Last Thanksgiving, I was allowed to present a lesson before the Dalraida church of Christ concerning orphaned and fatherless children. The lesson was written and presented specifically for the Thanksgiving Appeal for the work at Childhaven. The second area I covered in the lesson was our attitude toward orphans/fatherless.
We have already seen God’s attitude toward the marginalized and helpless. It stands to reason our attitude should be similar.
First, let’s look at this cautionary tale from Exodus 22:22 “You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.” I don’t know about you, but I do NOT want God’s wrath to burn against me. He apparently loves the fatherless and wants me to love them, too. But, God doesn’t just want us to be upset when one of His lonely ones hurts, He wants us to show unbounded compassion; the kind of compassion that will motivate us to act with protection, love, and care.
Look at God’s instructions about love and care in Jeremiah 22:3 “Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. For if you will indeed obey this word, then there shall enter the gates of this house kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their servants and their people.” I love how God tells us not only about how we are to care for the fatherless, but how He will reward us if we do! Imagine how the Israelites must have reacted to such a promise in Jeremiah’s day. And today, when we protect and love those who are lonely and without families, we can more completely understand and follow the rule of Jesus, the greatest, the King of kings.
Finally, a passage from Deuteronomy 24:17-18 speaks against the selfishness of society then and now: “Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.” Don’t step on the weak to get ahead. Do you remember Nathan’s story about the man who took the little ewe lamb from the family who loved it like a daughter? His rebuke to David wasn’t just about adultery, but using his kingly power for selfish gain. God wants us to be kind to the fatherless and help them to rise up. Do not hold back anything from them. Give freely of your possessions, time, and love. Part of being in the family of God is recognizing that there will be members of your family who you will never meet on Earth, but who will benefit from your love. When we meet our Father in Heaven how amazing it will be to be united with those we were never introduced to here.
Love the orphan and the fatherless and you will show love to God…