“True justice must be given to foreigners living among you and to orphans, and you must never accept a widow’s garment as security for her debt. Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from your slavery. That is why I have given you this command. “When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all you do. When you beat the olives from your olive trees, don’t go over the boughs twice. Leave the remaining olives for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. When you gather the grapes in your vineyard, don’t glean the vines after they are picked. Leave the remaining grapes for the foreigners, orphans, and widows.” – Deuteronomy 24:17-21.
There is a superhero movie coming out every week. The formula is the same; watching these powerful, superheroes defeat their fiendish arch-villains plotting to destroy the planet, or the universe. These movies fall in line with our fascination with the powerful, the rich and the popular. The Bible has a different perspective. The Bible has stories of the meek, the humble, and the disenfranchised. These stories would not be riveting superhero movies, that is for sure.
We see God’s interest in people on the margins on nearly every page of Scripture. God selected a nation of slaves to be His special people. God chose sheep-tenders to be the first to hear news of the Savior’s birth. But perhaps nowhere do we see this reality more clearly than in God’s passion for the orphan.
Just think of the contrast for a second. We see God, the indescribable, powerful and self-sufficient creator of all things, concerned about the least powerful and self-sufficient — the orphan in distress. “He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice…” (Deuteronomy 10:18). The Prophets echo the same truth: “No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy.” (Hosea 14:3b). And, again, in the Psalms, “Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families…” (Psalm 68:5-6).
In this, we see the beauty of God’s heart. He cares not only for the orphan, but for each of us as well. He pursued us when we were poor and alone. He adopted us as His children. He invites us to call him “father” and to live as His daughters and sons. Of course, we must not miss the fact that God calls His people to do the same. We are to live out “pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress…” (James 1:27).
As we do this, we reveal God’s heart to the world. Whether by adoption or foster care or mentoring or supporting the local church in care for orphans in our area, we display that astonishing reality that God cares passionately for the least of these, the least of us.
- What does God’s consistent concern for the orphan tell you about His character?
- What does it reveal about how He feels about you?
- In what ways might you be able to reveal God’s peculiar, beautiful sense of priority to the world?
- What can we do this week to help orphans around the world?