Saturday, December 29, 2012

James 4:5

Warning: if you are not passionate about orphans yet, you might be offended by this post.  Or you might let the Lord touch your heart and make you passionate :)

Yesterday at Bible study we watched session 6 of Beth Moore's James study.  The first part of the session dealt with James 4:9-10, and when is it appropriate to change our joy into gloom, and our laughter into mourning.  She listed 4 situations in which we should be grieved at our own selves and change our joy to gloom.  Point number two was "When we don't take God seriously."  This is a frightening thought in and of itself, that we should be cavalier in our attitude toward a holy, almighty God.  She went on, however, to talk at length about a verse just prior to this, verse 5.  In the NET it is worded, "Or do you think the Scripture means nothing when it says..." (italics mine)  Then she listed several examples of commands of the Lord that we often do not take seriously.  I won't take time to list them here, but I'll give you one guess as to how I filled in the ...  Do you think the Scripture means nothing when it says take care of the orphans???!!!!  It seems to me that the church as a whole does not take this command of the Lord seriously at all.  If it did, there would not still be millions of orphans worldwide suffering unimaginable abuse and neglect.  Children would not be left to lie in cribs, untouched, dirty, hungry, bored or hopeless.  Ministries like Compassion International and Samaritan's Purse would run out of children needing sponsors.  Adult mental institutions in Eastern Europe would no longer be home to vulnerable children who just need a chance to live.  And foster care in America would cease to exist because children would have families to call their own. 
But this is not the reality.  The reality is that most Christians are doing nothing to help the orphans.  And the church is largely silent about this grievous sin.  (I am talking about the church as a whole, not any individual congregation.  Many individual churches do "get it" and are a wonderful example of caring for the fatherless!)  We have no problem preaching against alcohol, adultery, anger, gossip, etc.  And we feel justified when we cast out those who fall into such sin.  (We aren't, by the way.)  But what would happen if caring for orphans became the norm, instead of the exception?  What if pastors started teaching that not caring for the orphan is as much of a sin as any of those other things?  Because it. is.  Or do you think the Scripture means nothing when it says...

If you're not in tune with the adoption world, you might not know that Russian President Putin signed a new bill/law this week, shutting the door on American adoption of Russian children.  And maybe you don't think this is such a big deal.  But for the 46 families who are already matched with children, it's devastating.  And for the thousands of children still waiting for a family to choose them, well, it's catastrophic.  Healthy children will be turned out on the street at age 16, while special needs children will be sentenced to a life in an adult mental institution.  Church, we need to wake up!!  We need to pray!!  God CAN change this decision.  He can change hearts.  He can move mountains to bring orphans home.  But we are not off the hook.  We can't sit and do nothing.  We can't expect someone else to pray or to fast on behalf of the least of these.  We. Must. Do it.  Many people all over the country and are praying and fasting today about this very issue.  But one day is not enough.  We need God to open our eyes and awaken our hearts, so that the plight of the orphan becomes part of our everyday lives.  Both in words and in deeds.  Please, please ask the Lord what YOU should do.  I promise the answer will not be "nothing."

2 comments:

  1. I don't think you are wrong at all, Merissa. If anything, I think that the scope is even bigger. These three passages (you'll have to look them up because the comment was too long for blogger) have been with me a while, and I'm posting them here because I think that they go directly to what you are talking about and because they come with a promise and with a warning.

    Isaiah 58:3-12 (I strongly feel this is the church (as in all Christians, not a specific congregation) today.)

    Luke 3:7-17 (I feel He is saying this to us again now.)

    Mark 11:12-25 (I feel this is the first fulfillment that will happen again. Jesus WILL come and he WILL purge the church if we haven't produced the fruit specified above. The axe was literally at the root of the tree, and I fear it is again.)

    I think the lesson is clear (and so in keeping with "does it mean NOTHING...?"):

    1. Produce fruits in keeping with repentance RIGHT NOW. (This would include not ignoring those around you, including the orphan, the widow, and the alien, the oppressed, the hungry, those not given justice)

    2. Note that the axe is at the root of the tree RIGHT NOW. So we all need to REPENT (again, NOW).

    3. Recognize that we who feel righteous are not, and as we stand praying, we need to FORGIVE and SEEK FORGIVENESS, or the axe WILL FALL, just like it did for the fig tree and just as it did in the temple (the curtain would be ripped and that covenant would expire in under a week. The harvest was THERE right THEN).

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  2. Seriously, today's scripture in my normal devotional progress: Psalm 94. What do verses 5-10 say?

    They crush your people, Lord;
    they oppress your inheritance.
    6 They slay the widow and the foreigner;
    they murder the fatherless.
    7 They say, “The Lord does not see;
    the God of Jacob takes no notice.”

    8 Take notice, you senseless ones among the people;
    you fools, when will you become wise?
    9 Does he who fashioned the ear not hear?
    Does he who formed the eye not see?
    10 Does he who disciplines nations not punish?
    Does he who teaches mankind lack knowledge?

    What you're saying has merit.

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