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Deuteronomy 10:16-19 Widows

Posted by adventbiblestudy on July 25, 2013


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Deuteronomy 10:16-19 Widows

Deuteronomy 10:16-19 NLTse (16) Therefore, change your hearts and stop being stubborn. (17) “For the LORD your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. (18) He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. (19) So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.

While reading through the Bible collecting prophecies about Jesus, I remembered, Jesus had encounters with widows. When I looked at how Jesus related to widows, I could see a spiritual lesson which would not be complete without looking at how Jesus touched the lives of these women, and how they touched Jesus’ life while reaching out to touch the lives of His followers.

The first story showed how Jesus related to the pain and suffering widows endured, while they strived to make sacrifices for God. This is one of the qualities God put in women. Qualities which come to the surface the closer their lives are to God.

Luke 21:1-4 NLTse While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. (2) Then a poorwidow came by and dropped in two small coins. (3) “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poorwidow has given more than all the rest of them. (4) For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”

It wasn’t so much the gift Jesus pointed out, but the sacrifice, a symbol of a woman giving her all, after everything was taken away. It was an example Jesus taught His disciples. Their life was to be like a widow. Jesus told them, “I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.” (Luke 18:29-30 NLTse). Jesus wanted them to know sacrifices were ahead. Did they see the connection and understand the lesson? We see their reaction in the next verses.

Luke 21:5-6 NLTse Some of his disciples began talking about the majestic stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said, (6) “The time is coming when all these things will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”

Jesus’ disciples acted the part of the typical man. Instead of discussing sacrifices and lessons, they quickly changed the subject to something they thought was more important, something they thought they knew about. The disciples tried impressing Jesus with their knowledge of the temple.

The disciples either failed to understand, or did not want to see the message. Maybe it was too painful with a group of rough, tough fishermen, a tax collector, doctor, and the other disciples to look at the life of a widow. Loosing a husband was often equivalent to a woman loosing her own life. Without grown children, she was alone in a world convinced it was their duty to take advantage of her. Not only did a woman have to face unimaginable sorrow at the loss of the one she loved, she often faced ridicule from zealous religious leaders and others they taught to look at such a deep loss as a curse from God. Her life seemed like it ended. Her heart broken to a point she knew it would never heal. A religious man, claiming to serve God, may never accept her. She was faced with the task of raising children on her own. Finding an income was impossible. Most likely she would loose her house and land. No one considered anything she owned as her own. Restructuring the law gave religious leaders and others the right to take everything from her. No court, priest, or ruler would come to her aid. She was not only without a husband, she was without a country and church. What does it feel like when life crashes down around you while you live in a society designed to ensure you will never experience a moment of happiness again? For some, it is a time to find God. For most it is a time to give up and fade away. Jesus saw this happen and knew who was responsible. When we look back a few verses in Mark’s gospel, we find what event led to the scene of the widow giving all she had.

Mark 12:38-42 NLTse Jesus also taught: “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. (39) And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. (40) Yet they shamelessly cheatwidows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be more severely punished.” (41) Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. (42) Then a poorwidow came and dropped in two small coins.

There is so much everyone could learn from a widow choosing to follow God when the world turned against her. People try to ignore her needs. They look at her like as if her life is a curse. Some watch as she survives from day to day and wander how. When crisis and trial touches their lives, they look at the widow through different eyes. They take a bit of food and maybe some money to her. While their hearts are breaking, some people look to the widow for advice, like she is an expert at suffering which gives her all the right answers when people need them. They approach the situation cautiously. They can’t see the Spirit in the widow and know little about her relationship with God, but when people are in a trial, they recognize peace in her life they wish they had. Her clothes are torn and tattered, but she always seems to receive materials to keep them together. They wander how the widow can be cursed while God sees to her every need. It is not elaborate in any way, but just enough for her to survive. People don’t understand, but every time they approach her, it seems she already knows what is troubling them. The Spirit touches the widow with questions people are praying about. As they wait to gain the courage to share their burdens, the poor widow always seems to ask the right questions. The widow becomes a connection, a guiding light between God and their hearts. Some times the widow is able to share her greatest, her only joy in life, the relationship she has with God. They unload their burdens on the poor widow and when they are done, thank her with a few scraps of food as payment. Then they try to go about their lives, picking and choosing what advice they feel is important. They miss the point. They cannot see the poor widow is not only blessed to give them the advice and guidance they need, when they need it…. they fail to see, the widow is a symbol of God. The scraps they give her are a symbol of the love they return to God. Jesus showed them a symbol, gave them a sign, they did not want to see, they could not face, they did not want to learn. Jesus gave them everything when He lived and they returned a few scraps of love from the bounty He offered.

With everything the widow has to offer, people who appear to have little or no need for her blessings treat her in a totally different manner, as if they want to suppress, or eliminate the blessing the widow has to give. God sees all of this and sent His Son to protect His precious flower.

Matthew 23:13-22 MKJV But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of Heaven against men. For you neither go in, nor do you allow those entering to go in. (14) Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows‘ houses, and pray at length as a pretense. Therefore you shall receive the greater condemnation. (15) Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you compass sea and the dry land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. (16) Woe to you, blind guides, saying, Whoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor. (17) Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifies the gold? (18) And, Whoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is a debtor! (19) Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifies the gift? (20) Therefore whoever shall swear by the altar swears by it, and by all things on it. (21) And whoever shall swear by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. (22) And he who shall swear by Heaven swears by the throne of God, and by Him who sits on it.

Why do religious leaders silence the voice of the widow? Why do they distort God’s law and His love to serve their selfish desires? Is money and status more important than God’s message and His messenger? “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28 NLTse).

Long before Jesus began His ministry, God called another widow to be His voice. She choose God over the world, spending all her time praising God by helping young woman and couples find God’s love from Heaven. God was so touched with her dedication, He gave her one of the greatest gifts anyone could receive. Anna was able to look upon the face of her Savior and understand His role in God’s plan of salvation. Anna was one of the few to not only see and understand God’s plan, but share it.

Luke 2:36-38 NLTse Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phantom from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. (37) Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. (38) She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.

Anna was another widow forced to witness the world’s treatment of women who lost her husbands. Anna’s faith in God and His promise of the resurrection helped her through many trials. She saw how far religious leaders drifted away from God. She saw a void she knew she was sent to fill. It surprised her to find so few people welcoming Jesus to this world. She knew she had a role in God’s plan of salvation and welcomed every assignment with open arms. Her mind was focused on learning the details of God’s plan and counted it a special blessing to look into the eyes of her Savior. Angels sang as Anna looked at the helpless baby confirming every detail God taught her.

As Jesus grew, He witnessed one account after another, seeing religious leaders either directly taking advantage of the position widows found themselves in, or encouraging others to take their land and other possessions. Jesus knew what it was like to be emptied, only to be filled with God’s Spirit. The example of a widow touched Jesus’ heart. One day He was given the opportunity to provide an example of how much God cared for widows who pleaded with Him.

Luke 7:12-17 NLTse A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. (13) When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. (14) Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.” (15) Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother. (16) Great fear swept the crowd, and they praised God, saying, “A mighty prophet has risen among us,” and “God has visited his people today.” (17) And the news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding countryside.

The son Jesus returned to the widow represented her family and life. Her son was the greatest gift Jesus could give to the widow. Her son represented security in a provider. He also represented a promise and gift from God, as well as the security He is able to provide.

Jesus could not wait for the many opportunities God’s Spirit arranged and placed before Him to help widows and show the pain and suffering they endured as an example for His disciples to learn from. Widows taught many lessons. Their lives showed how religious leaders and people twist God’s law to benefit themselves at the expense of someone less fortunate. The life of a widow also served as an example showing hardships and trials His disciples will face. Most of all the life of a widow showed how God will provide for those who choose to turn to Him for all their needs. A poor widow and God against the world.

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