Scripture often lists the alien, fatherless, and widow together with important “do not” directives:
Do not wrong or mistreat a sojourner, widow or fatherless child, “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child” (Exodus 22:21-22).
Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless, and the widow, “Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place” (Jeremiah 22:3).
Do not pervert justice, “You shall not pervert the justice due to the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow’s garment in pledge, but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this” (Deuteronomy 24:17-18).
Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, and the sojourner, “Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart” (Zechariah 7:10).
As I read these scriptures, I began to see that perhaps the relationship between this trio and the body of Christ displays a visual of the Gospel to the world:
- The Alien shows that we are all passing through this world, that for the believer, our citizenship is in heaven.
- The Fatherless reminds us that we all need to know God as Father.
- The Widow demonstrates that we are all in desperate need of an intimate relationship with our savior, Jesus Christ.
And, alongside the “do not” directives are bold statements of God’s care and provision for that important trio.
He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow and he loves the sojourner giving him food and clothing, “He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing” (Deuteronomy 10:18).
He watches over strangers and he supports the fatherless and the widow, “The Lord watches over strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, but He thwarts the way of the wicked” (Psalm 146:9).
According to Scripture, one of the best ways to demonstrate the Gospel is by caring for those who are often unable to care for themselves. James defines this as pure religion (James 1:27) and Deuteronomy 14:29 puts it this way, “God will bless the work of the hands of those who care for the sojourner, fatherless, and the widow.”