Orphans, Sojourners, and Widows (Exodus 22:21–22) - Radical

Orphans, Sojourners, and Widows (Exodus 22:21–22)

“You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child.”
– Exodus 22:21–22

Here in the laws of God that he is giving to his people, God makes clear his care for three groups of people, specifically, sojourners. Think refugees, wandering through a land not their own or brought into a land, different from their own. Sojourners, and then widows, and then fatherless children, orphans. I love how God says, “I want to make sure my people are caring for all three of these groups. Sojourners, widows, and orphans.”

These Verses Show God’s Desire for Us to Care for These People Groups

We see this at various points in the Old Testament. We see it reflected in the New Testament. So we’ve got to open our eyes today. How are you and I caring for these three groups of people? We could talk a long time about each group but just think, refugees, we live in a day where there are more refugees in the world than at any other time in the history of the world. We are surrounded by people who have traveled to a home not their own.

So how can we love refugees in our midst and refugees around the world as God asks us to in Exodus 22:21–22? And widows, to look around specifically in the church and the community around you to see widows who need care, help in this way or that way. God has said in his word, he prioritizes care for widows and orphans. Again, to look around in the world. Like millions upon millions of orphans and then just the community right around you to see children in need of a home, in need of a mom and dad who love them and care for them, in need of someone who will provide foster care, who will adopt them permanently into their home. There’s so much need when it comes to orphans.

God has ordained for His church to care for these groups of people. We must seek out ways to love orphans, sojourners, and widows.

Asking God to Help Us Care for These People Groups

So I just want to encourage us to pray. God, how do you want each of us to reflect your character and your care for these three groups? We pray you to help us as your church care for the sojourners. It’s not exactly the same obviously as what see in the Old Testament but God, we know. We live in this day of unprecedented migration and immigration and refugees around us from all kinds of different places in the world. God, help us as your church to provide the care that you have ordained your church to provide for people in need of a home. God, we pray for this for widows who’ve lost this person they’ve loved so much, depended on so much. And God, help us to fill in that gap in whatever ways we can as your people.

Show your provision to widows through us and your church and God, we pray for orphans. God, we pray for kids right now who don’t have a mom and don’t have a dad, and don’t have a home. God, we pray for them to come to know you as the father to the fatherless. As well as their defender and their provider and we pray that you would use our lives.

Exodus 22:21–22: Reflecting God’s Character in Our Own Lives

God, I pray that you would cause people even listening to this right now to do foster care, to pursue adoption, to look at the church that they’re involved in, and say how can we do a better job of caring for orphans and widows and sojourners in our midst. God, may we be faithful as your church to reflect your character in light of sojourners, widows, and orphans around us. We pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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