By Sally Lombardo
“Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey! What will you do on the day of punishment, in the ruin that will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth? Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still." (Isaiah 10:1-4)
We can’t understand God loves, cares for, and singles out widows and orphans for special care. Throughout the Old Testament, writers refer to the widow’s cause. One of our requirements as disciples is to care for the lonely. In Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Moses tells the Israelites they are to fear God, for the Lord “defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. …you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt” (NIV). Psalm 146:9 reads: “The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked” (NIV). Isaiah forecasts woe to people who abuse the poor. It is more than just good advice.
In the New Testament, James refers to true worship, advising his readers, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27 NIV). What are we to learn from this? In every generation, from 740 BC, when Isaiah was written up to our time today, some people live on the fringes of society, and we are to notice them. Sometimes they look like homeless friends who wander into public places and even church pews. We feel unsettled; we don’t know what to do or say. Sometimes they can be our elderly parents or neighbors who need to know others see and love them. God cares about the lonely and expects the same from his disciples.
Even if we cannot enact laws that bring justice to all people, and we don’t know what to do about immigration or homelessness, we can follow God by just seeing people who long to be noticed. We can make eye contact with our grocery clerk, or write a note to someone who has lost a spouse and have compassion, etc.
Psalm 68:6 reads, “God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing” (NIV). Who in your family is lonely and needs care? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a "gift" who will guide us, lead us, and empower us. Yet many believers don't experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This unique Christian small group Bible study provides a space in which we can explore what it truly means to "walk in the Spirit" on a daily basis. The Spirit-Filled Life small group curriculum centers on a 6-part video teaching series examining the life-giving and creative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Begin to experience the gift today!
Comments will be approved before showing up.