by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 3 Lincolnton, NC October 16, 2005
5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.
6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
1901 ASV Translation:
5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, hath her hope set on God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.
6 But she that giveth herself to pleasure is dead while she liveth.
I. Paul's Perspective of Widows.
A. There are those who have learned how to fit into the Kingdom's character.
1. The "true" widow has been made "alone" (as was Adam's condition before Eve).
2. She responds to her situation by turning to God.
a. The word "hope" is not "firm" in the sense that it has any certitude; it is used in situations where one "hopes" a thing that is not going to be as well as other situations where "hope" drives one to wait patiently.
b. The widow, however, determines to turn the "expectation" part of her life in the deliberate direction of "God". What she needs, she "expects from God" -- permitting Him, therefore, to be the Provider. This means that she doesn't define her own needs; she allows God to determine what she needs.
c. Paul's use of "prayer" terms indicates his meaning...
1) The word translated "supplications" is the word for the expression of the deepest desires of the heart -- however they are determined (by physical, emotional, or spiritual concerns). This is the word for Zacharias' "prayer", the word for Paul's prayer that arises from his willingness to perish in order to effect salvation, and the word for Anna's activities in the temple night and day.
2) The word translated "prayers" is more general but not less important. It is the word used in the descriptive title "A House of Prayer" and is the term used by Jesus to explain the disciples' failure to be able to cast the demon out of the youth while He was on the mountain. It is a practice that held a central position in the "regulated life" of the worshippers of Yahweh (as "the hour of prayer" indicates).
d. Paul's "night and day" terminology indicates a pattern of settled regularity. The very use of the phrase indicates a rather heavy involvement by God on the part of the widow because she does not "manufacture" deep longings of heart, but experiences them in sufficient regularity to "supplicate" night and day.
B. There are those who think life revolves around them.
1. The commitment here is to "having no unmet deep longings" about which one might pray.
a. In fear of having unmet wants, this kind of "widow" turns to the superficial life of one committed to luxury in the physical things and extreme shallowness in the relational and spiritual things.
b. Paul says this one is "dead while alive" -- meaning that the crucial issues of "life" have already been shunted aside so that "living" is a shadowy thing that has lost its meaning. The heart still pumps, the mind still thinks, but the person has traded for the superficial instead of the profound and the result is a kind of "living death".
2. The tragedy is profound: because of the fear of "needing", the woman (much like an abandoned soul) has shut out the reality of "living".
II. Conclusions From Paul's Perspective.
A. The Kingdom is not about "retirement" from the "pressures" of life; it is about moving ever deeper into the pressures with no relief from that lifestyle. That is not to say that there is no "satisfaction" of the pressures of the needs (God answers the supplications); but it is to say that about as soon as one is met, another one pops up to occupy the one who engages in such supplications night and day.
1. The oddity is this: the deeper we plunge into the lifestyle of the desperate the more significant answers we have from God so that while we never escape the "pressures" of unmet needs, we are buoyed up by the regular responses of God.
B. The longer we have lived in this world the further from its core values we are to have moved.