Widowhood can be used as a metaphor for God’s relationship with Israel
God, the perfect husband to Israel, was known to say that he would leave Israel to their vices:
- In Jeremiah 51:5 – The Lord says that He will not leave Israel widowed.
Jesus‘ treatment of widows
Jesus often pointed out the selfless acts of the widow, pointing to the fact that they occupied one of the least desirable postures in the culture, both socially and financially. Their actions were admirable, and replicating their humble heart, behavior, and reverence is desirable.
- Mark 12:3 – a widow gave financially out of her lack and not out of her abundance
- Luke 2:7 – a woman who was a widow for a very long time, Anna, was devoted to serving God through prayer and fasting.
I Timothy 5: Instruction on the churches treatment of widows
In this chapter, Timothy instructs the people to care for those women in the church who are genuinely widows, saying that the woman does not have any family to support her. These believing women trusted in God and God alone.
Revelation 18:7 The church is the widow, and Jesus is the returning husband.
In this passage, Babylon is used as a metaphor to describe those who chose to follow Satan’s kingdom. They arrogantly viewed themselves as protected. They describe themselves as royalty (a queen) and not paupers (widows).
Anyone who decides to follow Satan and not Jesus is like a widow because they don’t have proper protection or provision. Their complacency is built on a lie given to them by the Father of Lies. On the other hand, believers have the one and only authentic protector through Jesus Christ. He will return one day and physically recover His church. Blessed are we when the Lamb, Jesus Christ, returns to earth for his bride (the church) so that we can live in eternity with Him (Revelations 19:6-7). We would be wise to remember Him as our Kinsmen Redeemer and continuously show gratitude for His grace and provision.
How should the church respond to widows?
As leaders in the church, what can we glean from the Lord’s command to care for widows? In essence, He’s telling us that we have a responsibility to shepherd (care) for those who cannot care for themselves. Like Him, we provide protection and give grace to those who don’t know what else to do. This can be applied both physically and spiritually.
There are a few different ways the church could facilitate the care for the women who have lost their spouse and don’t have sufficient means, whether an organized program or just individuals filling needs as they see them.
- Widows could pay less or have their registration fees waived for church-sponsored events.
- Assign younger women to older women to check in on them, attend to their needs, or keep them company. Help with yard and outside maintenance if needed. Provide rides to the grocery store or doctor’s appointments.
- Seek justice for them, defend their rights in health insurance issues or other legal issues. Assist them with understanding their medical insurance.
- Show compassion and invite single or widowed people over holidays, not lonely.
- Disciple all women.
In the Old Testament, we can see that God wanted the widows to be cared for, and he didn’t want them to be cast aside or forgotten, and he tried to care for Israel and not leave her alone and unprotected. Jesus meant for us to care for people who don’t have the means to pay bills, have suitable shelter, or have enough food. In the New Testament, Jesus repeats this theme of the widow and presents Himself as the reigning husband. The widow is redefined as one who does not have an eternal husband and therefore does not have the proper headship in her life.