Watering the Tulips
November 20, 2013
“You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” –Exodus 22:21
Clearly, the child of God has been freed from the Mosaic Law (Romans 6:14; Galatians 5:18). Still yet, the Old Testament is the inspired Word of God and good for God’s children to study. Even in the Law, we find principles that are beneficial to us. We certainly get a glimpse into the character of God in the commands that He gave Israel through Moses. Our text verse is certainly one of those that needs to be considered from that perspective.
Christians today seem more driven to be involved in politics than they are the study of the Bible. Many speak of it being our “duty” as a follower of Christ. Interestingly, we never once see Jesus or the early churches involved in any way in the political process. And, for that matter, we continually see them stand before those in authority. That having been said, Christians are entrenched the political process today and are seemingly unwilling to give it up no matter the lack of Scriptural precedence. One of the biggest problems with this position is that politics nearly always brings out the worst in people. From everything we see on social media today, Christians are not exempt from this. Sadly, many of the Lord’s own are constantly spewing political venom, as it were, towards their opponents.
The verse before us today focuses on a specific group that many today seem to be opposed to – foreigners. In the spirit of conservatism and law, many true believers would set aside the pattern we see here and oppose immigration of any kind into our country. We often hear slang terms and hateful words aimed at those that would come to America for a better lifestyle for their family. In all honesty, it matters not whether these aliens are legal or illegal. It matters not whether they are honest and hardworking. All that matters is that they are from another place and they need to “go back where they came from”.
God reminded Israel that they too were once “strangers in the land of Egypt”. Perhaps we would do well today to remember that America is a country of immigrants. Most of the people reading his article can trace their family tree across the ocean to another continent. Few even acknowledge that the Native American was driven off his land by our ancestors. Virtually all of us are immigrants if we are honest. Our forefathers were coming here for a better life for their family just as many are still doing today.
Perhaps a greater reason not to mistreat a stranger is that we realize “our citizenship is in Heaven”(Philippians 3:20). From the spiritual standpoint, Christians are not citizens anywhere on this earth. We are hated outcasts. Opponents have tried to eradicate us many times. Even today, many would “send us packing” if they had a way to do it. How is it that we do not see the correlation when we mistreat those that would come here seeking a better opportunity for their families?
Child of God, let us not mistreat those from other lands. Let us apply the principles that God gave Israel in the Law. Let us remember that we are strangers here on Earth. If nothing else, let us take the opportunity to share the message of Christ dying for sinners with them. This may be our biggest failure.
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