God’s heart for the orphan
There is a special place in the heart of God for the fatherless. In nearly 50 passages the Bible mentions orphans and how the people of God should respond to them. Our passion for helping orphans is simply a reflection of our Heavenly Father’s own passion for them. Here are a few passages that show God’s feeling about orphans.
Deuteronomy 10:18 “He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.”
Psalm 10:14 The unfortunate commits himself to You; You have been the helper of the orphan.
Psalm 68:5-6 A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely;
Jeremiah 49:11 “Leave your orphans behind, I will keep them alive; And let your widows trust in Me.”
Hosea 14:3 “For in You the orphan finds mercy.”
Deuteronomy 24:17 “You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge.
Psalm 10:17-18 O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear. To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.
Psalm 146:9 The LORD protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked.
Proverbs 23:10 Do not move the ancient boundary Or go into the fields of the fatherless, 11 For their Redeemer is strong; He will plead their case against you.
Deuteronomy 14:29 “The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
Deuteronomy 16:11, 14 and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite who is in your town, and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your midst, in the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name. 14 And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your towns.
Deuteronomy 24:19-21 “When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. “When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. “When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.
Deuteronomy 26:13 “You shall say before the LORD your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments.
Job 22:9 “You have sent widows away empty, And the strength of the orphans has been crushed.
Psalm 82:3 Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.
Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.
Jeremiah 7:5-7 “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.
James 1:27 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.
Exodus 22:22-24 “You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. “If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.
Deuteronomy 27:19 ‘Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
Job 6:27 “You would even cast lots for the orphans and barter over your friend.
Job 24:3, 9 “They drive away the donkeys of the orphans; They take the widow’s ox for a pledge. 9 “Others snatch the orphan from the breast, And against the poor they take a pledge.
Psalm 94:6 They slay the widow and the stranger and murder the orphans.
Isaiah 1:23 Your rulers are rebels And companions of thieves; Everyone loves a bribe And chases after rewards. They do not defend the orphan, Nor does the widow’s plea come before them.
Isaiah 10:2 So as to deprive the needy of justice And rob the poor of My people of their rights, So that widows may be their spoil And that they may plunder the orphans.
Jeremiah 5:28 ‘They are fat, they are sleek, They also excel in deeds of wickedness; They do not plead the cause, The cause of the orphan, that they may prosper; And they do not defend the rights of the poor.
Jeremiah 22:3 ‘Thus says the LORD, “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.
Ezekiel 22:7 “They have treated father and mother lightly within you. The alien they have oppressed in your midst; the fatherless and the widow they have wronged in you.
Zechariah 7:10 and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.’
Malachi 3:5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the LORD of hosts.
Another passage that really shows the heart of God regarding orphans is found in Job 29-31. Job was a godly man. Just listen to God’s description of him in chapter 1 verse 8, The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Wow! What an amazing accolade from the Almighty!
In Job 29:2-11 He tells us some things about His relationship with God that ought to make us sit up and take notice. He says…
God watched over me… His lamp shone over my head… by His light I walked through darkness… the friendship of God was over my tent… the Almighty was yet with me…
Then Job goes on in verses 12-17 to tell us why he was so blessed…
Because I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the orphan who had no helper. The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me, and I made the widow’s heart sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy, and I investigated the case which I did not know. I broke the jaws of the wicked and snatched the prey from his teeth.
Job’s wonderful relationship with God resulted from his faithfulness to God’s own passion for diligently ministering to the poor, needy, widow, orphan, lame, and blind. He defended those who were being mistreated and punished the predators. Job lived God’s and our vision for orphan ministry.
We get another glimpse of Job’s passion for the orphan in Job 31:16-22 where he says very passionately… “If I have kept the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my food alone, and the orphan has not shared it (yet from his youth the orphan grew up with me as with a father, and from infancy I guided her), If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or that the needy had no covering, if his stomach has not thanked me, and if he has not been warmed with the fleece of my sheep, if I have lifted up my hand against the orphan, because I saw I had support in the community, let my shoulder fall from the socket, and my arm be broken off at the elbow.”
Job was very serious about caring for the poor and needy, the orphan and the widow. He is a great example to us.