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father to the fatherless

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling” (Psalm 68:5).

This is an excerpt from a passage I read this past weekend as we focused on the magnificence of God.  The passage goes on to describe how God has been a faithful provider to his people.

I’ve always liked Psalm 68:5 for how it describes God.  A father to the fatherless …  a defender of widows.  Not just a protector but a defender!

As I looked into this idea of God becoming a father to the fatherless, I noticed that the Bible is filled with verses that speak of God’s concern for the disadvantaged and disenfranchised (over 30 verses alone deal with the fatherless).   Here are a few samples:

“Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts.  They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them. Therefore the Lord, the LORD Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel, declares: ‘Ah, I will get relief from my foes and avenge myself on my enemies.  I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities.  I will restore your judges as in days of old, your counselors as at the beginning.  Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.’  Zion will be redeemed with justice, her penitent ones with righteousness.  But rebels and sinners will both be broken, and those who forsake the LORD will perish” (Isaiah 1:25-28).

“So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty” (Malachi 3:5).

And there are more:

“When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands” (Deuteronomy 24:19).

“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed” (Psalm 82:3).

What is even more interesting is how often the Bible speaks of the fatherless and widows in the same sentence.  Both have suffered loss and have been deprived of a key relationship — one that provides protection, guidance, and support.

God’s people are to pick up where the loss begins.  While we cannot take the place of a father or husband, we can certainly help meet some very practical needs.  And even more importantly, we are to become their voice when their own voice isn’t being heard.