What does justice have to do with God’s heart for the fatherless in the global village? The answer might show us how to imitate God’s heart toward vulnerable children, orphans, and families in distress. We have a front row seat to God’s heart for the fatherless in the last words of Moses; it is an opportunity to gain insight as to the heart of God for children, the poor, and the fatherless. Deuteronomy 24:17-22 records Moses’ last instructions regarding the fatherless, the widow, and the alien. He issues a call to justice, generosity, and redemption.

One of Moses’ key messages was a plea to those entering the promised land to uphold justice, especially for the fatherless, the widow, and the alien. Moses taught that a citizen of the promised land must have a social and humane attitude towards the economically weak.

Moses was concerned for the poor, the disadvantaged, indentured servants, escaped slaves, resident aliens, orphans, widows, and convicted criminals. He was concerned that the alien would not have rights in a court of law, that the fatherless would not have a father to defend them in court, and that the widow’s reputation would be at stake if her outer cloak was not returned by sundown. Moses points back to their slavery in Egypt. He alludes to the story of Joseph and the unjust treatment by his own brothers and Potiphar’s wife. Do you remember the betrayal of Joseph’s brothers, which let him into slavery? Do you remember how he was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and unjustly thrown into prison a second time?

Moses wants the children of slaves entering the promised land to remember where they came from in order to be careful not to repeat what was done to them. ...

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