Divine Law and the Foreigner

 The Immigrant Question

By Damon S. Green, @Biblenomad

      Immigration Reform is a hot topic on the lips of politicians, activists, and brave immigrants who are seeking to protect what they see as basic human rights.  Legislators wrangle over how to deal with the ages old “immigrant question”.

Founders of the United States of America addressed this question in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness… He [The King of Great Britain] has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither…”

The “immigrant question” is addressed throughout the Bible:

  • Adam and Eve – placed in Eden, later deported.
  • Abraham – told to leave home.
  • Isaac – moved to escape famine.
  • Jacob – fled to distant relatives.
  • Moses – a Jew adopted by Egyptian royalty; fled to Midian where he met and     married his wife.
  • Jesus – taken to Egypt to escape death threats, emigrated to Nazareth.

God is deeply concerned about immigration and treatment of foreigners.  The Old Testament word for “immigrant”, Ger, occurs 92 times in the Bible.  It means a guest; implies a foreigner and is often translated as: alien, sojourner, or stranger.

King David, when fleeing from Saul, prayed: “Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.” (Psalm 39:12)

God commands fair treatment of foreigners:

  • Ex 23:9 “Also you shall not oppress a stranger…”
  • Le 19:10 “And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape … leave them for the poor and the stranger…”
  • De 10:18 “He … loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. 19 Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers…”
  • Eze 47:22 “… divide it [the land] by lot as an inheritance for yourselves, and for the strangers who dwell among you…. They shall be to you as native-born…; they shall have an inheritance with you….”
  • Mal 3:5 “And I will come near you for judgment … Against those who exploit wage earners … And against those who turn away an alien…”

God welcomes us INTO His Kingdom and sends us OUT as ambassadors to represent His interests and teach ALL nations the Good News of Salvation in Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21).  Let us follow the Word and Holy Spirit as we serve the immigrants in our midst, for we also are sojourners.

See these scriptures also :

Ex 12:49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.

Ex 22:21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Ex 23:9 Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. {heart: Heb. soul}

Le 19:10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.

Le 19:33 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. {vex: or, oppress}  34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

Le 24:22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.

De 23:7  Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land.

De 24:17 Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge:

De 24:19 When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. 20 When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. {go…: Heb. bough it after thee}  21 When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. {afterward: Heb. after thee}

De 27:19 Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.

Jon 31:32 The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller.

Psalm 146:9 The Lord preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.

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2 Responses to Divine Law and the Foreigner

  1. Duane Robinson says:

    The United States currently has an immigration law that has been in place since the 1950’s. I’m not sure whether or not it is need of reform or not. However, regarding your statements, I’m of the opinion that the scriptures from sacred texts are not enough incentive to effect policy. Further, I don’t think the societies that adhere to the scriptures you reference are good examples of societies that welcome outsiders. For example, there are ten’s of thousands of different Christian sects in the United States. From the outside it seems that there wouldn’t be such a schism among people claiming to be followers of the same deity. As for the old testament scriptures, they seem to have fallen on deaf ears certainly. The state of Israel, has been described in the past by a US President as an apartheid state. The current Secretary of State described them the same way recently.

    Your statements ring true to the higher thinking person. Though, I think “people” operate in general at a more base level of exclusivity, NIMBY and elitism. Well, at least that’s what their actions read.

    • damonsgreen says:

      I understand your comments that scriptures from sacred texts are not enough incentive to effect policy. This is true. Also true is the saying “You cannot legislate morality.”

      Morality and moral decisions spring forth from the heart of an individual submitted to the truth. I submit scripture verses from the Bible to those who may consider them truth and in showing that to be the case will examine their heart and attitude in light of scripture. Christians and Jews are directed by the scriptures to allow God’s word to be the final authority in all matters of life. Sadly, multitudes have fallen short. This does not mean, however, that it is impossible to live according to the word of God. A life truly submitted to God will acknowledge Him in all ways and permit Him to guide one’s paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

      It would be misguided to conclude, because some who have called themselves Christians or believers did not hit the bullseye but committed many errors, that the scriptures are not a relevant guide. Let us also remember that not all who call Jesus “Lord, Lord” truly know Him as Lord and Savior. Not all who quote scripture have true revelation (for this reason we must study to show ourselves approved to God – 2 Timothy 2:15
      New King James Version (NKJV) “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”). Not all who hear scripture understand (1 Corinthians 2:14 New King James Version (NKJV) “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”)

      I present scriptures with the hope that those who read will receive revelation from the Spirit of God and will act accordingly, not as proof that those who have claimed to be Christians or Jews, followers of the True and Living God, have always done the right thing. Basically – the Word of God is to be final authority, not the misguided, sinful deeds of man.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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