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God's heart for the orphan
Getting to know someone well is hard work. It takes time and persistence. We must discover new things about their character, their likes, and their dislikes. It means learning what pleases them and angers them. It means finding out what their priorities are—what really matters to them.
The same is true for God. Knowing God requires discerning what He likes and dislikes, what pleases Him, and what angers Him. Knowing God requires finding out what really matters to Him.
In his book, Fields of the Fatherless, C. Thomas Davis writes, “If you searched the Bible from front to back, you'd find many issues close to God's heart. But you'd also notice three groups of people coming up again and again. They appear so many times, in fact, you have to conclude that God mentions them purposely to make sure they are at the top of our priority list.”
Who are these three groups of people? They are orphans (or fatherless), widows, and aliens (or strangers). It is inescapable that these three people groups especially matter to God. Deuteronomy 24:19 illustrates God's care and provision for them, and His desire to see His followers acting as His hands and feet in meeting their basic needs: “When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.”
In Proverbs 23:10-11, God’s concern for the fatherless is evident in these words of warning: “Do not move an ancient boundary stone, or encroach on the fields of the fatherless, for their Defender is strong; He will take up their case against you.”
God doesn't stop at caring for and defending those close to His heart; rather He places care for the least among us at the heart of what it means to be a follower of Christ. In fact, in James 1:27, God defines pure religion in the context of orphan care: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Not only has God commanded that His people care for those in need, but He has also ordained and modeled the institution of adoption. Anyone who has placed his or her trust in Christ has been adopted into God's family, through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Ephesians 1:4b -5 tells us: … “In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will…”
Caring for the fatherless does not simply consist of compassionate and kind acts, nor is adoption an additional means of growing our families to meet our own desires. Rather, caring for the fatherless is at the very heart of God. Caring for the fatherless is about obedience … it is about knowing the God whom we serve.
“Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.”