January 17, 2021
Today around the globe Christians commemorate this day as Orphan Sunday. Some statistics – in our country, there is a system that cares for the orphans and children whose parents are not able to take care for them – Foster Care – foster families. This is done for a while until the biological parents are able to fulfill their duties. There are 400,000 such children in our country. Most already have a family, but about 100,000 are in need of a family now. California has 55,000 children in FC system, and about 2,000 are currently awaiting for families.
In order for us as believers not to remain on the sidelines, we want to talk about this issue. We will talk about practical steps we can take, but first, how does God view the issue of orphans?
Read Psalm 68:5
What is this Psalm about? This is a consolation and confirmation to believer that God will help them (v. 2), and because of that they already begin to glorify Him for that (vv. 4-5)! A very powerful verse (v. 19) – God delivers! But why? On what basis? The answer – (v. 6) – We are His family! But let’s go in order…
A. No parents
This text generally speaks about children who do not have a father. At that time and in that culture, the loss of a father was equated with being orphan. For a mother to feed her children alone, was virtually impossible! In our modern context, we are talking about orphans and children with one parent.
Why? This is the result of sin – after the Fall, death entered mankind.
These are manifestations of sin in our lives. Some families have one parent because of sin -divorce, infidelity, love of sin, drugs, alcohol, violence, irresponsibility… all lead to the fact that children are left without parental care. In our country, this is Foster Care.
B. No parenting
But what if children have physical parents who feed and clothe them, but are not involved in their lives?
Parents for various reasons are not involved in the life of their children. The reasons are different: 1) Busy with work, career, business… materialism (this is the enemy of the family, 2) Laziness (physical and spiritually), 3) No clear instruction on their responsibilities.
In such families, children do not receive discipline, and therefore they are not self-controlled, do not receive guidance and support.
C. No protection
Our text talks about widows… The Bible talks about widows, but not about widowers. Why? In the culture of that time, a widower could safely go ahead and marry the second time. This is almost impossible for a widow!
What is the main challenge – there is no chance of survival (provision), no protection, loneliness! When Naomi and Ruth returned from Moab – what happened? The whole Bethlehem ran to help them? None! Nobody! Ruth had to go to the field and pick up the leftover grain from morning until evening! Nobody cared for them! This is sad reality.
In our time, the issue of loneliness is generally not well covered. Statistics – in 2014, the percentage of single adults for the first time exceeded the percentage of married in the United States.
This includes people who have never married or divorced and widowed.
In our time, this is perhaps not a question of survival, but a question of bias, neglect, suspicion (what’s wrong with you?); it’s an issue of condemnation, despising. These people are not invited for fellowship; they carry the stigma that’s hard to get rid of. And it is quite possible that this kind of attitude toward them is no less painful than the survival 2-3 thousand years ago.
The Bible does not close its eyes to this complexity. This is reality. You can’t get away from it on this side of eternity. But, what is the solution?
A. God is the father
God loves and cares for orphans! The most important question is why would He do that? Why do people go to an orphanage and take one child and not take another? Very often this is still linked to a child – the heir color, or the smile… God is not looking for the convenient, worthy people with good potential, but He shows mercy, grace to undeserving! This is the NT – this is the Gospel!
When God chooses his team, He chooses differently than we do. When two captains choose teams for football, they begin by picking the best players, leaving the week for the last. When God picks His team, He looks at the heart! Outwardly, this might mean the opposite.
God has a special heart for the orphans and widows.
B. God is the protector
God is the protector or intercessor… which means that He loves, cares and protects the lonely.
The best illustration of this is Naomi and Ruth. For many people who find themselves in a similar situation, the question arises – where is God? And she was left without a family. Naomi’s husband and both of her sons have passed away. Where is God? Many lonely people in a similar situation with affirmation say that there is no God! Stop! God is in the middle of this whole situation. We see God’s providence! He disposes Ruth to take full risks and a unique sacrifice. When Ruth gets toe the fields, she ends up on Boaz’ field; when she proposes, he is already inclined to go with it. When he settles the issue with the closer relative, he declines it. When Boaz marries Ruth, God gives them a child, even though, Ruth didn’t have children from Naomi’s son.
(Ruth 4:13-17) And after all of that, you still want to say that God is not involved in the loves of the lonely?
C. God is holy
Why holiness and not love or mercy? Why is it necessary for a person who is left by people and in need to see God’s holiness?
Holiness is separation from sin (complete moral purity)! No flaw!
First, a parallel example in relation to Scripture that will help us understand the principle (Ps. 119:140) – the word is well tried (pure, without blemish) – the servant loves it! When we are faced with something perfect, absolutely pure, and ideal, we fall in love with it. We are created to seek excellence! And having found it, we submit to this perfection. Like a perfect painting, a diamond, a sunset, a unique goal in soccer! We admire perfection! When it is pure, holy, we love it!
There are two passages in the Bible that most clearly explain holiness. And in both cases, there is an interesting pattern!
(Is. 6:1-4) – when angels come into contact with God’s holiness, they shout, praise God! Nobody tells them about it! It is natural! There is no need to forced them. (v. 8) Isaiah – volunteers! He saw God’s perfection! (Rev. 4:8-11) – Holiness is on display – seeing this perfection, all glorify and worship!
The solution to loneliness is not social program or help from God – but His perfection! When a person is in need, comes into contact with a truly perfect God, this has a stronger effect on him than help!
D. God is in heaven
What does it mean?
1). This means that God is above everything! He sits above the earth and rules over everything and has authority over all! If God is on your side, then on your side is the One who can do anything!
2) This means that God is in heaven, and those who are on earth, and therefor He will often take care of the needy ones through his agents. This is where you and I are in this process.
(James 1:27) – this is true Christianity! Two components – holiness and care for the lonely!
Communion: NT believer, reading this verse, understands that his relationship with God is a relationship based on adoption
(Rom. 8:14-17) (Gal. 4:4-7)
On what basis? (Is. 53:8, 10) – Suffering and death!
The whole Bible is split in two by this verse. Up until this moment – the main need is adoption (have your own family), but now – all the attention is shifted toward the spiritual family… even if one does not have physical family!
The Communion is an ordinance only for the family.
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