Deuteronomy 24:18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.
We can be thoughtlessly cruel, and Moses didn’t want that to happen. He wanted the people to remember that no matter how wealthy they got, that wasn’t where they started. I am reminded of Bill Whittle saying that some of the most unhappy people he knew were those whose parents had given them a massive trust fund, so they never had to work for anything. Those who struggle for finances tend to envy such people, but that’s not how human beings are made. Especially when we’re on the abundant side of things we need to remember that somebody in some way worked for everything we have, whether we did it ourselves or someone else did it for us. Ultimately it all comes down to God’s grace, and that’s what Moses wanted the people to remember. If you don’t remember being hungry yourself, you aren’t going to be as understanding and gentle as you should be with someone who is. Moses used aliens, the fatherless, and widows as a general category for the disadvantaged, and just now it jumped out at me that he didn’t say “orphans,” but specifically “the fatherless.” Right now in America there is an epidemic of fatherlessness, and only a small fraction of that is caused by death. Rather, biological fathers are absent from their children’s lives, because of divorce, government programs that reward unwed mothers, or because the conception was the result of a casual encounter. Only a small minority of people seem to recognize what a tragedy, a danger, that is, but thankfully that minority seems to be growing. Statistics are clear that the lack of an effective father figure is one of the biggest handicaps anyone can be saddled with, and at the same time it is the most easily preventable. We of course need to completely overhaul the welfare system to stop penalizing girls for getting married, but most of all we need to return to valuing the family and each member of it. Mothers are fully as important and valuable as “successful career women,” and some can indeed be both at the same time. Fathers are just as vital as mothers to the success of their children, and not just to their conception. Children are precious gifts from God, and not inconveniences to be eliminated in the womb, or ignored if they are born. There is a reason God has chosen to be called Father, even though there are people who rebel against that very idea, even rewriting the Bible to remove gender references. Being fatherless is a tragedy.
I was greatly blessed with a great father, but I am not to look down on those who were not so blessed. I titled my contribution to my father’s biography, due out in April, A Father for the Ages. As I look around me I see relatively few who were so blessed, and some who have been crippled by fatherlessness. I cannot have literal empathy with them because I’ve never experienced that, so I need to ask, and allow, the Holy Spirit to guide my interactions with them. He has allowed me to become a father figure to some, and that is as big a blessing to me as it is to them. I am to remember that everything is by the grace of God, and rejoice to be a channel of that grace to all with whom the Lord connects me, for the blessing of everyone and for His glory.
Father, You really changed the course of this from where I started! Thank You. I am quite prone to go with preconceptions, and that can blind me to what You are actually saying. Help me hear You accurately and obey You fully, so that Your will may be done in and through me for the destruction of the devil’s works and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!