God list in verse three of Jeremiah chapter twenty-two, three classes of people who are dear to Him. As a matter of fact, the Bible has a lot to say about how we are to treat them. Back in Exodus 22:21-24 ESV, God says,
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. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.
Also in Psalms 68:5,
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.
Wow, check out what James 1:27, says,
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Don’t forget about the strangers. Look at Hebrews 13:2,
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
When you stop and look at who God holds near and dear to His heart are those who basically have nothing. All they have is God looking out for them.
The other day there was a well-known television pastor in the news. It wasn’t for his work with widows or orphans, instead, it was for asking his followers to send him money to buy a new $54,000,000 jet for him to fly around in. Now if this pastor were to follow the instructions that James gave about pure and undefiled religion, took that $54,000,000 and sponsored a child with Africa New Life, which many are orphaned or fatherless, for $39/month he could sponsor a child for 1,384,615 months or 115,384 years. Say he sponsors a child for all 15 years of school he could help 7,692 kids all the way through school. The sad thing is he is willing to take money from widows to be like those who live in the world.
We never know who the stranger is that you see who needs help. When I think of Hebrews 13:2, I think of the road to Emmaus. Hitchcock’s Bible Name Dictionary defines Emmaus — people despised or obscure. Kind of how we see strangers, just add dangerous to that definition. Josephus recorded that Emmaus in early Christian times was known for a spring with healing qualities. Isn’t amazing how these two definitions fit the scene here. Jesus was despised during His life and as He walked with these to followers of Him His identity was obscured to them until after He left. They had the Living Water walk and talking with them after He had risen from the dead. Think of all the questions they missed out on. The healing of their grief would have happened much faster if His identity was revealed sooner to them. It was when they were willing to share some of the food they had for the trip was He revealed to them. Does this happen today? Are Angels out there waiting for us to serve them? Let me tell you about a friend of mine who was on a mission trip to Colorado. They were passing out coffee to drivers at a corner. There was a homeless guy there they were able to love on. When they went back to that corner the next day, my friend looked forward to giving him his coffee. Soon she saw the guy going to the stopped cars telling them that the people up ahead want to bless them with the best coffee he has ever had. Was this an angel who after being blessed by them, in turn, sought to bless others and them? We may never know this side of heaven.
Jesus at the sermon on the mount in Matthew 7:12, sums up how we should treat everyone.
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Jesus first. Others next. Yourself last. Brings JOY.
(Photo by Jacob Townsend on Unsplash)