S (Scripture): Exodus 22:21 You must not wrong a foreigner nor oppress him, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.
O (Observation): The Israelites have recently received their freedom from bondage to slavery in Egypt. God has given them a set of boundaries to live by – The 10 Commandments. If they are to be God’s people, they would follow these commands.
The verse in this devotion is one of the decisions God passed on to Moses.
God gives this law so that God’s people will show mercy and hospitality to the stranger. God reminds the people that they, too, were foreigners in a foreign land (in Egypt). They weren’t treated so well in Egypt, as foreigners. As a people “set apart,” a holy people, God’s people will look and act differently…especially when hosting foreigners.
A (Application): Showing hospitality to our neighbor is to be our default approach. This does not mean that we should allow our neighbors to do whatever they want. The verses surrounding this one show how everyone is to respect the well-being of the family and property of their neighbor.
This verse simply highlights God’s desire for God’s people to care for the foreigner in their midst – to NOT treat him/her with less dignity or respect than anyone else.
We have seemingly forgotten this concept in America, today.
We treat foreigners with little respect, mimicking their accents, being dismissive of their traditions, and wanting to deport everyone with a Muslim affiliation.
How sad. I wonder if we realize that we were foreigners on American soil? That Native Americans were here long before we were.
The designation of “foreigner” shifts over time. Now that we have inhabited this American soil for about 400 years now, we claim this land for “our own.” We do have The Constitution and other mutually agreed-upon documents to help guide our nation, but we should not ignore the call to be hospitable to our neighbors.
Fear seems to drive a lot of the mistreatment of foreigners. So my request is that you get to know some of these “foreigners.” Seek to know how they came to this country. Seek out their life goals. Get to know them.
Then, go to God in prayer, and allow God to help you respect the foreigner in your midst.
P (Prayer): Lord, help us to show hospitality to our neighbors…reminding us that we, too, were once foreigners. Amen.