May 16, 2024

The Foreigners Among You

Leviticus 19:33-34

“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself. . . .”

—  Leviticus 19:34

The Bible includes a number of stories about God’s people fleeing their homes to find refuge elsewhere. Abram and Sarai took refuge in Egypt because of a famine (Genesis 12:10). So did Jacob and his whole clan (Genesis 46). Elimelek and Naomi did something similar (Ruth 1:1-2). Jacob had also fled for his life after stealing his brother’s birthright (Genesis 27:41-44). And Joseph and Mary fled with baby Jesus when King Herod sent soldiers to kill him (Matthew 2). As we read these stories, we are relieved to find God’s people welcomed into foreign lands!

The Bible also instructs God’s people on how to treat foreigners. Leviticus 19:34 makes clear that the foreigner was to have the same legal protection as the native-born Israelite. Like a neighbor, the foreigner was also to be loved as oneself!

Our world remains a place where countless people flee from one place to another. Escaping from war, famine, persecution, and poverty, millions of people are on the move. Is there any reason to think that God would have his people treat foreigners differently today than long ago?

In what ways can we show God’s love and care for the foreigners among us?

Lord, help us to love foreigners as we love ourselves. Please help us to see each person we meet as your imagebearer, and to love everyone as you love us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — George Koopmans

George Koopmans has served as an ecumenical chaplain at Medicine Hat College in Medicine Hat, Alberta, since November 2021. Prior to entering into chaplaincy, George served as a pastor to two congregations—one in Minnesota (Luverne), and the other in Medicine Hat. George and his wife, Emily, have four adult daughters and three grandchildren. Hiking, biking, and birdwatching are his favorite hobbies.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!