“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” – James 1:27
November 10, 2019, was Orphan’s Day. There are many groups of people close to God’s heart, but none more so than orphans. They may be overlooked in this world, but God sees them and loves them as the Bible illustrates over and over again:
Hosea 14:3 says, “…No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy.” John 14:18 adds, “No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.” Psalm 10:14 says “…The helpless put their trust in you. You defend the orphans.” And Deuteronomy 10:18 says, “He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing.”
People throughout the centuries have wondered what God was like. It is a futile endeavor because we could never really grasp the characteristics and glory of God no matter how hard we try. But the Bible tries to help us. Psalm 68:5-6 gives us a glimpse into our Heavenly Father: “Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families…” God’s heart breaks for the fatherless, and He mourns as they mourn. God offers Himself as the ideal Father not only to those without earthly fathers but to all who will come to Him. It shouldn’t surprise us that God would take direct action to ensure his intentions for the fatherless were carried out. God commanded his people to set aside a portion of their fields for the sole purpose of providing for this group. It created a place in which the alien, orphan, or widow could find the provision necessary to survive.
As we discover God’s heart for the orphan, we can’t help but recognize the similarity of His heart for us – for you and me. God is our loving Father, our Mighty Protector. He pursued us when we were abandoned, alone, and lost. He took us in, giving us the “right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
We are not to simply pity orphans and feel bad for them. We are called to be filled with compassion because we can relate. God wants His church to stand as one and connect their hearts with His. We were once orphans too before our heavenly Father adopted us into His eternal family. Now He’s calling us to join in His work: to love, pray, advocate, defend, sponsor, and support the orphans around us.
- What does God’s consistent concern for the orphan tell you about His character?
- What can we do this week to help orphans around the world?