Moses declares, concerning God;
He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing. (Deuteronomy 10:18)
In a multi-cultural environment, where friends and church members gather together from various countries and backgrounds and in a “world city” like Orlando where immigrants are common we must take seriously the Scriptures that reveal the heart and character of God and seek to imitate Him.
Additionally, in a culture of such diversity, there is unfortunately also too much ethnocentrism and hatred toward various groups of people – people that God says He loves!
This past weekend I again saw the Hebrew Israelite Church” on the corner of Pine Hills and North Lane (where I live) proclaiming their “truth” which includes hatred toward the oppressing, hated descendants of Esau (now known as Caucasians).
It is amazing to me how ignorant we can be of what God says in Scripture. All of us! When was the last time you learned something new that corrected what you have previously thought? If it’s been a while maybe you need to be in the Word more.
A quick search on the word “foreigner” from Deuteronomy 10:18 will show that in the HCSB translation alone it occurs 35 times in the Old Testament. Check it out here.
The last occurrance (in HCSB) is in Malachi 3:5 – as God is getting ready to judge his people for their unfaithfulness this is what He says.
“I will come to you in judgment, and I will be ready to witness against sorcerers and adulterers; against those who swear falsely; against those who oppress the widow and the fatherless, and cheat the wage earner; and against those who deny justice to the foreigner. They do not fear Me,” says the LORD of Hosts.
Notice in this verse God is upset because among other things the foreigner has not received justice from His covenant people. The foreigner in Scripture was supposed to be treated with love and justice, to be taught the things of God, to be included in various religious gatherings, etc.
This command seems to be based on three things;
- God’s love for the foreigner
- God’s people had once been foreigners themselves so should empathize
- God’s desire for foreigners to become faithful followers
You must regard the foreigner who lives with you as the native-born among you. You are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am Yahweh your God. – Leviticus 19:34