Jehovah Will “Cause Justice to Be Done”
“Shall not God cause justice to be done for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night?”—LUKE 18:7.
1. Who are a source of encouragement to you, and why?
AROUND the world, Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy the company of Christian brothers and sisters who have served Jehovah faithfully for years. Do you know some of these dear ones personally? Perhaps an elderly sister comes to mind, one who was baptized many years ago and rarely misses a meeting at the Kingdom Hall. Or you may think of an aged brother who loyally supports the congregation’s field ministry activities week after week and has done so for decades. Granted, many of these faithful ones thought that by now Armageddon would have come and gone. Yet, the fact that this unjust world still exists has neither undermined their confidence in Jehovah’s promises nor weakened their determination to ‘endure to the end.’ (Matthew 24:13) The depth of faith shown by such loyal servants of Jehovah is truly a source of encouragement for the entire congregation.—Psalm 147:11.
2. What situation saddens us?
2 At times, though, we may observe the opposite. Some Witnesses shared in the ministry for years, but over time their faith in Jehovah weakened, and they stopped associating with the Christian congregation. It saddens us that former companions have left Jehovah, and it is our heartfelt desire to keep on helping each “lost sheep” to return to the flock. (Psalm 119:176; Romans 15:1) Even so, these opposite outcomes—some staying faithful while others lose faith—raise questions. What enables numerous Witnesses to keep their faith in Jehovah’s promises while others lose it? What can we personally do to ensure that our conviction that “the great day of Jehovah” is approaching remains firm? (Zephaniah 1:14) Let us consider an illustration found in the Gospel of Luke.
A Warning for Those Living “When the Son of Man Arrives”
3. Who can especially benefit from the illustration of the widow and the judge, and why?
3 In Luke chapter 18, we find Jesus’ illustration regarding a widow and a judge. It is similar to the illustration about the persistent host, which we discussed in the preceding article. (Luke 11:5-13) However, the context of the Bible passage containing the illustration of the widow and the judge shows that this especially applies to those living “when the Son of man arrives” in Kingdom power, which time period began in 1914.—Luke 18:8.*
4. What did Jesus discuss before he related the illustration found in Luke chapter 18?
4 Leading up to the illustration, Jesus stated that the evidence of his presence in Kingdom power would be as widely discernible “as the lightning” that “shines from one part under heaven to another part under heaven.” (Luke 17:24; 21:10, 29-33) Nonetheless, most people living in “the time of the end” would not pay attention to that clear evidence. (Daniel 12:4) Why not? For the same reason that people in the time of Noah and that of Lot ignored Jehovah’s warnings. Back in those times, people ‘were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, and building until the day that they were destroyed.’ (Luke 17:26-29) They lost their lives because they were so absorbed in those common activities that they did not pay attention to God’s will. (Matthew 24:39) Today, people in general are likewise so caught up in daily affairs that they fail to see the evidence that the end of this ungodly world is near.—Luke 17:30.
5. (a) To whom did Jesus direct a warning, and why? (b) What has caused some to lose their faith?
5 Clearly, Jesus was concerned that his followers too could become distracted by Satan’s world, even to the point that they might “return to the things behind.” (Luke 17:22, 31) And, indeed, this has happened to some Christians. For years such ones longed for the day when Jehovah will put an end to this wicked world. However, when Armageddon did not occur by the time they expected, they became disheartened. Their confidence in the nearness of Jehovah’s day of judgment faded. They slowed down in the ministry and gradually became so involved in the mundane matters of life that little time was left for spiritual matters. (Luke 8:11, 13, 14) In time, they ‘returned to the things behind’—how sad!
The Need “Always to Pray”
6-8. (a) Relate the illustration of the widow and the judge. (b) How did Jesus apply this illustration?
6 What can we do to make sure that our firm confidence in the fulfillment of Jehovah’s promises does not weaken? (Hebrews 3:14) Jesus addressed that question right after he warned the disciples not to turn back to Satan’s wicked world.
7 Luke reports that Jesus “went on to tell them an illustration with regard to the need for them always to pray and not to give up.” Jesus said: “In a certain city there was a certain judge that had no fear of God and had no respect for man. But there was a widow in that city and she kept going to him, saying, ‘See that I get justice from my adversary at law.’ Well, for a while he was unwilling, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Although I do not fear God or respect a man, at any rate, because of this widow’s continually making me trouble, I will see that she gets justice, so that she will not keep coming and pummeling me to a finish.’”
8 After giving this narration, Jesus made the application: “Hear what the judge, although unrighteous, said! Certainly, then, shall not God cause justice to be done for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night, even though he is long-suffering toward them? I tell you, He will cause justice to be done to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man arrives, will he really find the faith on the earth?”—Luke 18:1-8.
“See That I Get Justice”
9. What theme stands out in the illustration of the widow and the judge?
9 The central theme of this vivid illustration stands out clearly. It is mentioned by both characters in the illustration as well as by Jesus. The widow pleaded: “See that I get justice.” The judge said: “I will see that she gets justice.” Jesus asked: “Shall not God cause justice to be done?” And of Jehovah, Jesus stated: “He will cause justice to be done to them speedily.” (Luke 18:3, 5, 7, 8) When in particular will God “cause justice to be done”?
10. (a) When was justice meted out in the first century? (b) When and how will justice be done for God’s servants today?
10 In the first century, the “days for meting out justice” (or, “days of vengeance,” Kingdom Interlinear) arrived in 70 C.E. when Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed. (Luke 21:22) For God’s people today, justice will be done on “the great day of Jehovah.” (Zephaniah 1:14; Matthew 24:21) At that time, Jehovah will “repay tribulation to those who make tribulation” for his people “as [Jesus Christ] brings vengeance upon those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.”—2 Thessalonians 1:6-8; Romans 12:19.
11. In what way will justice come “speedily”?
11 How, though, should we understand Jesus’ assurance that Jehovah will cause justice to be done “speedily”? God’s Word shows that “even though [Jehovah] is long-suffering,” he will quickly execute justice when the time is ripe. (Luke 18:7, 8; 2 Peter 3:9, 10) In Noah’s time, when the Flood arrived, the wicked were destroyed without delay. Likewise, in Lot’s day, when fire rained from heaven, the wicked perished. Jesus said: “The same way it will be on that day when the Son of man is to be revealed.” (Luke 17:27-30) Again, the wicked will experience “sudden destruction.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3) Indeed, we can be fully confident that Jehovah will not allow Satan’s world to exist for one day longer than justice requires.
“He Will Cause Justice to Be Done”
12, 13. (a) How does Jesus’ illustration of the widow and the judge teach a lesson? (b) Why can we be certain that Jehovah will hear our prayers and cause justice to be done?
12 Jesus’ illustration of the widow and the judge highlights still other important truths. In applying the illustration, Jesus said: “Hear what the judge, although unrighteous, said! Certainly, then, shall not God cause justice to be done for his chosen ones?” Of course, Jesus was not comparing Jehovah with the judge as if to say that God would treat believers in the same way. Instead, Jesus taught his followers a lesson about Jehovah by highlighting a contrast between that judge and God. What are some of the ways in which they can be contrasted?
13 The judge in Jesus’ illustration was “unrighteous,” whereas “God is a righteous Judge.” (Psalm 7:11; 33:5) The judge had no interest whatsoever in the widow as a person, but Jehovah is interested in each individual. (2 Chronicles 6:29, 30) The judge was unwilling to help the widow, but Jehovah is willing—yes, eager—to come to the aid of those serving Him. (Isaiah 30:18, 19) What is the lesson? If the unrighteous judge listened to the requests of the widow and granted her justice, how much more so will Jehovah hear the prayers of his people and certainly cause justice to be done for them!—Proverbs 15:29.
14. Why should we not lose faith in the coming of God’s day of judgment?
14 Therefore, those who lose faith in the coming of God’s day of judgment commit a grave error. Why? By giving up their firm belief that “the great day of Jehovah” is near, they question, in effect, whether Jehovah can be trusted to keep his promises faithfully. But no one can rightfully question God’s faithfulness. (Job 9:12) A valid question is, Will we personally remain faithful? And that is exactly the subject that Jesus raised at the end of the illustration about the widow and the judge.
“Will He Really Find This Faith on the Earth?”
15. (a) What question did Jesus pose, and why? (b) What should we ask ourselves?
15 Jesus posed the intriguing question: “When the Son of man arrives, will he really find this faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8, footnote) The expression “this faith” indicates that Jesus referred, not to faith in a general sense, but to faith of a particular kind—faith like that possessed by the widow. Jesus did not answer his question. He raised it so that his disciples would think about the quality of their own faith. Was it gradually weakening, so that they were in danger of returning to the things they had left behind? Or did they have the sort of faith exemplified by the widow? Today, we should likewise ask ourselves, ‘What kind of faith does “the Son of man” find in my heart?’
16. What sort of faith did the widow have?
16 For us to be among those who will receive the justice of Jehovah, we need to follow the course of that widow. What sort of faith did she have? She showed her faith by persistently “going to [the judge], saying, ‘See that I get justice.’” That widow persisted in order to receive justice from an unrighteous man. Similarly, God’s servants today can be confident that they will receive the justice of Jehovah—even if it takes more time than they had expected. Further, they show their confidence in God’s promises by persistent prayers—yes, by ‘crying out to Jehovah day and night.’ (Luke 18:7) Indeed, if a Christian were to stop praying for justice to be done, he would show that he had lost confidence that Jehovah is going to act in behalf of his servants.
17. What reasons do we have to persevere in prayer and keep our faith in the certain coming of Jehovah’s day of judgment?
17 The particular circumstances of that widow show us that we have additional reasons for persevering in prayer. Consider some of the differences between her situation and ours. The widow kept approaching the judge even though no one gave her any encouragement to do so, but God’s Word gives us much encouragement to “persevere in prayer.” (Romans 12:12) The widow had no assurance that her requests would be granted, but Jehovah has assured us that justice will be done. By means of his prophet, Jehovah stated: “Even if it should delay, keep in expectation of it; for it will without fail come true. It will not be late.” (Habakkuk 2:3; Psalm 97:10) The widow had no helper to plead for her in order to add force to her petition. But we have a powerful helper, Jesus, “who is on the right hand of God, who also pleads for us.” (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25) Hence, if the widow, despite her challenging situation, kept pleading with the judge in hopes that justice would be done, how much more so should we keep our faith in the certain coming of Jehovah’s day of judgment!
18. How will prayer strengthen our faith and help us to receive justice?
18 The illustration of the widow teaches us that there is a close link between prayer and faith and that our persistent prayers can counteract influences that could weaken our faith. Of course, this does not mean that a mere outward show of offering prayers is a remedy against loss of faith. (Matthew 6:7, 8) When we are moved to pray because we realize that we are fully dependent upon God, then prayer draws us close to God and strengthens our faith. And since faith is required for salvation, no wonder Jesus found it necessary to encourage his disciples “always to pray and not to give up”! (Luke 18:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:13) Granted, the coming of “the great day of Jehovah” does not depend on our prayers—it will come whether we pray for it or not. But whether we will personally receive justice and survive God’s war or not definitely does depend on the faith we have and the prayerful course we pursue.
19. How do we prove that we firmly believe that God will “cause justice to be done”?
19 As we recall, Jesus asked: “When the Son of man arrives, will he really find this faith on the earth?” What is the answer to his intriguing question? How happy we are that millions of faithful servants of Jehovah around the earth today prove by their prayers, patience, and perseverance that they do have this faith! Thus, Jesus’ question can be answered in the affirmative. Yes, despite the injustices that Satan’s world presently inflicts upon us, we firmly believe that God shall “cause justice to be done for his chosen ones.”
Do You Recall?
• What has caused some Christians to lose faith?
• Why can we have firm faith in the coming of Jehovah’s day of judgment?
• What reasons do we have to persevere in prayer?
• How will persistent prayer help to prevent us from losing our faith?
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What is highlighted by the illustration of the widow and the judge?
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Millions today firmly believe that God shall “cause justice to be done”