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Why Do We Care for the Fatherless?
It is important to reflect on why we care for orphans – to consider the biblical foundations for foster care, adoption, and orphan care ministries. God gives ample reasons through His Word for His people to be motivated and mobilized to care for the fatherless.
The Old Testament clearly reveals a pattern of God’s care for the orphan and His command for His followers to demonstrate compassion for them in tangible and practical ways. God demands that the orphan be treated with justice and shown mercy. God equates mistreating the fatherless with sin and He equates caring for the fatherless with righteousness and blessing (see Exodus 22:22; Deuteronomy 10:18; 14:28-29; 24:17-21; 27:19; Job 24:3; 29:11-12; Psalm 10:14, 18; 68:5-6; 82:3; 94:3-7; 146:7-9; Proverbs 23:10-11; Isaiah 1:16-17, 23; 10:12; Jeremiah 5:28; 7:1-7; 22:3; 49:11; Hosea 14:3; Zechariah 7:8-10; and Malachi 3:5).
The New Testament doctrine of adoption can be found in five passages in the apostle Paul’s epistles: Romans 8:14-17, 23; 9:4; Galatians 4:3-7; and Ephesians 1:3-6. New Testament adoption describes the act of God whereby He makes us members of His family, by grace through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, thus granting us all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities therein. No community of people in this world should be more attuned to the cries of the orphan than the dearly loved, adopted children of God. Courage, confidence, and endurance in our care for orphans, especially when life is tough, should flow from our knowledge that God deals with us in terms of our adoption in and union with Christ.
James 1:27 states, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” The phrase “orphans and widows” is used over forty times by Old Testament writers, but only once in the New Testament. The first century Jewish Christian readers immediately knew what James was calling for based upon their knowledge of the Old Testament. Followers of Yahweh, true disciples of Christ, will “visit” (episkeptomai) – which means “actually extend real care toward orphans.” This pivotal verse is the New Testament foundation for the call to minister to the orphan. It must be read and understood in relation to the many Old Testament texts that call for justice and provision for the fatherless.
These three areas of Scripture bear strong witness to God’s care for the fatherless and His clear desire that His people do likewise. It is only through the generosity of God’s people that we can meet the tremendous needs of the fatherless that we encounter every day. Thank you!
I pray that you and your church will join with others across our state and give generously to this year’s Children’s Home Sunday Offering scheduled for Father’s Day, June 19. You can discover the many ways you can be a “helper of the orphan” (Psalm 10:14) through our “Connect1Child” ministry at connect1child.org or lbch.org.
Thank you for aligning your hearts with our Lord to accomplish His will in caring for children in need!