What does the Bible say about Orphan Care?

The Bible is unequivocal when it articulates God’s command to care for the fatherless. James 1:27 is perhaps the clearest summation of what our response to the fatherless should be. It states, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” When we are at our best as the Church, we care for the fatherless. When we are in our purest and truest form, the needs of the fatherless are met. When we cast a vision of what we hope our local church can hope to become, James 1:27 should be central in that conversation.

While James 1:27 gives us a beautiful description, the Bible is so much more robust when it speaks of the fatherless. As God gave His people the Law, He made sure to include the fatherless. Deuteronomy 27:19 strongly condemns anyone who would neglect the needs of the fatherless, saying, “Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.” Deuteronomy also offers the most poignant instructions to care for the fatherless. Here, God commands His people to set a portion of their tithe for the fatherless (14:29 and 26:12-13), to invite them to their festivals (16:11-14), and to dedicate a portion of their harvest to the fatherless (24:17-21). If the Church today could just follow these three instructions mentioned in Deuteronomy with full obedience, we could see millions more children saved. 

Outside of Deuteronomy, caring for the fatherless continues as a central theme throughout the remainder of the Old Testament. Though Job is personally afflicted, his appeals to God constantly reference the fatherless. Job condemns those who would neglect the fatherless (6:27, 24:9). He pleas to God on account of he personally has cared for the fatherless (29:12). Job, who was “blameless and upright,” goes so far as to say that he personally “reared [the fatherless] as a father would” (31:18). The Psalms and Proverbs likewise offer stringent commands to care for the fatherless and indictments against those who neglect them. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Hosea, Zechariah and Malachi all continue this same message with the passion and zeal found throughout the prophets. 

This same message continues and is amplified in the New Testament. When Christ came to this Earth to save us from our sins, He chose to make the adoption of an orphan a central illustration of our salvation. Jesus tells his followers in John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you.”  Paul likewise states in both Romans 8 and Galatians 4 that God has given us His Spirit, allowing us to become sons of God and cry out “Abba, Father!” We were born children of sin, but God did not abandon us as orphans. He cared for us as orphans, adopted us, and changed our nature through His Son. 

While all of these passages show that God takes the fatherless seriously, Psalm 68:5 is perhaps the most important verse pertaining to God’s heart for them. Psalm 68: 5 states, “A father to the fatherless… is God in His holy habitation!” Caring for the needs of orphans is not merely what He does or what He commands, it is who He is. God is a God of the fatherless. All of the calls, commands, and judgments for the fatherless flow out of the very nature of who He is. Thus, we as the Church ought to care for orphans not just because it is a morally good thing to do. We should do it not just because the Bible tells us so (even though that should be reason enough). We ought to care for orphans because it is who God is. If we desire to know the heart of God, we can find it in caring for orphans. 

So, what can you do? Every follower of Christ on this planet is capable of doing something for an orphan. The frontline of the Church’s response should be prayer. Have no doubt; that God hears us when we pray. Every injustice that is present in the physical must first be defeated in the spiritual. Secondly, you can give. Serving Orphans Worldwide has a proven track record of solid, vetted work all around the world. %100 of any contribution makes it directly to the field with no funds going to operational expenses. You can even go a step further to sponsor a child through SOW (https://soworldwide.org/sponsor-a-child/ ). Finally, you can adopt or foster a child. Adoption is the greatest hope for a child in need. While Serving Orphans Worldwide does not facilitate adoptions, we do have a vetted list of agencies and resources to provide you with more information.

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