Do not cheat a widow or an orphan. - Exodus 22:22 (NCV)
Talk about excitement! After learning that he might be getting a brother Harold went wild. Everything became a trampoline as he jumped up and down with excitement; he was even bouncing off the walls. When lunch time came he couldn't even sit at the table long enough to eat more than two bites. Not only that, had he been able to stay still long enough, he even thought of cleaning his room.
That night, Harold couldn't sleep. Several times he went outside and ran around the house howling, and when the sun started creeping up over the horizon he got in the car, buckled himself in and impatiently bounced around waiting for his parents who were still in bed sleeping soundly. Three hours later, the rest of his family finally came out of the house and they were ready to go.
As soon as Bill had backed the car out of the driveway, Harold started in with every parent's nightmare. “Are we there yet?” Every two minutes for the entire two hour drive, Harold asked “Are we there yet?” with an occasional “How far away is the orphanage?”
When they finally arrived, Harold was the first one out of the car and he took off on a run to the door, ran smack into it, and fell backward and bonked his head. “Serves you right!” Stella laughed as he got back on his feet. When his parents made it to the door, they all went in and met with the person in charge.
After a round of introductions, Harold's mom said “We are thinking about adopting.” When the Lady heard that, she got a big smile on her face and started telling them how wonderful adoption is and all about the things they would need to do and finally she told them it could be expensive. “How expensive?” Bill asked, and when she told them Harold's mouth dropped open and he started thinking to himself, “We'll never be able to afford that.”
After several minutes of silence, Harold spoke up. “Dad, since it costs so much, what if we were to make a swap?” “A swap?” Harold's dad questioned in response, “What would you swap?” “That's obvious.” Harold said with a grin, “Stella! We could swap Stella.” When Stella heard that she quickly jumped into the conversation and suggested that they swap Harold instead.
After several rounds of who should be swapped, Bill firmly stated, “We're not swapping anybody?” Once Harold and Stella calmed down, Bill turned to the lady and asked what they had for boys Harold's age.” “Boys?” the lady laughed, “We don't have any boys, all we have is girls.” “Girls!” Harold shouted, “I Do Not Want Another Sister!” and then he ran out to the car and waited for his parents, secretly hoping they would leave Stella behind.
While I haven't put together many stories about him, one of Harold's friends knows what it's like to be an orphan. Do you know who that could be? I'll let you try and figure it out but for now let's think about orphans.
I've never been to an orphanage but I have a basic idea of what one is. I've never adopted and orphan either but I know many who have adopted one or more.
The term orphan refers to a child without parents and in biblical usage may also refer to a child “without a father.” Orphans are often mentioned in connection with widows, since in biblical times both would be dependent primarily on a father or husband for their livelihood. Orphans are also mentioned in connection with strangers since both would easily be neglected and mistreated. God’s concern for orphans is seen in His own provision for them and in His directions to His people to treat them with justice and care.
Some people become orphans because they had lost their parents, not in a grocery store but to death. Others become orphans because they have been abandoned by their parents, maybe because they were unable to care for them or simply did not want anything to do with them. What ever the reason, orphans are orphans and God has set down some rules for dealing with them for just like you or me, they are created in God's image and He cares about them.
In Exodus 22:22 God simply tells the people Do not cheat a widow or an orphan. (NCV) In Deuteronomy 27:19 God takes things a little farther when He says “Anyone will be cursed who is unfair to foreigners, orphans, or widows.“ Then all the people will say, “Amen!“ (NCV)
Of course, avoiding doing wrong to an orphan is good but God sets down laws for taking care of them as well.
- Deuteronomy 24:19-21 When you are gathering your harvest in the field and leave behind a bundle of grain, don’t go back and get it. Leave it there for foreigners, orphans, and widows so that the LORD your God can bless everything you do. When you beat your olive trees to knock the olives off, don’t beat the trees a second time. Leave what is left for foreigners, orphans, and widows. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, don’t pick the vines a second time. Leave what is left for foreigners, orphans, and widows. (NCV)
- Don't go back for what you forgot – leave it for the orphan
- Don't try a second time to get more shaken from a tree - leave it for the orphan
- Don't go back an pick grapes a second time - leave it for the orphan
- Isaiah 1:17 - Learn to do good. Seek justice. Punish those who hurt others. Help the orphans. Stand up for the rights of widows. (NCV)
- James 1:27 - Religion that God accepts as pure and without fault is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help, and keeping yourself free from the world’s evil influence. (NCV)
Most of us may never be in the position to adopt or run an orphanage but that doesn't mean we can't help take care of orphans.
And NO you shouldn't try to trade your siblings off like Harold did for even sisters are created in the image of God.
Here's Something To Ponder
- Are you willing to treat orphans God's way?
- Would you ever be willing to share what God has given you with an orphan?