May 25 “God of the fatherless”

God is a God of the fatherless, especially the thousands and thousands of babies who are killed in their mothers’ wombs every year in our country. But He is also the God who restores those who have ended their babies lives if they turn to Him in genuine repentance.

God of the fatherless

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 21 & 22
Psalm 68.1-6
Proverbs 17.2-4
John 8.28-59

2 Samuel 21 & 22:

Divine judgment

In chapter 21 we have the story of the seven sons of Saul being executed by the Gibeonites. Romans 12.19 says, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” This is divine justice being carried out.

But it hardly seems fair that it would be carried out on the next generation. In fact, Ezekiel 18.1-20 declares that a son or daughter will not die for the sins of their fathers.

Sad child

That passage is true spiritually, meaning children won’t suffer eternal consequences for their parents’ sin. But it is also true that children, and even grandchildren, sometimes suffer physically for the sins of their parents. A baby born to a crack addicted mother may also be born “addicted” to the drug. The children of a drunkard often suffer from his or her abuse or neglect. Children whose parents live in sin and immorality often learn the habits of their parents.

We never sin in isolation.

But one phrase may help us understand why God allowed His justice to be carried out this way. Verse 1, “It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house …” It appears that the violence was not limited to Saul, it may have been a predominant attitude among his descendants, as well, (remember Shimei who cursed David when he fled Jerusalem).

But no matter what, we cannot lay our own standard on it. God had determined judgment for the breaking of the covenant Joshua had made on behalf of the children of Israel. That should tell us how seriously God looks at covenants (including the marriage covenant). This may have included divine judgment of other sins, as well. Sin always produces more sin.

Merab, the mother of five of the men (1 Sam. 18.19) was the daughter promised to David when he killed Goliath, but perhaps to provoke David, she had been given to another man, Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite. These boys had been brought up by Michal perhaps because her sister had died. In any event, it appears she had raised them and saw them as her sons. God had closed her womb because of her scorn toward David when he worshiped the Lord and now she lost these five she had raised.

Sin does have consequences and, even though God in His mercy sometimes delays, giving us every opportunity to repent and go His way, He does execute His divine judgment.

Psalm 68.1-6:

God of the fatherless

This psalm of praise says God is a Father to the fatherless and a defender of widows. If we have His heart, He desires us to be His agents in this. One of the greatest opportunities to do so is in defense of unborn babies whose fathers and mothers, while not physically nonexistent, are unable or unwilling to defend them.

I say unable, as well as, unwilling because I understand that there are times when women are coerced into abortions and times when fathers are left out of the decision altogether or unable to stop it.

If you have had an abortion or if you are the father of an aborted baby, there is grace and forgiveness. Go to the Lord, seek His forgiveness and restoration.

I would strongly recommend finding a biblical counselor to help you walk through it or go to a someone who does post-abortion counseling. If you live in El Paso, you can contact the Pregnancy Help Center/Fatherhood Help Services, but most cities have Christian crisis pregnancy centers. Seek one out.

Proverbs 17.2-4:

When God turns up the heat

Verse 3, “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests the hearts.” Just as silver and gold cannot be purified without the use of heat, neither can our hearts. So God in His wisdom and desire for us to become more like His Son refines and purifies us through the tests and trials of life. Those fiery trials bring the dross of our hearts to the surface so we can deal with it and turn and go His way.

John 8.28-59:

Sacraments won’t save you

Here Jesus challenges the Jews in their belief that they were God’s chosen people simply because of their religious heritage. He told them that the fruit of their lives, especially their failure to recognize Him, proved that their spiritual father was the devil and not God.

Sadly, many people today think they’re in good standing with God because they were brought up in a certain church or because they and their parents performed all the required religious ceremonies or sacraments. But genuine salvation comes from the heart. No one can do it for you and it is not granted or conferred on anyone. It comes from a recognition of our personal sin and our need for a Savior, followed by repentance and a desire to change and go God’s way, and is validated by the resulting fruit.

What about you? Question to ponder or journal:

What are you relying on in your relationship with God? Is it you and your works? Or is it Christ and Christ alone?

How do you respond when God turns up the heat? Do you count it all joy (Jas. 1.2-5) or are you tempted to give up on God and reject His work in your life?