Posts Tagged ‘Tim Keller’

Recently I preached on Jacob’s dust-up with God. Jacob was living in fear of his brother Esau who was coming with 400. He resorted to old patterns- scheming. He sought to appease his brother and sent his family across the river ahead of him. He spent the night alone, in the dark, until … God showed up. Jacob didn’t start the fight, God did.

In Tim Keller’s sermon on the text- An Encounter with God- he talks about how God intrudes upon our lives. He has the nerve to tell us what to do. He holds us accountable for our actions. Here he is confronting Jacob.

Steve, isn’t this an adoption blog?


We aren’t used to such a God. We struggle with this God. We are comfortable with the God’s of our own understanding. This is a God we have to hold in reverence.

Likewise, adopted orphans usually have very little experience with men. Their care givers are predominantly women. This is good in some respects. Most predators are men. Most men they come into contract with are probably security or support personnel. They have little direct involvement from men.

Our son arrived from China and suddenly there was a man telling him what to do. An intrusive, involved man. It was completely new for him. He struggled with it. We had to establish who was in charge, that I was more than furniture or someone who hung around the fringes of his life. It took awhile, but we worked it out. He learned what a father is.

We are in the process of adopting 2 children who have probably had a similar lack of interaction with men. On the paperwork their fathers were unknown. They spent most of their lives with their mother and grandmother before they were brought to the orphanage. They probably have no idea what a father is, what a father does. They have no idea they ever needed one.

I hadn’t really put all of this together until recently. Certainly not when we had adopted Eli. Why had no one thought to tell me? This is another of the many adjustments the children go through. Children who have little to no prior relationships with men are thrust into a family led by a man. I hope I have learned from my experiences with Eli. Perhaps I might be more patient, more gentle. It is an adjustment for me, just as much as for them.

Just something to think about if you are in the process of adopting. Just something to think about if you’re praying for us.


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I started reading Generous Justice by Tim Keller today.  While the book is not about adoption and orphan care, it certainly has some great implications for them.

He starts with talking about Micah 6:8, that we walk humbly before God by acting justly and loving mercy.  They are connected, not separate.

“In Micah 6:8, “misphat puts the emphasis on the action, chesedh puts it on the attitude [or motive] behind the action.”  To walk with God, then, we must do justice, out of merciful love.”

In other words, because we love mercy we act justly.  As Christians, we have received mercy (and Jesus received the retributive justice we deserved).  As the gospel transforms us, Jesus makes us people who are merciful (Mt. 5) and pursue the rights of others.

“Over and over again, misphat describes taking up the care and cause of widows, orphans, immigrants, and the poor- those who have been called “the quartet of the vulnerable.””

He quotes a number of passages which use justice to describe how we are to treat those who are often defenseless.  Among those are Zechariah 7:10-11, Deuteronomy 27:19, Jeremiah 22:3 and Deuteronomy 4:6-8.

“If believers in God don’t honor the cries and claims of the poor, we don’t honor him, whatever we profess, because we hide his beauty from the eyes of the world.”

In other words, God’s people are supposed to manifest his beauty and glory as we care for such people in great need.  The church, and individual Christians, should want to glorify God by, in part, caring for orphans.  Adoption glorifies God precisely because it is just, in addition to merciful.

Keller makes the argument (which I agree with) that to not do such things is in fact unjust.  We are unrighteous when we close our ears to their cries, and our wallets to their legitimate needs.  Adoption is one way to respond to their cries, and meet the need of orphans for parents to protect and provide for them.  Are you listening?

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