In a far away land lives a boy of 12 years. He was adopted when only 5 months old by a childless couple, devoted disciples of Yeshua. Here is his parents' touching description of the adoption process:
This process exquisitely describes our adoption by God. Adoption is central to the way He relates to us. "You were all once orphans, gripped in the bondage of your fear and aloneness. But I have brought you in, to become my full heirs with all the rights and blessings of sons and daughters." (my rough paraphrase of Romans 8:14-17)
God characterizes Himself as the "Defender of the fatherless" in Psalm 68:6,7. He also cares for the widow, provides for the poor and places the single in families. "I was a father to the poor." (Job 29:16) His priorities are to "rebuke the oppressor, defend the fatherless and plead for the widow." (Isaiah 1:17) He is not willing for any to perish (2 Peter 3:9). This is not a theological formula; it is a fact of His fatherhood over all humanity. Here is a dad who has lost massive numbers of children He desperately loves. So what does He do? He instills in us a spirit of adoption to reclaim the children He's lost.
Adoption Brings Abundance
Yeshua focused on people - the paralytics, demon-tormented, prostitutes, tax collectors and damaged individuals. This is His passion, to touch and to adopt the homeless, hopeless and helpless. "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress..." (James 1:27) He continually drew people to the Father. This is an "adopting mentality." When I am FREE with the provision of God - not jealous, not guarding, not withholding - there is abundance. "There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds ... but it leads to poverty." (Proverbs 11:26) God adopts us into His family. Then He wants us to embrace the rest of His adopted ones as brothers and sisters. How is this to affect the atmosphere of a local congregation? Here's just one inspiring, uncomplicated, do-able example.
My dear friends Moshe and Katya Morrison are "adopters." Years ago they took a family of four abandoned teenage girls into their home and raised them. In Israel they have systematically integrated single-parent kids into their home after school to receive love, attention and healthy boundaries. Their latest adoption is a young blind Israeli woman with a background of severe abuse, who recently came to faith in Yeshua. I've watched the lasting fruit of their "adoptions." Remarkable, and so pleasing to the Great Shepherd! When we connect with the Father's heart and manifest His spirit of adoption, lives are changed. It takes time to rebuild trust that's been crushed by abandonment. But patient investment in people pays off - forever.
Jealousy Toward The Prodigal
In a family it's easy to be jealous. Remember the older son in the prodigal son story? He reacted with jealousy and resentment to the Father's restorative forgiveness. Our Father wants to include, to bless, to bring in more ... but something in us resists. What are we afraid of losing? Our place, provision and pre-eminence? We are easily wounded, rejected and left out. As a kindergartner I felt rejected for being fat. I felt alone when transferred to a new class in the middle of 2nd grade. I was rejected by boyhood friends when they became anti-Semitic. You have stories like these too, and worse. Jealousy and rejection come easily. The feeling of being underprivileged seems embedded in our flesh. Does it go back to the Garden, when Satan accused God of holding out on us?
To be an orphan is to be rejected. To be adopted is to be accepted. So what is God's answer to our battle with rejection? He tells us resoundingly "you are accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:6) The Father waits with open arms to receive us into His full favor. Ours is the story of the prodigal. Our own adoption equips us to adopt others.
In the writings of Leo Tolstoy, the Russian literary giant, we find a poor cobbler. While reading the Gospels this aging shoemaker, who earnestly sought God, heard the Lord say "I will come to you tomorrow. Look for me on the street." Day came and the old man received a procession of three visitors. First, he invited an old man in from the freezing snow and gave him tea. Then he found a poor mother and her baby outside with no jacket. He gave her a warm coat. Finally, a hungry boy stole an apple, was caught and faced severe punishment. The shoemaker paid for the fruit and defended the lad. That night he "saw" each of them in the dark corner of his tiny abode. They each laughed and disappeared. "Who are you?" he asked. Then he heard the voice of the Lord. "It is I." Yeshua told him. "For where love is, God is."
This tale draws me to the piercing simplicity of Matthew 25:40 "Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me." Love, Yeshua taught, is laying down your life for your friends and even for strangers. It is what He did. Though most of us are not called to physically lay down our lives, we are all called to show His love daily.
"Raising Adopted Girls Took Me Out Of My Religious Rut."
What IS the House of the Lord, after all? It's a halfway house. It's a refuge, a place of healing, repair, restoration, cleansing. The beloved Bible teacher Derek Prince, focused in his final days on God's heart for "the forgotten" of society. Prince's life testified to his message. He and Lydia adopted and raised 12 girls of many nationalities. In his 80's he said "This experience delivered me from self focus. It made me. It took me out of my religious rut." His booklet "Orphans, Widows, the Poor and Oppressed" is a masterpiece of succinct instruction on our mandate to share bread with the hungry, bring in to our homes the outcast and to cover the naked. These phrases from Isaiah 58:6-12 challenge many of our basic assumptions about life's priorities. Am I to live primarily for myself and my immediate family? Or am I to be a conduit of Divine provision for the desperate and distressed?
This is the question with which the Lord challenged me in 1989, while showing me the tents of mercy vision - a desert oasis containing tents filled with supplies needed by the poor Jewish immigrants returning from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia. The results of my simple "Yes" to His question are recorded in the past 16 years of newsletters. But God puts the same question to you. "Will you be my conduit, my heart of adoption in a cruel world?" If so, you WILL be used amazingly by God and many lives will be touched. This is His design for you, His purpose in redeeming you from death - to cause His water of life to flow through you to those dying of physical and spiritual thirst.
"If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall shine in the darkness ... the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought ... you shall build up the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of streets to dwell in." (Isaiah 58:12)
|Let us know what you think - why not comment to this article. The authors of these articles are often involved in intense ministry and are thus unable to respond to most comments. As is normal with print and online magazines, Tikkun reserves the right to publish only those comments we feel are edifying in tone and content.|
Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Dan Juster: Discipleship: Embracing The Most Foundational Commandments|
|Moshe Morrison: Tell Them I Just Stepped Out|
|David Shishkoff: New Israeli Messianic Scouting Program|