It’s difficult to get an accurate count of the number of orphans in the world today. Depending up on the criteria used, the number ranges from 147 to 210 million.  That’s too many million.

Cerecaif Orphanage in Quetzaltenango. The children living there have all been removed from abusive situations. Most are larger sibling groups, and virtually all are social orphans.

The vast majority of orphans living in institutional care are considered “social orphans” – a parent or other relative is alive, and for any number of reasons the court system in place has not dissolved guardianship. Only about 20% of all orphans worldwide are actually eligible for permanent adoption, and of those eligible, less than 1% will be matched with a family. For the other 99%, the future can look grim. But there is hope.

God is father to the fatherless – and He calls us to be family. What might that look like?

For some, it means being a family through adoption. For others, it means being a family through foster care. For others, it means being a family through sponsorship of orphans and the discarded so they can be provided essential things like food, clothing, education, and healthcare. And for all of us, it means being a family by taking the time to get to know and serve those in need – and being a voice for those who have no voice.

The Lord God has always had a heart for the fatherless.  Thanks to the ERLC for providing wonderful scriptural insight.

  • The plight of the fatherless.
    • Orphan, originally meant “to be lonely” or “bereaved.”
    • Word occurs 41 times in the Old Testament.
    • Usually were unprotected and subject to oppression—subject of God’s special protection.
    • War, famine and disease were causes for large numbers of orphans and widows.
    • Could inherit property or learn skill as apprentice only if adopted.
  • God is the helper of the fatherless.
    • God is referred to as both God (Jehovah—YHWH) and Lord (El) in this Psalm.
    • The name “Lord” refers to Him as:
      • Self-Existent and Eternal
      • A God of grace
      • Unchangeable
      • Faithful in keeping His promises and His word
    • The name “God” refers to Him as strong and mighty, therefore to be feared.
  • What does the helper of the fatherless do?
    • God will administer justice against the oppressors.
  • What is our responsibility toward the fatherless?
    • Exercise caution not to mistreat them:
      • Exod. 22:22-24
      • Deut. 24:17-18
      • Prov. 23:10
      • Isa. 1:23-26
      • Isa. 10:1-4
      • Zech. 7:10
      • Mal. 3:5
    • Exercise opportunities to assist them:
      • Deut. 14:28-29
      • Deut. 24:19-22
      • Job 29:12-13
      • Job 31:16-23
      • Ps. 82:3-4
      • Isa. 1:17
      • Jer. 7:6-7
      • James 1:27

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