Archives for posts with tag: orphan

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve taken a screenshot of Deuteronomy 24.17-22 so that you can see how often the word “sojourner” suddenly appears in the text.  The word can also be translated “alien, stranger, foreigner, or resident alien.”  It refers to the people living in Israel who were not Hebrew.  These were immigrants or aliens residing in the land and they were very often poor.  Notice how God’s heart and concern were for the alien, and he wanted the people to be for them also because they had once been foreigners themselves in the land of Egypt.

Notice also that they were grouped together with the fatherless and the widow.  The reason for this is that orphans and widows, along with resident foreigners, were often the most financially vulnerable in the country.  This was the position of Naomi and Ruth when they returned from Moab after the great famine.  Indeed, Ruth herself went out and gleaned grain left over from those who had harvested the crop so that she and Naomi could survive.

The point of all this is that the most vulnerable in society should be the ones that the people were most concerned about.  We see this same concern in the New Testament as well.  One of the instructions that we see again and again there is to remember the poor.

How we remember the poor and how we serve them is a matter for our own wisdom and creativity to figure out in our particular culture.  Tim Keller has written an excellent book on that particular subject that is well worth reading.  That we remember and serve the poor, is not a subject for debate because this is one of the clear commands of Scripture, and something we see practiced throughout the Bible.

 

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Assyria will not save us; we will not ride on horses, and we will say no more, “Our God,” to the work of our hands because in you the fatherless child finds mercy.” (Hosea 14:3, LEB)

This is part of the call to repentance that is contained in the last chapter of Hosea.  When God’s people were apostate they hoped that the wicked, pagan nation Assyria would help save them instead of relying upon God.  They trusted in the strength of horses instead of the strength of God, and they worshiped idols rather than the one true God.

And then this beautiful gem: in you the fatherless child finds mercy. One Hebrew lexicon defines “mercy” as: “have compassion on, show mercy, take pity on, show love, i.e., have feelings and actions of kindness and concern for one in difficulty, regardless of one’s state of guilt for an offense, usually based in a relationship or association.” God’s mercy to the fatherless is true regardless of the worthiness of the fatherless child.  This is who God is.  This is his character.

Rarely does an orphan find mercy from society at large.  An orphan might find indifference, lack of concern and care, impatience, or unkindness, but society generally has had little mercy for orphans, unless that society was infused with those who worship and follow God.  George Mueller’s entire life in England was dedicated to providing for the care of orphans because George’s compassion for the orphan was driven by his understanding of God’s concern for orphans.

We know from Hosea that God is the God of the fatherless, will we be people of the fatherless on behalf of our Father?

But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.” (Psalm 10:14, ESV)

But you do see; you take notice of trouble and suffering and are always ready to help. The helpless commit themselves to you; you have always helped the needy.” (Psalm 10:14, GNB)

This verse is a good illustration of why I like the Good News Bible.  It does a good job of making the verse simple so it is understandable.  Why does God “note mischief and vexation that you may take it into your hands?” and what does “vexation” even mean?  Does anyone use that word anymore?  The GNB reads: “you take notice of trouble and suffering and are always ready to help.”  Ah!  Now I see what the verse means.

At any rate, the point of the verse is to remind those who are faithful to the Lord that the wicked and arrogant will not get away with being wicked and arrogant.  Sure at times it appears that way, as the psalmist points out, however, the truth is that God notices the machinations of those who are opposed to him and God knows.

This is the life of faith.  We press on despite appearances because we trust more in God’s word than we do in appearances.

God is the parent of all orphans. When the earthly father sleeps beneath the sod, a heavenly Father smiles from above. By some means or other, orphan children are fed, and well they may when they have such a Father. – Charles Spurgeon