Archives for posts with tag: widows

“At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.” (Deuteronomy 14:28–29, ESV)

This is referring to a second tithe that God commanded for the Israelites which was to be used to support the Levites–they had no land because their purpose was to serve the Lord–and the stranger/sojourner, orphans and widows.  Obedience to this command was met with the promise that God himself would bless their labors and make them prosper.

We see here God’s heart of compassion for the weakest and most vulnerable in society.  We know that supporting widows and orphans and strangers/foreigners did not stop in the New Testament, it was just as important to followers of Christ as it was to Jews under the Old Covenant.  There are many things in the Bible that are difficult to understand and not particularly clear; this, however, is not one of them.  We know with absolute certainty that if we are to call ourselves followers of Christ, then we have the duty and privilege to minister to the most vulnerable members of our society.  We start with those in the church around us who need help, but then look outward to those in society who need help. This honors God.

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” (Psalm 68:5, ESV)

We would do well to absorb these words from David here.  We are apt to think that an orphan has no father and that widows are alone in the world and unprotected from harm and injustice.  Quite the opposite says David, God is the Father of the fatherless and God is the one who protects widows.

One might properly conclude that, of all people on earth, the ones we least want to get on the wrong side of are orphans and widows.  Do you want to be opposing God?  I certainly do not.

At the end of history, God the great Father of widows and orphans will make all things good, right, and just.  He will implement shalom for his children, for the widows and orphans whom everyone assumed had no father.  That will be a day of reckoning the likes of which we cannot imagine.

“To this day and for ever, God is, and will be, the peculiar guardian of the defenceless. He is the President of Orphanages, the Protector of Widows. He is so glorious that he rides on the heavens, but so compassionate that he remembers the poor of the earth. How zealously ought his church to cherish those who are here marked out as Jehovah’s especial charge. Does he not here in effect say, “Feed my lambs”? Blessed duty, it shall be our privilege to make this one of our life’s dearest objects.” – Charles Spurgeon

  James 1:27

The religious observance that God the Father considers pure and faultless is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being contaminated by the world. (CJB)
Sometimes the Scriptures are so clear and transparent that you see the interpretation without half trying.  This verse is a good example.  If you don’t notice here that God’s heart is for widows and orphans, then something is seriously wrong with you because James is clear here with inescapable clarity. 
We can argue about this or that aspect of our faith, but when it comes to widows and orphans God’s instructions are clear: we are to care for them in their distress, aid them when they need aid; support them when no one else does.
The other clear directive here is that we are called to holiness.  The word James uses that CJB translates contaminated is aspilon, which means “without spot.”  How difficult that is in our day when we are assaulted on all sides by our culture, but we have no release because of difficulty. We are to be different from the world.