There is a special place in God’s heart for widows. Widows, orphans, and foreigners represent a vulnerable demographic of both ancient and modern culture. Without a steady source of income or strong representation in business and legal affairs, they can easily find themselves exploited.
It is interesting that over and again God chooses the vulnerability of widows to demonstrate the principles of His kingdom. Throughout the lineage of Jesus, we see widows taking their place in God’s unfolding story of redemption through the lives of women such as Tamar, Ruth, Bathsheeba, and even Mary.
It is a widow who provides for the prophet Elijah. It is a widow who recognizes Jesus as Messiah when He is presented in the temple and only eight days old. It is a widow who is commended by Jesus for her generosity when she offers her two mites. And it is the story of a persistent widow Jesus uses to teach his disciples to always pray and not give up.
There are powerful lessons to be learned from those who would appear to be helpless among us. Little is much when it is held in faith-filled hands.
The following is a collection of sixteen verses in the Bible that tell us of God’s heart for widows.
- Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. Exodus 22:22 (NIV)
- He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:18 (NIV)
- When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. Deuteronomy 24:19 (NIV)
- Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow. Then all the people shall say, “Amen!” Deuteronomy 27:19 (NIV)
- Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food. 1 Kings 17:9 (NIV)
- A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. Psalm 68:5 (NIV)
- The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. Psalm 146:9 (NIV)
- The Lord tears down the proud man’s house, but he keeps the widow’s boundaries intact. Proverbs 15:25 (NIV)
- …learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)
- Leave your orphans; I will protect their lives. Your widows too can trust in me. Jeremiah 49:11 (NIV)
- Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)
- There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38 (NIV)
- Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. Luke 7:11-15 (NIV)
- Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1-8 (NIV)
- Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 1 Timothy 5:3 (NIV)
- Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27 (NIV)