God’s Call to the Church Today – by, the Bible
[July 27, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
Psalm 82:1-4 (ESV) A Psalm of Asaph
(1) God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: (2) “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah (3) Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. (4) Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Psalm 10:15-18 (ESV)
(15) Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none. (16) The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. (17) O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear (18) to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.
Jeremiah 22:15-17 (ESV)
(15) Do you think you are a king because you compete in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. (16) He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? declares the LORD. (17) But you have eyes and heart only for your dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, and for practicing oppression and violence.”
Proverbs 24:11-12 (ESV)
(11) Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. (12) If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?”
Isaiah 58:5-8 (ESV)
(5) Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD? (6) “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? (7) Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? (8) Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
What’s not clear about that?
[July 27, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to July 27, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to July 27, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to July 27, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (July 27, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]
- Posted in: Christianity
- Tagged: Isaiah, Jeff Crippen, Jeremiah, obedience to Christ, protecting victims, Proverbs, Psalms, widows
I think I’m starting to understand. It’s about mercy and justice. It’s about loving and caring for the oppressed. That’s the heart issue. Like you’ve said before we (the church) have been interpreting some Scripture passages too literally and not seeing the heart of them.
I have also, like Sproul and others, wondered why God doesn’t speak specifically about a woman or others who are being abused. But I think He does! Couldn’t all the passages that speak about caring for the fatherless apply to children who do indeed have a living father, but he doesn’t protect and teach like a father, but rather hurts them? They have a biological father, but who would debate that they don’t really have a protector and nurturer. Wouldn’t most everybody agree that we as a country do right to remove children from dangerous situations and place them in a safe home? So, when the Bible speaks of caring for the fatherless and widows, I’m wondering if the woman who has a husband who doesn’t love her, but abuses her, might she fit under the category of widow? She has a husband, but no one to love and care for her.
You got it, Belle! Right on!
When I was researching for my book, I found that both words for “widow” (the Hebrew and the New Testament Greek) meant simply “a woman bereft of a husband”.
That means a woman whose husband has died (our English definition), PLUS these other kinds of women:
—A woman whose husband is alive but is not protecting and caring for her like he should (for instance, a victim of domestic abuse).
—A woman whose husband is alive but has deserted her.
—A woman who is divorced but not remarried.
—A woman who has never married and therefore does not have the protection of a husband, but is not a young woman living under the protection of her father or elder brother.
—It could even mean, in the 1st century culture, a woman whose husband was absent on a long journey or for military service, so she did not have his protection and support. These days, with technology and rapid travel, this kind of separation does not put a woman at such risk as it did in ancient times.
This biblically correct definition of “widow” is another thing the contemporary church likes to overlook. These days, if your husband has died, you get all sorts of kindness and warmth from the church, but if you are divorced, or (cripes) being abused by the man who lives under your roof and calls himself your husband, then you are likely to be subtly judged, shunned and neglected. After all the rest of the congregation wouldn’t want to pick up your contagion, would they?