Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 3/16/10

“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, 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. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
Luke 18:1-8

“And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?”

Even the unrighteous, even the most wicked and the most sinful, amidst their unbelief, can be moved by the faith of God’s children as they are compelled to do that which is right and that which is just in the eyes of the Lord, forsaking their path even for a moment to contend with the cause of the freedom that He has offered unto all people. It is in that moment, in that instant that true justice is brought to bear as the truth of the Lord righteousness is moved in a lost and fallen world and even the most hurt, found in their pain and suffering, shall find goodness and mercy weaved into their lives.

“And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?”

The Parable of Christ tells the story of two people, so very different in their ways. One was a weak widow without any power or authority, the other a mighty judge who was obviously well known amidst his influence. One, by this world’s standard, had nothing, the other had everything, while one was wealthy the other was poor and downtrodden. While one was struck with adversity and troubles the other rested in comfort and peace, while one was guided by her faith the other found himself in unbelief as he rested his trust in his own hands. There were very few, if any instances where these two would find that their paths would cross.

Yet, as she found the moment of challenge and difficulty upon her, she would be so moved to plead for his mercy as she sought temporal deliverance from the adversity that had so overtaken her life.

“And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?”

It isn’t told how many times she begged of him for his mercy, all that is said is that day after day, time after time, she came to him, seeking his compassion as she sought his kindness and that time after time, he rejected her. He could not be bothered with her plight or her struggle, and why would he be? It was not his problem, nor did he want to make it. Perhaps he had other concerns weighing on his mind, perhaps he hand other issues that he was working with, but whatever the case might have been, it didn’t matter a great deal to him.

Yet, for as hard as he may have tried, he could not ignore the persistence of her intercessions and her pleading as she came back knowing full well what the answer had previously been and what it would most likely be yet again.

“And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?”

Even as she found the moment upon her and the struggles before her the widow could not give up hope, and the judge could not ignore her. God would move him, He would compel him to act on this woman’s behalf, to bring about deliverance for her and to do all that he could to set to flight her adversity. Though he was not guided by the love that was made manifest in faith, he was, at least, in that very moment guided by the hand of the Lord God Almighty to move in ways that he had never considered before in his life as he lifted high the cause of this poor woman in her hour of deepest need.

“And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?”

There are times when, in the struggles of this temporal existence and the plights and the challenges that seem to lay before us, that we are forced to wonder if any one hears our cries and our calls. We look to the world as it is and we see so many difficulties before us. There is captivity and bondage all around us as darkness raises its ugly head and leaves a path of destitution wherever it does tread as it tramples the spirits and the souls, the bodies and the minds of the weak and the innocent, the poor and the disenfranchised. We are left with this lingering feeling as we wonder about the state of the world and the hardship that people are forced to face as it seems like nothing is right.

For how long....

We cry out to the Lord wondering for how long, and we are left to wonder if our prayers are heard or if our deep yearning shall ever be answered. We want to believe that they are and that they will be but everything about this world seems to tell us something to the contrary as anguish and agony, sorrow and suffering seem to come so near at hand.

Yet, in faithfulness and in truth God does listen, He does hear and though it may seem that His hand is not at work it is as it moves in this world and through this world for the cause of His people. We just need to cling not just to our faith but to our persistence, knowing that in His time and in His way God will show forth His faith in even the most unrighteous of situations to the most sinful of people and set to flight all captivity and bondage that so inflicts itself on the hearts and the minds of men. As the unrelenting and constant widow knew so too should we as we put our hope in God’s promise that He shall avenge the elect, those who cry out to Him day and night, amidst the trials and the turmoil, the adversity and the tribulation of this world.

Remember it took not one, not two, nor three plagues in Egypt to free the enslaved children of Israel from that bondage of their bitter estate. God had to work ten plagues before the heart of Pharaoh was so moved to release God’s people as the chains fell from them. It took not one, not two, nor even just three cries from the widow to move the judge to action. Day after day she came to him until finally he could not ignore her faith or the calling of the Lord to move into action.

Though it may seem as if our intercessions and our actions are fall upon deaf ears, God hears and He knows and, true to His Word, faithful to His promises, He shall move in this world and through this world for the cause of His people whom we never forget in our hearts and who cry out for the blessings of the liberty that can only and does only come through His hand, and by His hand, through all things and in all things.

Lord, grant this trust unto us all.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen...

First Prayer:

Though darkness and adversity travel so freely amidst this temporal existence, avenge Your people O Lord....

As You have freed the crew of the MV Theresa VIII, setting those people, once held amidst the most meagre of estates as bondage and captivity wove through their lives amidst the unrighteousness of this world’s iniquity and pain, free amidst Your divine love ,set Your people free.

As You have given liberty to the crew of the MV Theresa VIII, showing forth Your divine grace to them who found themselves in the deepest of struggles and the most trying of adversity, show forth Your divine grace in the lives of all the captives and the prisoners, all the hostages and the slaves throughout this world.

Let all know that all power and authority rests amidst Your might as You raise high Your Holy hand. Let not wickedness triumph and evil claim itself victorious as You move through the course of human events to show forth the true and divine nature of Your wondrous love, but let all know that, in Your righteousness You shall set to flight all darkness and pain, moving in the lives of Your people in the most significant of ways to bring hope in their life and comfort to their days.

Shower the afflicted and the lost in Your divine and Holy blessings O Lord, that they shall know that when they trust in You and place their faith in Your transcending love, there shall be nothing that can separate them from Your love as Your mercy comes to bear in their lives.

Then shall all praise be lifted high... high to Your throne as justice, as freedom, liberty and righteousness comes upon this world to move in the lives of all of those who find that the struggles and the adversity that are before them are just too much to bear, for they shall have a faithful God who has moved in their lives to give them the peace and the hope that they have so longed for and that has, for so long, eluded them.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Second Prayer:

Avenge Your elect O Lord, who cry out upon Your Holy name through the adversity and the struggle of this world...

Avenge Your elect O Lord, who long for freedom as they look to Your Holy Hand for the divine justice that can only come from You...

Avenge Your elect O Lord, and let mercy and love once more come upon them as they rest in the comfort of Your blessings.

For how long shall Your people suffer amidst bondage and captivity? For how long shall they find that darkness is so near at hand and that bondage has chained them to unrighteousness and wickedness? For how long O Lord shall their cries go up to You as they yearn for the deeper blessings of Your justice to come to bear in their lives?

Let not sin and iniquity triumph over them. Gird them with Your strength as the sword of Your truth is raised high like a lamp to cut the veil that so covers their eyes that it may guide them to the blessed light of Your love in all that they are and all that they face.

Show forth mercy and compassion in their lives and shelter them amidst the deeper blessings of Your triumphant call as Your goodness and mercy comes to bear in their lives. Raise them up from the pits of their despair and give unto them the confidence of that victorious new hope that shall always come in the blessings of Your Word and Your promises unto them.

Then shall all know that there is no captivity, whether it be of the body or the mind, the spirit or the soul, that shall find itself removed from Your sight as You set destitution and hatred, corruption and wickedness, darkness and intolerance to flight by the power of Your Holy Hand as it comes to bear in the lives of Your people.

Then shall all know that there is a righteous God at work, contending with the cause of His people in all that they are and all that they face, and they shall give the honor and praise to Your wondrous name.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

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