Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

September 8, 1898

The Parable of the Unjust Judge

In His parables our Lord illustrated divine truth by common practises. “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, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.”

Tho this judge was professedly a wise, discriminating man, his heart was hardened by sin. His course of action revealed his real character. The fruit he bore was the fruit borne on an evil tree. He acted just according to his feelings. By selfish indifference and positive injustice, he exhibited perverse human nature. If he was made irritable by being thwarted in any of his plans, the innocent suffered in consequence. The weak, who needed sympathy and help, were made the objects of his derision. He knew that wrong actions were committed, but he did not do his best to make wrong right. He did not perform the duties which his position as judge of the actions of the people required him to perform. He relieved those he chose to relieve, and neglected many that he should have relieved.

A certain widow presented her case before this judge, and she was repulsed. But she would not fail or become discouraged. Tho she was again and again turned away, she still continued to beg for justice. What use had the cities for a judge unless he could relieve the cause of the oppressed? The Lord put into the woman's heart a persistency that the indifference of the judge could not quench. Often the judge heard her complaint; often were her sufferings presented before him. And finally the judge yielded to her request. But he did not do this willingly, for the truth's sake, because pity and compassion had been stirred in his breast, but because the widow troubled him.

If this judge had had the mind that is in Christ Jesus, he might have saved himself all trouble. He might have saved the woman the earnest, soul-harassing persistency that finally moved him. He understood the difference between right and wrong. Had he feared God, the widow need not have gone to him again and again, to be treated with contempt by those who had no sympathy, and to be torn from the judgment-seat. But he did not possess Christlike attributes. He cared only for that which would further his ambition. He could have relieved the woman, but he would not. He could have restrained wrong, and his position before God required him to do this; but this course was not in harmony with his hard-hearted determination to let the widow ask and seek and knock in vain. He wanted to show his arbitrary power. He wrapped his garments of selfishness about him, and let her plead in vain. When he saw that he was revealing his true character, when his position was made uncomfortable by some who pitied the widow, he listened to her. “Tho 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.” Self was his god, and to save his reputation, to avoid giving further publicity to his partial, one-sided judgment, he avenged the persevering woman.

Christ presented this parable to reveal the injustice then being shown, and which would soon be shown at His trial. He would have his people in all times realize what little dependence can be placed on earthly judges in the day of adversity. The elect people of God will be called to stand before men who do not make the Bible their guide and counselor, who follow their own unconsecrated, undisciplined impulses. Those who have decided to be loyal to the truth, to obey the commandments of God, will understand by experience that they have adversaries who are controlled by a power from beneath. Such adversaries beset Christ at every step—how constantly and determinedly no earthly being can ever know—and Christ's disciples, like their Master, will be followed by continual temptation. But Christ is their refuge, as He was the refuge of the importunate widow.

With all assurance we may ask Christ to undertake our case; for when He gave His life as the propitiation for the sins of the world, He undertook the case of every soul. “Submit yourselves therefore unto God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God [not only in prayer, but in all your actions], and He will draw nigh to you.”

“The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” “The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.”

Mrs. E. G. White

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