowing that - unlike this judge - He is just!  How much more will our loving Father move to answer us when we call upon Him?

Sometimes, it can feel like our prayers to God are falling on deaf ears.  Yet when we draw back from God in frustration, it is not God who has failed, but we who have.  Do we have faith enough to continue believing? Continue seeking? Continue knocking? Continue asking?  Even at the expense of our own fleshly impatience and fears?  Or like the atheist, will we decide that we have trusted enough, have asked enough times, have sought long enough?  Will Jesus find true faith in us upon His return?

In another similar parable, Jesus says the following:

"And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. " Luke 11:5-10
importunity: persistence in solicitation; to harass with persistent requests; to demand of someone insistently; to beg for persistently; request with insistence.
Here we see a request being made of a friend, not of an unjust stranger.  Yet, it was not the friendly relations which moved the man to provide for the need; it was the man's persistent asking. 

Those who really desire truth don't wait for others to bring it to them.  People who genuinely desire precious things don't just sit on the couch and challenge others to present it; they go seek for it.  Those who are in need of the bread of life don't just give up because the hunger within drives them to continue searching until it is satiated.

"Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee." Proverbs 7:15

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11:6

"Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?" Luke 15:8

Are we sincere before God?  Do we really desire to see the goodness of the Lord?  Do we desire Him with our whole hearts?  If so, then we will not give up until we receive it, and nothing will deter us.

"Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD." Proverbs 8:34-35

There is also another important reason why we may feel like there is a delay in our prayers being answered: Satan and his unholy armies war against us receiving the answers to our prayers.

When Daniel was praying and seeking God in a matter, we are told that God dispatched the answer that same day (Daniel 10:12).  The angel told Daniel, "I am come for thy words."

What is it which empowered the angel to come to Daniel with an answer, fighting through the evil forces which stood in his way?  It was Daniel's words, his continuous prayers, his unfailing petitions to God; for over 21 days.  David was not even aware that there was a war in the Heavenlies due to his request, but he stayed before the Lord, seeking His face until He had gotten the answer.

Some may say, "Well, that is the Old Testament and that doesn't apply now."  Yet Scripture says that it does.

"For we 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." Ephesians 6:12

We - the Christian, the believer, the disciple of Christ - wrestle still against powers of darkness.  Yet, we are promised to be able to stand when we put on God's whole armor.  We are guaranteed to have the victory!

The widow in Luke Chapter 18 prayed, "Grant me justice against mine adversaries."  Yet our adversaries are more than just the rulers of darkness and demonic powers.  It is primarily the weaknesses of the carnal nature in us which give place to these forces in our lives.

The flesh lusts against the Spirit; the two are contrary one to the other.  The biggest obstacle we face in serving God is our own flesh.  If we pursue the things of God only to the extent that we "feel like it", then we will always come up far short.  We must war against that in ourselves which seeks to direct us in ways contrary to God's ways. 

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." II Corinthians 10:3-6

The greatest weapon we have against the enemy is our sanctification unto Christ Jesus.  Jesus said, "Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." (John 14:30)  When we are possessing our souls in sanctification and honor, then the light of Christ will fill us and we will walk in His power (Luke 21:19; Romans 6:19; II Timothy 2:20-21; I Thessalonians 4:4).  It is then that we are fit for every good work.  Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 30:41

Waiting upon the Lord causes those who do not truly desire Him to give up and turn away.  However, it also renews the strength of those whose hope is in Him.

Waiting gives us strength and hope for the journey...even while still seeking the provision we so desperately need from Him.  It tests our faith and lets us see whether we have enough as a mustard seed...or if it is smaller even than that (Matthew 17:20; Proverbs 24:10).  It gives us a chance to examine and prove ourselves to see if we be in the faith so that we can know for sure that Jesus will find such faith in us (Luke 18:8; II Corinthians 13:5).

"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." Psalm 27:14

Wait upon the Lord and He will grant you justice against your adversaries.

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