God cares about all children and He commands His people to care for them as well! Here are 6 things the Bible says about the heart of God toward children in need.
Children are silly and messy and noisy. Children are busy and ask a million questions. Some children have been through tremendous trauma which makes them unable to understand social cues or take direction well. Children are difficult.
If our lives are meant to be lived only thinking about what is most convenient for us at the time, then children are pretty much out of the question. Because God desires to see people “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28) He has placed a desire to parent in many people’s hearts but, given the list of above reasons, some might argue that should only apply to biological children. Convenience and comfort seem ultimate in our society.
However, that is not so with God’s plan. He has called Christians to a much higher standard. No child is to be tolerated by God’s people. Children are to be celebrated, welcomed, loved, embraced, provided for, nurtured, taught, and treated with respect. Children are a gift from God.
All children – no matter their behavior, history, or abilities.
No child is to be tolerated by God’s people. Children are to be celebrated, welcomed, loved, embraced, provided for, nurtured, taught, and treated with respect. Children are a gift from God.
All people, because of the nature of living in a fallen world, face difficult days. Many children have dealt with challenges far beyond their capacity to endure. Millions of children worldwide face hunger, poverty, abandonment, neglect, abuse, and even slavery.
God calls His people to rise up and do something about this!
As children of God, believers are supposed to show forth the character of our Father to the watching world. Because God is love, we are supposed to love one another and our neighbor. Because God is holy, we are supposed to hate our sin and seek to honor Him with our lives. And the list goes on and on. We are supposed to act like our Father.
So how does our Father act toward children? Does He care about their hearts? Does His heart break when they face trials? Does He desire their good? Does he want justice for children in need? Let’s take a look at Scripture to see God’s heart for children in need and how that is supposed to be lived out in our lives.
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The Heart of God Toward Children in Need
1. Fiercely protective
In Exodus 22:22-23 God commands His people to never mistreat a fatherless child but He doesn’t stop at a command. In the next verse He promises that if people do mistreat those children in need, He will hear the child’s cries. He will come in wrath. He is fiercely protective of children and requires that His people be also.
Jesus was never annoyed with children. In His earthly ministry He showcases the Father’s heart in all of His behavior and, when it comes to children, He is desperately patient and kind. Mark 10:13-16 describes Christ ministering while parents begin to bring their children to Him. They want Christ to bless their children (I would have been in that line!).
If you have ever spent time with my children (or most any child), you know that they can be loud, ask a million questions, have a short attention span, and never stay still. But Jesus wasn’t bothered by this. On the contrary when the disciples got overwhelmed and started telling the children to go away, Jesus gets angry with the disciples! Mark 10:14 literally says He was “indignant”! He wanted the children to come to Him. He knew that they held the ability to teach adults much about His Kingdom and He wanted them around.
In Matthew 25:35-40 Christ describes those who have cared for the “least of these”. Jesus says that those who have cared for the needy have cared for Him. It is as if He is the One on the receiving end of their compassion and kindness. He so identifies with those facing affliction that He says it is as if He Himself is suffering and believers are coming to His aid. This passage doesn’t specifically mention children in need but the same principle is applied to children in Mark 9:36-37.
Christ is compassionate toward all people in need. He desperately wants them to be cared for and protected. He lived a very vulnerable earthly life and He identifies in the struggles they face (Hebrews 4:15) to the degree that He says believers are ministering to Him as they meet these children’s needs.
What better motivation is there to serve those hurting in the world? Specifically those, like children, who are defenseless!
4. Gives Strength & Justice
God literally describes Himself as giving strength to the heart of the afflicted and doing justice for the fatherless in Psalm 10:17-18. He is intimately concerned with the plight of the oppressed and He makes special mention of children in need. Not only is He concerned, He rises to their aid. He strengthens their hearts and seeks their good.
5. Sustains them
God promises in Psalm 146:9 that He upholds the fatherless. He is the sustainer and maintainer of those with no defense or strength. He gives them the support they need to endure and He holds them together.
6. Provides for them
God gives parents to care for children but when biological parents are unwilling or unable, He does not forsake them. He hears their cries, He seeks justice for them, and He commands His people to be the means by which He provides their needs.
In Deuteronomy 14:28-29, God commands the Israelites to bring a portion of their food as an offering for the express purpose of meeting the needs of those who cannot provide for themselves. He speaks specifically of fatherless children.
The Father to the Fatherless
God’s heart is so full of compassionate care for fatherless children that He actually describes Himself as their Father (Psalm 68:5). And He commands His people to act like He acts.
Because He strengthens the orphan, He expects believers to do the same. Because He is compassionate, protective, and welcoming to defenseless children, He expects believers to also be compassionate, protective, and welcoming. Because He sustains and provides for children, He expects believers to also sustain and provide for children in need.
He literally does this work through our hands. It is God who meets the need and He often uses His people to do it!
In Psalm 82:3 the Lord clearly commands His people to “give justice to the weak and fatherless.” In James 1:27 He tells us that true religion is not fancy buildings and Christian bumper stickers. Instead it is holiness and care for the orphan and widow.
Believers are meant to show off their Father’s character to the watching world. God loves all children. His heart desperately seeks their welfare. Should that not also be our heart? Should we not also care deeply about the affairs of all children? Should we not seek their good?
Children ought to be welcomed by believers because children ARE welcomed by Christ.
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If you would like more information about how you can be involved in the orphan crisis worldwide, check out this article.
How has God shaped your heart to help the hurting around you? Do you see God’s heart for children in need? How are you growing to see this as a place you can help? Let me know in the comments below!