Pure religion

17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.

23 Your rulers are rebels,
partners with 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. Is 1:17,23

Today I would like us to focus on two groups of people that the Bible points out as needing our special concern and help – orphans and widows. Allow me to talk from an African perspective. You don’t have to look too far to find an orphan, someone who does not enjoy the privilege of being raised by their biological father and mother in a safe, healthy and life-giving environment. Especially when they are still small, these can easily be neglected and even abused. It is our responsibility to ensure that they are raised in a healthy family environment and are awarded the dignity they deserve with their needs met.

Widows are not a weak group of people – by no means. I know some pretty strong widows. My own mother-in-law has raised and educated her children single-handedly and continues to achieve what only God can help someone to achieve. You will find most widows are strong and can probably take care of themselves. But they are vulnerable and especially where there is an estate to take care of, it is not unusual that someone somewhere will be trying to take advantage of her. Not to mention the hurt of having lost one’s best friend and spouse. These are to be honoured, cherished, comforted, protected, helped and looked out for. In the case where they have no means of survival, we are to see that their needs are met.

Think of an orphan and a widow that you can encourage, help or bless materially today. Take the step and do it. Perhaps God is calling you to offer support to an organisation that looks after these. Listen to what God may be saying and follow his lead. Finally, did you know that the Bible says in James 1:27 that “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”?




<blockquote>A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. Psalms 68:5</blockquote> Our very great and powerful God ta