"Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow" Isaiah 1:17


by Jim Bayles

The directive to give aid to widows and orphans is documented well in many passages of the Bible.   God gave Israel instruction in the Law to be responsible toward widows and orphans.  One example, "Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge." Deuteronomy 24:17.   Father God gives insight to Himself in Deuteronomy 10:17-18, "For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.  He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing." The covering for orphans and widows immediately follows the explanation of who God is in that passage.  That indicates there is importance in widows and orphans.

The value and protection of widows and orphans should be very simple to grasp, understand and acknowledge.  However, it wasn't.  Widows and orphans were often times taken advantage of or ignored completely.  Instructions are given again.  Isaiah 1:17, "Learn to do right!  Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.  Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow."


The nature of mankind has changed little since God gave Israel the Law.  It has possibly become more corrupt and self-centered.  Widows and orphans are still a big issue.  The struggles faced in everyday life can be extreme emotional, financial and physical loads to bare.  Recorded in the New Testament, the church is again told in James 1:27, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world".

Clearly, God has not changed His view on orphans and widows.  The early Christian church did a work and distributed food daily to Jewish widows.  This is accounted for in Acts 6:1-6.

Later, Paul instructed Timothy in his epistle to tell the Ephesus church the widow's immediate family was responsible for the care.  Yes, the immediate family is responsible first, not the church or a social government program.  It is wrong to consider aid from the church, government programs and organizations like H.O.W. to be primary care givers to widows and orphans.

1 Timothy 5:3-8, "Honor widows who are widows indeed; but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.  Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day.  But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.  Prescribe these things as well, so that they may be above reproach.  But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." 

That is a serious declaration!!  That passage was written to Christians and it applies to everyone!  It is morally wrong to leave our children and our wives unequipped with no provisions.  It is morally wrong to leave widows and orphans in the care of government programs, creditors, or the church as a primary financial, food, health and emotional provider.  Yes, Christian believers, as well as non Christians, can have issues providing for their own.  Issues should not develop into neglect.

The church is given instruction to care for the "widows indeed" as in 1 Timothy 5:9-16.  These are women who are believers and active in a church body.  This is a minimum of service.  It leaves one to question the fate of the remainder of widows.  Plainly stated, this does help ease the "burden" on the church but it does not ease the burden on other widows and orphans suffering who are not active Christian believers.  What about them?


H.O.W. is a Christian non profit service organization and we recognize, as individual members and corporately, the need of doing good and sharing with widows, orphans and others the resources that God has provided us with.   Assistance to widows and orphans is a means of worship to God by loving one's "neighbor" as one's self.


The parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37 illustrates this very well.   A man is stripped, robbed and beaten half to death and left lying in a road by robbers.  A priest noticed the man but moved to the opposite side of the road, ignored the man's need, and passed by.  A Levite reacted exactly like the priest and ignored this need.  The Samaritan instead had compassion and took care of the injured man with personal actions, personal sacrifice, personal finances, setup short term services and established a completion plan.  The Samaritan helped his "neighbor" by his actions.


In 2 Kings 4:1-7, a woman, newly widowed with fear of losing her sons to creditors for her debts due, seeks advice from the profit, Elisha.  Israel had just completed a bloody war against the King of Moab and this woman's husband died.  Elisha was a Godly man and gave this woman instructions to borrow empty vessels, as many as she could get, and to use her only possession of value, a jar of oil, and fill these empty jars from it at home behind the closed doors.  The woman followed the advice and was given further instructions from Elisha to then sell the jars of oil, pay off her debts and she and her sons could live on the rest of the profits.  Here a widow sought instruction, a Godly man gave it, she followed the instructions, God blessed the outcome.  Notice it was done by faith behind "closed doors".  It was not a big spotlight news event giving the widow or Elisha headlines or glory to be seen by others in the area.  Elisha helped his "neighbor" by instructions.


H.O.W. encourages and strives to assist family members, churches and service organizations in meeting needs of orphans and widows.  H.O.W. will continue to serve widows and orphans with labor, finances, and instruction across the street and around the world as a act of worship to our God and compassion to our neighbor.


H.O.W. utilizes financial gifts, equipment, medicines, material and labor of people, churches and businesses that share the desire to serve the needs of widows and orphans.   H.O.W. is a Christian, non partisan, fully non profit and non salaried public service corporation.  If you would like to give and be a part of this effort, it will be very much appreciated.


Helping Orphans and Widows

4638 East Avenue H, Lancaster, CA 93535

Internet: information@acthow.org