God Protects those Who Cannot Protect Themselves.

In Israel, new laws are passed to help people in the towns and villages who might not get the help they need without them. The fatherless, the widowed, and the foreigners were the poorest people in any local community. They were also the people God cared about the most. He was a father to the orphan, a husband to the widow, and a friend to the poor people.

If the Lord cared about people so weak, no one in Israel should forget them. Their right to justice (17), clothing (17), and food (19–21) are all talked about here.

First of all, these people would need to get help from a lawyer from time to time. Now and then, someone who was dishonest as a judge could hurt these poor people in the neighborhood. When a husband dies, a close relative might try to get a judge to give them money to get better things for the widow. All of this comes at the widow’s expense. God was offended by this because he had said that bribery is against the law (16:19). If there was a judge who didn’t follow the rules or was dishonest in the community, kids were in the most danger.

There were no legal rights for defenseless children, like aliens. Somebody must help them. It was hard for the fatherless to speak up for themselves, so God told Israel’s judges that they should deny an alien or a fatherless person their due process under no circumstances. Even if these people have money, life is still hard for them, so God is very concerned that they get a fair deal (10:18).

What about today’s fatherless?

In today’s world, many children are tragically exposed to danger, and more and more of these young people are emotionally deprived, spiritually ignorant, and morally naive. In light of the teaching in Deuteronomy, God’s people have a responsibility to deal with this big problem. This and other parts of the book are good places to start.

With the tragic progress of a broken marriage, the emotional deprivation of children is inevitable. Many of them don’t get the support they need from both parents when they’re young, and more and more are living in one-parent families. The Christian church has the chance to give hundreds of children the love, security, and practical help they have lost because of a broken marriage. Any efforts to help these kids would align with God’s word in these verses.

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