Moses… said, “I have become a resident foreigner in a foreign land.” – Exodus 2:22
O God, foreigners have invaded your chosen land… – Psalm 79:1
Moses knew what it was to be a refugee seeking safety in a foreign land. He was rescued first by an Egyptian princess and then by a Midian priest. He never forgot this experience and Israel were told again and again not to forget that they, too, had once been foreigners in Egypt.* Remember your experiences, they were told, and think how you would want to have been treated. Welcome the immigrant, care for them, protect the oppressed, feed them, clothe them.**
The psalmist in Psalm 79 expresses an instinctive human reaction as he rails against ‘ungodly’ foreigners. He wants to protect his borders, to have God fight off the invading hordes. He wonders why God lets this go on (v. 3). Well, maybe it’s because God loves the foreigner and is waiting for his people to do the same.
How do we treat foreigners, refugees, asylum seekers and immigrant workers? Do we want our borders shut or do we remember that God loves them and so should we? We worship a former refugee (Matt 2:13-15) and he says that how we treat the stranger is how we treat him (Matt 25:35).
* Ex 22:21; Ex 23:9; Lev 19:33-34; Deut 10:18-19.
** Lev 19:9-10; Job 31:32; Psa 9:9; Matt 25:35; Nah 1:7; Isa 25:4; Jer 7:6; Ezek 16:49; Mal 3:5; Luke 10:29-37; Gal 5:14.