Lately I have been listening to the old testament “Bible on Tape” instead of news or radio when I have time and it has been such a pleasure to listen with focused intent to better understand the Old Testament. I have listened to much of it multiple times and have found it very intriguing how God’s people have been on the move for the land of milk & honey…. And while God provides for the Israelites in many ways they continue to be foreigners and strangers. Aside from God providing for them in their travels as migrating homeless going to their chosen land, they continue to disobey their Lord. Aside from so much guidance from God and such visible actions by God, I found it hard to imagine how they struggled to follow God’s commands.
Like the Israelites, I can see that I wander in the direction I choose, and not always in the direction of God’s will. I think about how I am not hearing with open ears, or listening for God’s guidance as often or carefully as I should. Today’s Lenten verses are great and also very clear, yet the execution will require thought, discussion and intention.
18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.
I look forward to loving strangers and foreigners with awareness and intention. I want to challenge myself to follow this guidance from God and love those who are strangers.
In our world today, it’s hard not to notice the masses of people that are displaced migrants looking for a place or space, or country they can call home. Also, I can’t help but think about how the Israelites found it so difficult to obey God, aside from all God had provided. But turn the clock ahead 2000 years, and consider those displaced today. Wow… It’s same in many ways yet a very very different world. While we have many different perspectives about how we should react to the needs of strangers or foreigners we hear about in media, these verses help me see more clearly that we should love foreigners and strangers. Unlike the Israelites who were chosen, the foreigners in today’s world have extreme adversity far beyond. Since our Lord calls on us to love foreigners, I think there are many ways I can love strangers and foreigners with clothing, food, and a welcoming spirit. I have found, and you have also I am sure, that when you welcome a stranger in a caring and loving way, they are quick to be loving in return. And much easier for us to love when we are not the stranger. Let’s keep this scripture in mind to love the foreigners who reside with us whoever they are. I know from experience that we can warm the hearts of strangers very easily when we follow as God commands. And I know that I feel fulfilled with happiness from loving strangers. While we are unsure about how we are to react to the vast need of strangers, we should listen carefully to hear God, discuss openly in our community, and have open our hearts to love as God commands us.