(This post is part of the Confidence in Our Calling series.)
How does God feel about adoption?
All throughout the Bible, God reveals Himself as a Father who cares for His children. (See Psalm 103:13, Matthew 6:9-13, 25-34, and 1 John 3:1, just to name a few instances.) Moreover, Scripture shows us that God especially desires to be a Father to those without earthly families – orphans, widows, and foreigners. God expresses strong paternal feelings in His Word to those who do not belong, who are abandoned or estranged, or who have wandered away and are lost. Since I am trying to unpack God’s perspective on adoption here, I will pay particular attention to His heart towards the orphan and the fatherless.
Consider how when Moses is instructing Israel in the fear of the LORD (see Deuteronomy 10:12-20), he describes God as One who “defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing” (Deuteronomy 10:18). These attributes are at the core of how God wants to be understood by His people in their Law.
The psalmists echo this acclamation of God’s character over and over again.
- But you, O God, do see trouble and grief;
you consider it to take it in hand.
The victim commits himself to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.Psalm 10:14,17-18
- A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,
he leads forth the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.Psalm 68:5-6
- The LORD watches over the alien
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,Psalm 146:9
The prophet Hosea, calling out to a rebellious Israel, exhorts them to return to their God, and to admit that “Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount war-horses. We will never again say ‘Our gods’ to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion” (Hosea 14:3). Hosea asserts that even in their idolatry, God’s people still know their true Father’s forgiving and adopting nature, to “heal their waywardness.” (See Hosea 14:1-5.)
And Jesus, immediately after calling a little child to Himself to illustrate what greatness in the kingdom of heaven looks like, warns His followers sternly not to look down on these little ones or cause them to sin. (See Matthew 18:1-10.) He then compares a child who wanders off to a lost sheep, whom God will leave the entire flock to rescue, because “your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost” (Matthew 18:12-14).
These passages plainly demonstrate that the Lord cares deeply for the orphan and the fatherless. He loves to be the Father to those without families, and to adopt them into His household.
What other Scriptures come to your mind that shows forth God’s heart for adoption?