RE Verse reading–Isaiah 1:1-20 (day one) “encourage the oppressed, defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (vs 17) Part of God’s assignment for the church (and for Israel before us) is to care for the helpless poor. It is not an option for us, it is an assignment. In Matthew 25, Jesus chides those who “saw Him hungry, thirsty, a stranger or naked” and did not care. (vs 44) Isaiah is equally direct. In this week’s reading, Isaiah connects the ideas of “doing wrong” and “learning to do right” with “the oppressed, the fatherless and the widows”. Honest answer. Do most Christians you know consider it part of God’s call to effectively and concretely assist people who are helpless and poor? Do you consider it part of your own personal mission and responsibility? Sunday night we will study When Helping Hurts–How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself. Please come. It is our assignment from God.
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As we consider these it is interesting that here in America I am a divorcee. In other parts of the world I am a widow. It doesn’t matter whether one’s husband dies or abandons her, she is left alone-a widow. And in those countries when a woman is a widow her late/former husband’s family comes and takes the house, property and children and she is cast out on the street alone, condemned to begging or prostitution. What God asked for in caring for widows was, and is today, a radical change.