Week 3 – Lessons from Job Cont’d
Day 4: God’s Purposes – Review
While, as we learned from Job, it is possible to have the wrong purpose in ministry, it is never possible for GOD to have the wrong purpose. Let’s review some of God’s purposes for reaching the fatherless that we have talked about so far.
1. To remind His people from whence they have come. Deuteronomy 24:18, “…But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt…” Israel’s bondage in Egypt is a picture of our bondage to sin. Caring for the fatherless, the widow, the stranger, i.e. the oppressed, would be a constant reminder to the Israelites of the oppression that they faced under Egyptian rule. The same is true for us today. The lives of many of these people are etched with story after story of oppression, abuse and poverty – constant reminders of the bondage that sin has over each of us until Christ sets us free.
2. It pictures God’s redemptive plan. Deuteronomy 24:18, “…And the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence.” For every soul that is bound, God has a plan of redemption. Redemption is a powerful thing. In today’s world we do not use the word to its fullest potential. In day-to-day life we redeem coupons, but that is about the extent of it. We use the term continually in our spiritual walk without giving much consideration of what it actually means. Redemption is the repurchasing of something that has been lost, stolen, or (in the case of the sinner) has thrown itself into the bondage of another. Redemption involves payment of a price equivalent to the worth of that which is being redeemed or its associated debt. Israel was brought out of Egypt only after the Passover, only after the shedding of the blood of thousands of lambs and the death of the first-born, not only of the Egyptian people but of their cattle also.
In Ezekiel 16, God compares His taking up of Israel to that of one taking up a child that has been abandoned in a field. Just as God set up the plan for redemption for the Israelites to leave Egypt He has set up a plan for our redemption from the bondage of sin. Caring for the fatherless (particularly adoption) provides an opportunity not only to share that redemptive plan but to picture it before those among whom we are ministering. (For more on this beautiful picture in Ezekiel 16, check out “The King’s Daughter: A Story of Redemption)
3. It is a reflection of the Character and Power of God. Deuteronomy 10:17-19, “For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the strangers for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
God’s desire is for the lives of His people to reflect His actions toward these people groups. This verse clearly says, God loves the stranger, therefore, you love the stranger. There are several important things about His way of approaching these people that are important for us to notice:
First, He does not “regard” persons, He doesn’t pick and choose based on people’s merits whom He is going to help. If that were the case, we would all be in trouble, because none of us merit His grace.
Secondly, He does not take reward. He isn’t looking for something in return.
Third, He executes judgment. We will look at this further when we get to the next section; there we will find multiple commands to take up the cause of these people.
Fourth, love. That one is actually harder than you might think.
Fifth, he demonstrates that love by giving food and raiment.
I dare you! I dare you to write out these first three of God’s purposes for reaching the fatherless on a 3×5 card. Put it someplace where you can see it, and regularly, prayerfully, ask yourself, “Is this being worked out in my life and how does the Lord want me to further apply it.”
As I was writing this it reminded me of something. I took this picture of the sun the other day:
It isn’t really a very good picture, but it is recognizable as the sun.
But wait a minute, if you step back a little you see that all is not as it appears.
It is actually a reflection of the sun. Perhaps not as bright, perhaps not as warm, nor as strong, but still a reflection. Like the sun, we are to be reflecting Christ in our lives. Our reflection may not be perfect, but we are to keep on letting His light shine through us and into the lives of others!
Up Next: Week 4: Part 1: Lessons from Psalms and Proverbs
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Also Check out Rachel Miller’s Book: The King’s Daughter: A Story of Redemption