“True justice must be given to foreigners living among you and to orphans, and you must never accept a widow’s garment as security for her debt. Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from your slavery. That is why I have given you this command.”
Deuteronomy 24:17-18 NLT
God expects us to make sure that three groups of people are looked after and that they get justice.
- Immigrants—it was important for the Israelites to show hospitality and to do what was right as it relates to foreigners. They knew what it was like to strangers in a foreign land when their forefather had to move his family to Egypt when there was a famine in the land. It’s amazing how soon we forget to show mercy when we get in a position of privilege.
- Orphans or the fatherless—we should have compassion for children whose father is not in their lives. When the disciples tried to keep people from bringing children to Jesus to bless he got upset and told them to let the children come to him so he could bless them.
- Widows—these were women whose husbands were dead to them. The life expectancy of men wasn’t very long back then and men were dropping like flies. Today with mass incarceration and violence in our community many men are dead or in jail. We have to look out for our women.
If we don’t do right by these three groups we end up offending God. We’ve got to stop playing church and practicing dead religion.
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.