Edging Away from Egypt (V)

In these days when statist schools are destroying themselves, when socialized medicine is destroying an honored profession and legalized abortion is turning many doctors into murderers, when cynicism concerning church and state and much else is destroying these institutions, we must recognize the hand of God in these things. He is throwing down a reprobate order and preparing the way for His own kingdom and authority.[1]

The judgments of God on cities, cultures or nations can be very painful. But the Bible says, they are “…true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold…” (Ps.19:9-10).

The person who has had an infected appendix removed has to endure some pain, while the severed abdominal muscles perforated to permit surgery heal. But that’s better than the appendix bursting, releasing the toxic contents into the abdominal cavity. Death would soon follow.

This is how we must view the coming pain that we’ll feel in the church. Some is evident already; more is to follow, until God is convinced we’ve got our house in order. And that may take generations, because we have been slow to move, to respond. And He knows how to bring down the thumb-screws, so we get the message loud and clear.

The message is primarily for the church: God’s people. It’s in our house that the clean-up has to begin, because that was where the problems first manifested. We walked away from God’s Word, and He’s holding us accountable for our sin.

We have to let the Word of God apply in all areas, and that includes what we’re doing about welfare. And in the case of orphans, the Bible has much to say.

The three Old Testament books of Deuteronomy, Job and Psalms have the most references to orphans; to God’s care and concern for them, along with the obligations He places upon us to care for them. Deuteronomy tells us that “you shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge” (Deut.24:17). Psalms tells us:

A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely (or literally, “makes the solitary to dwell in a house”) -Ps.68:5-6.

God is especially concerned that the vulnerable people in any community are protected. He expressly indicates in the Old Testament that these are the widows, the orphans, the poor and the aliens. They lack a provider or protector. It is a Christian responsibility in the family and the Church to provide that. It is not a task God has ever committed to the State.

The New Testament (in the King James Version) makes only one reference to “the fatherless,” in James 1:27. Why is this so? My conclusion: we are supposed to be well informed about welfare, from the Old Testament. The New Testament simply carries on from the Old. Little, if any extra teaching is required.

Adoption in a theological sense is that act of God’s free grace by which, upon our being justified by faith in Christ, we are received into the family of God; and entitled to the inheritance of heaven.[2]

The best thing for an orphan is to be adopted in a godly home. The child has lost their parents; let them have new ones, within the Christian community.

We see this in the Biblical book of Esther. Esther had “…no father or mother” (Esther 2:7), and she was brought up by her Uncle Mordecai, who “… took her as his own daughter.” She had a personal crisis as a child: her Uncle Mordecai solved it for her.

Being adopted within a family is extremely personal. It means cost to the family, and inconvenience, just like having children by normal means. Everyone has to adjust to the new arrangement, including the new arrival.

But that’s life. The Christian life is a call to inconvenience. Paul wrote:

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me’ (Ro.15:1-3).

Paul also directed Titus that “our people must also learn to engage in good deeds (or “occupations”) to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:14). You could hardly be dealing with a more “pressing need,” than a child who has lost their parents.

The early church confronted the social depravity of the Roman culture, and in particular, the abandonment of babies. Adoption became common-place within the church of the era, as  church members found abandoned babies and took them into their home and family.

The famous Christian lexicographer Noah Webster (1758-1843) and his wife Rebecca, had 8 children. When their daughter-in-law died in childbirth, how could they help their son in his crisis? Though elderly, they brought their grieving son and grandson into their home, caring for the child as their own. It meant their son could now return to work. Theirs was Christianity in action.

The need for adoption is especially evident as a result of war, or poverty, or as with the Romans, a culture is depraved and indifferent to the needs of children. When the English preacher Derek Prince (1915-2003) married his wife Lydia in Jerusalem, she’d already adopted 8 girls. He got an instant family of females! Later, when ministering in Africa, they came across a new-born baby girl, but parents who could not afford to keep her. Derek and Lydia wrapped her up in some women’s underwear, and adopted her themselves.

Conclusion:                                                                                                                              

We Christians are obliged to find Biblical solutions to personal and social problems, acknowledging that power flows to those that take responsibility. We won’t replace the evil of socialism with pious words. But as we take action in obedience to scripture, we can hope and expect the blessing of God on our endeavors, and the influence of the gospel to spread far and wide.

 

 

[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Salvation and Godly Rule,” 1983, p.69.

[2] Quoted in Rousas Rushdoony, “Salvation and Godly Rule,” 1983, p.276.