Psalms 10:1-2; 44:23 set our stage today:

Why do you stand afar off, O Lord? why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor…Rouse yourself! Why are you sleeping, O Lord?

These texts join together the theme from yesterday and of the persistent widow today. Not too surprising, her tale is told in Luke as well, with the same doggedness of the neighbour at midnight. Before her story-lesson arrives, we are assured that the divine sovereign reign is already here in chapter 17, verse 21: “Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

We move to chapter 18:2-5 (NRSV) with an illustration to pray without ceasing, and to not lose heart:

In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a woman who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.” For a while he refused, but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God, and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.

The widow asks for justice against her adversary opponent. The unjust judge is not going to be moved by conscience, public opinion, or fear of God. It was persistence in justice winning out that fueled the woman and won this particular battle.

All things will be set right–that is true holy vindication. Vengeance is not vindication. When it comes, it is swift and without warning. God as judge is truly incorruptible and righteous.