God's Heart for the Widows and Orphans (Exodus 22:22) - Radical
 Join David Platt for an Inside Look at The Radical Training Center Thursday, June 1 at 11:00 am EDT > > >

God’s Heart for the Widows and Orphans (Exodus 22:22)

“You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child.”
– Exodus 22:22

What’s interesting as we read through Exodus 21, 22, 23 and different places here in Exodus as well as Leviticus, we see all kinds of laws that God gives to his people in the Old Testament. There’s a lot that we could talk about here when it comes to which of these laws apply to God’s people today. The general rule is we look for laws from the Old Testament that are reiterated in the New Testament. Many of the laws that are given here in Exodus and Leviticus apply specifically to God’s people, the people of Israel, in the Old Testament, under the old covenant. We look in the New Testament, where do we see commands from Jesus? Where do we see commands under the new covenant in different places all throughout the New Testament?

And this is why I read Exodus Chapter 22, Verse 22, because the command here is, “You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child.” So we should pause and ask, “Well, does the New Testament say anything about widows, or fatherless children, orphans?” And you think about James 1:27 and it actually takes this command to a whole nother level. Religion, that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless, is this. Not only not to mistreat a widow or fatherless child, but to look after orphans and widows in their distress.

Exodus 22:22 Calls Us to Look After Orphans

Did you hear that? What the New Testament teaches, what God says to his new covenant people, “Religion that I accept as pure and faultless is this, looking after,” and the word for look after there means to take responsibility to care for, “orphans and widows in their distress.” And so we know this command in the Old Testament dealing with widows and fatherless children in Exodus Chapter 22, Verse 22 was not just for God’s people then. Even more so it is for God’s people today. That you and I have been called by God as his people to take responsibility to care for widows and to care for orphans.

So, God, we pray that you would help us as your people today, brought into your family as your children by the blood of Jesus, wed to you. Lord Jesus, we are your bride. So, God, we pray that with this standing as your bride, this standing as your children, your sons and daughters, with you as our Father, we pray that you would help us to faithfully care for orphans and widows around us

Exodus 22:22 Shows Us the Opportunity of Adoption

God, I can’t help but to pray at this point for my son who we’re in the process of adopting, and have been waiting for over a year to go and bring into our home, but have been unable to because of COVID. God, we pray, just ask others to join in praying that God would make a way for us and for many other families in similar situations. And God that you would help us as your church to care for orphans in their distress.

God, we pray that we would care for children who are in need of homes, that we would take responsibility to provide homes for them. God, we pray that you would help us as your church to rise up and be your people and show your compassion and your love as the Father to the fatherless, for those who are in need of a home, and those in need of parents, that they might see your love for them and us and your church. Help us to lead the way in foster care and adoption.

God, we pray the same for widows around us. We pray for men and women who have lost their spouses, and who have experienced the hurt and the pain, and now experience the loneliness that goes with that. God, we pray that to use your words, in their distress, God, that we would be a picture of your grace and your mercy and your love. God, I pray for any widows who are listening to this right now. And, God, I pray that they would feel your comforting love, even in us praying for them right now.

This Verse Highlights the Love of the Church

And God, in your church around them. God, I praise you for how your church has been so good to my mom ever since my dad died. It just thank you so much for the family of God. I thank you for brothers and sisters and spiritual moms and dads who’ve come alongside our family and come alongside my mom. God, I pray that for every widow listening right now, for widows around us, God, help us to know how to best care for them. God, we pray that you would help us to faithfully look after orphans and widows in their distress, and in this to glorify you through religion that is pure and faultless, according to your word in the New Testament. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


That means that the people with the most urgent spiritual and physical needs on the planet are receiving the least amount of support. Together we can change that!