“We have become orphans, fatherless; our mothers are like widows.”
Jeremiah, it is most commonly thought to be Jeremiah, presents an interesting analogy in the final chapter of Lamentations. In order to describe Israel’s lack of reverence for God, shortly after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., he offers a comparison which is likened to that of orphans (the fatherless) and widows. It’s an interesting way to put it, but it makes perfect sense.
Let me ask you a question:
What in common does the orphan and the widow lack?
A spiritual leader.
Four verses later, Jeremiah verifies for the reader that this is indeed the case:
“Our fathers sinned, and are no more; and we bear their iniquities.”
This parallel is pretty profound… and sobering.
I have a wife and three kids. The last thing that I would ever want to do, is to cause them to become a widow and orphans (fatherless) in a spiritual sense. Such could happen in a myriad of different ways, and even though I am a believer, any laziness here on my part, could lead to serious consequences regarding my family’s spiritual health. The point that I am making is that just because I am a believer, it does not mean that my family is immune to bearing my iniquities. I must always remain cautious and focused regarding my role as husband and father, or else my family will suffer the consequences.
The biggest example of a spiritual leader of the family dropping the ball, where the family (in this case mankind) to this day bears the iniquities of its federal head, took place in the Garden of Eden. There, Adam idly stood by and ignored his role, casting his family (us) into the bondage of sin.
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, AND SHE ALSO GAVE SOME TO HER HUSBAND WHO WAS WITH HER, and he ate.”
Adam ignored his duty. So, what did he do when God confronted him about it? Adam threw gasoline on the fire… He blamed God and his wife:
“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “THE WOMAN WHOM YOU GAVE ME, SHE GAVE ME THE FRUIT OF THE TREE, and I ate.””
None of us (Christian men) are above such error, dropping the spiritual leadership ball. Remember, David and Bathsheba? His iniquities were borne by his family:
2 Samuel 12:10-12
“Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’”
However, God was merciful to David despite his serious failure:
2 Samuel 12:13
“David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.””
Yet, repercussions were still allowed by God:
2 Samuel 12:14
“Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.””
There are deep lessons to be learned here.
We (husbands and fathers) must remain utterly sober in our call to set our families apart; to sanctify them. We must guide our wives and children in the ways of the Lord, never compromising our role, and always being aware of our family’s susceptibility to bearing our iniquities in the wake of our poor spiritual leadership. We must look to our Father in heaven, His Son, Jesus Christ, and to the Holy Spirit for guidance and example in this endeavor. Such is the only way keep our wife from becoming a widow and our children from becoming orphans.
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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