Every year, approximately 135, 000 children are adopted in America — more kids than all other countries combined.
In recent years, celebrities such as Katherine Heigl, Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock, and Madonna have brought more visibility to the beautiful act of loving and caring for another’s biological child. However, adoption certainly isn’t a new practice.
In the Bible, God demonstrates his love and dedication to orphans repeatedly. Psalm 68:5-6 states, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”
The following examples of adoption from scripture are compelling.
Perhaps, the most well-known adoption in the Bible involved Moses. In the book of Exodus, the Pharaoh of Egypt gave an edict that all male Hebrew babies be killed, and Moses just barely escaped this fate.
After Moses was born, his birth mother Jochebed hid him for three months. When she realized she couldn’t hide her son any longer, she waterproofed a papyrus basket with pitch and asphalt. Jochebed placed Moses in the basket before carefully setting it among reeds by the bank of the Nile River. Moses’s sister watched to see what would happen to her baby brother.
As her female servants walked along the riverbank, the daughter of Pharaoh went down to the Nile to bathe. When she saw the basket lying among the reeds, Pharaoh’s daughter sent a servant to retrieve it. Knowing the baby was Hebrew, she felt sorry for him. She enlisted Moses’s sister to go find someone to nurse the baby for her. Moses’s sister brought Jochebed.
After Moses’s birth mother nursed him, she delivered him to Pharaoh’s daughter. Pharaoh’s daughter raised Moses. She is also the one who gave him his name. This same Moses who was reared by an adoptive mother led the Israelites out of Egypt and to the land God promised to give them.
The book of Esther provides another poignant example of an adopted child who delivered her people from harm.
Both of Esther’s parents died when she was a girl. Fortunately, Esther’s cousin Mordecai took her into his household and raised her. After Queen Vashti was dethroned, Xerxes I, the king of the Persian Empire, decided to select a new queen from a number of beautiful women. Esther was chosen. After she became queen, Haman, one of her husband’s high officials, devised a scheme to kill all of the Jews in the Persian Empire.
After urging all Jews to fast and pray, Esther risked her own life when she approached Xerxes without first being summoned. When Esther’s husband discovered her Jewish heritage and Haman’s underhanded intentions, he hung Haman on the gallows this official had built for Mordecai. Besides giving Mordecai Haman’s position, Xerxes provided protection to all the Jews in his empire.
Before David became king of Israel, he was sent to King Saul’s residence to play the harp. David immediately bonded with Saul’s son Jonathan.
In 2 Samuel, after Saul and Jonathan were killed by the Philistines, David searched for any living relatives of his friend Jonathan. Saul’s former servant Ziba informed David about a son of Jonathan who was living with a friend.
This son, named Mephibosheth, was crippled. He became lame at the age of five-years-old when his nurse dropped him as she was fleeing after learning about the deaths of Saul and Jonathan in battle. David summoned Mephibosheth to his palace. He instructed Jonathan’s disabled son to eat at his table with his own children. David even gave Mephibosheth the land that previously belonged to his grandfather Saul.
Besides physical adoption, the Bible also outlines adoption from a spiritual viewpoint. Romans 8:15 states, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’”
John 1:12-13 provides another illustration of spiritual adoption. This touching verse says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, or human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
The message from scripture is clear — adoption is a worthwhile, caring act approved by God.
~ 1776 Christian