A FATHER AND PROTECTOR
Date: June 19
Category: Godly Character
"A father of the fatherless and a judge and protector of the widows is God in His holy habitation."
In various passages throughout the Bible, you will often find so-called "self-revelations" of God. You will often find Scriptures that reveal God's nature and character. This verse is one such revelation. It says here that God is a father to the fatherless. Someone who is fatherless is someone who doesn't have a dad. This could be an orphan who doesn't have a father and a mother, or a regular child who only has a mother. So to those who don't have a father, God is their father.
But what is a father? A father is someone who teaches, protects, and provides for a child. When a child loses his father, he loses his teacher, protector, and provider. That's why it's always such a big loss for the child. Many children with single moms or children with no parents at all often struggle in their development because they don't have that male figure in their lives. I remember on one of my mission's trips to Belgrade, Serbia, my daughter came with me. We were distributing humanitarian aid in an orphanage. This orphanage was one of the largest orphanages in the area. It had about 300 orphans; most of them were from infancy to about 4 years of age. We brought bags of hygiene items, toys, and literature to this orphanage.
The children lined up to receive these packages. Whenever they would come to us, we would hug them, tickle them, and play with them for a short time. An interesting thing that I noticed was that the children enjoyed that more than the toys and packages. They loved being touched more than the material things. This shows that children have a natural need in their hearts for a father, for a parent to hug them and show them affection.
This verse says that God is a father to the fatherless. So because we are His followers now, He wants us to do our best to help those who don't have a father. God wants us to convey the love of the Heavenly Father to those who are lacking the love of an earthly father. This verse also says that God is a judge and a protector to the widows. That just means that God is going to bring justice to the widows and protect them so that they will not be abused. So again, if God is the protector of the widow, then we too should do our best to protect the widows.
In the last decade, almost 250,000 people have been killed from the civil wars on the Balkans. About 2.5 million people have become either refugees or displaced people. Many children have become fatherless. Many women have become widows. And many of these people are without food to eat or employment to earn money. But according to this Scripture, God the Father is a father to the orphans and a protector to the widows.
Now since He is a father and a protector to those in need, then we as Christians should have a heart for the orphans and widows too. Even though God is the One who protects and provides, He wants us to be like Him. So if we are to be like Him, then we too have to take care of the orphans and widows.
Actually in James 1:27a the Bible says, "External religious worship [religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need…" So according to this passage, true religion is extending a helping hand to the needy orphans and widows. That's what God the Father would want us to do.
Although God is a father to the fatherless and a protector to the widows, He will also be there for us as well. We all have earthly fathers. We would not be here if we didn't. But some people's fathers have passed away. Others have never met their fathers. Some fathers fail; some are better than others. And we, as parents, have made mistakes as well. None of us are perfect. But God the Father is perfect. He'll never leave. He never fails and He'll always be there for us. So whether we have a natural father in our lives or not, we can all benefit from our Heavenly Father, who is the greatest father of all. What's most wonderful is that He loves us and embraces us just as we are.
Since we now have the love of our Heavenly Father in our hearts, we have to convey that love to others, especially those who don't have a father and a protector such as the orphans and widows. Through our tangible acts of love, those hurting people will be embraced by the comfort found in God the Father.