God’s Heart for the Foreigner

God’s heart for the foreigner is very clear throughout Scripture. Often, we let our politics or public opinion drive our attitude towards immigrants, refugees, international students, and others. However, we must let the Word of God, rather than society or our own personal prejudices, determine our attitude and actions towards outsiders. Depending on your Bible translation, you will see God commanding His people over and over to love, serve, provide for, and share His Word with the “aliens”, “sojourners”, “foreigners”, or “strangers” living among them. 

Global Frontier Missions is doing everything it can to live out these Scriptures as a lifestyle and challenging others in the body of Christ to put them into practice as well. We believe that welcoming the nations plays a huge role in the fulfillment of the Great Commission to see every tribe, tongue, people and nation delighting in and worshiping the Lord. Take a minute to view this video about God’s heart concerning foreigners all throughout Scripture and then join us on this journey!

A few key passages from the book of Deuteronomy concerning God’s people and the foreigners living among them.

Deut. 10:17-19 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.  And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.
Deut. 24:17-18 Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.  Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your  God redeemed you  from there. That is why I command you to do this.
Deut. 14:28-29 At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and SO THAT the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
Deut.31:10-13 Then Moses commanded them: “At the end of every seven years, in the year for canceling debts, during the Feast of Tabernacles,  when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose, you shall read this law before them in their hearing.  Assemble the people–men, women and children, and the aliens living in your townsso they can listen and learn to fear the LORD your God and follow carefully all the words of this law.  Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the LORD your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
Deut. 24:21-22 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow.  Remember that you were slaves in Egypt.  That is why I   command you to do this.

Many people often times ask for our notes after we teach the “God’s Heart for the Foreigner” at the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course or on one of our short-term mission trips. So, we want to make the notes available for further study and also with the hope that you will share this Bible study with others!

God’s Heart for the Foreigner

Study a few of these Bible passages and then ask these questions:
[+] What are some of the central messages conveyed in these Scriptures? How does God view strangers?
[+] How does God expect His people to treat strangers?
[+] Who in the Bible was a refugee? What were they running from?
[+] Who in the Bible crossed a border without permission? How were they received in the countries to which they came?
[+] How do these Scriptures relate to church involvement in refugee resettlement, ministries to immigrants, and/or advocacy on behalf of refugees and immigrants?
[+] What practical ways could you obey these passages?

Genesis 3:22-24 – Adam and Eve uprooted from the garden and forced out
Genesis 12:1 – Abraham, called to leave his home and go to a new land
Genesis 23:4 – Abraham looks for a burial place for Sarah in a strange land
Genesis 37-46 – Joseph sold into slavery in a strange land
Exodus 2:15-22 – Moses as a guest in Midian
Deuteronomy 6:10-12 – Remember, you were once sojourners
Deuteronomy 26:5 – Remember, a wandering Aramean was my father
I Samuel 23-24 – David, like refugees, hides in the wilderness to escape death
I Chronicles 29:14-15 – All things come from God and we are all transient on earth
Psalm 105:1-45 – History of the migration of God’s people
Psalm 137:1-9 – How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?
Matthew 2:19-21 – Jesus and his parents flee to Egypt to escape persecution
Matthew 8:20 – Son of Man has no where to lay his head
Luke 2:7 – No room at the inn
Acts – The story of God’s missionaries to foreigners
Acts 7:1-53 – History of wandering of Abraham, Joseph and Moses
Genesis 18:1-8 – Abraham as host at Mamre
Genesis 19:1-3 – Abraham as host at Sodom
Exodus 22:21 – Remember to treat foreigners well
Exodus 23:9 – Remember to treat foreigners well
Leviticus 19:32-34 – The alien who resides with you is as the citizen
Numbers 35:9-34 – Cities of refuge
Deuteronomy 27:19 – Curse those who deny hospitality
Joshua 20:1-3 – Cities of refuge
Joshua 21:13-38 – Cities of refuge
Ruth 2:1-23 – Boaz receives Ruth
Job 31:32 – Job takes in travelers
Psalms 61:1-3 – God is our ultimate place of refuge
Luke 10:38-42 – Jesus as a guest of Mary and Martha
Luke 19:1-9 – Jesus as a guest of Zacchaeus
Luke 24:28-3 – Jesus as a guest of the disciples on the Emmaus road
John 19:25-27 – John takes Mary home with him after the crucifixion
Romans 12:13 – Practice hospitality
Ephesians 2:11-22 – No longer are we strangers and sojourners
Hebrews 13:1-2 – Those who have welcomed strangers have discovered angels
Leviticus 19:9-17 – Rules for justice toward our neighbors
Leviticus 25:8-22 – Jubilee year of forgiveness of debts
Deuteronomy 10:18-19 – Food, clothing, love for sojourner, orphan
Deuteronomy 15:1-18 – Seven-year release from debts
Deuteronomy 24:17-22 – Leave gleanings for widow, orphan, sojourner
Psalm 9:7-12, 18 – God forgets not the afflicted, the needy
Psalm 107:1-43 – God is wonderful to poor, hungry, thirsty
Psalm 146:1-10 – Justice for oppressed, prisoner freed
Psalm 147:1-6 – God uplifts downtrodden, heals brokenhearted
Proverbs 14:31 – To oppress a poor man insults the maker
Proverbs 22:8-9, 16 – Sow injustice, reap calamity; be generous, be blessed
Proverbs 31:8-9 – Speak for those who cannot speak for selves
Isaiah 1:17 – Learn to do good, seek justice, etc.
Isaiah 58:6-9 – God prefers service over fasting
Isaiah 61:1-3 – Prisoner freed, justice for oppressed, etc.
Jeremiah 7:5-7 – Justice will be rewarded
Jeremiah 22:3-4 – Don’t mistreat/cheat orphan, widow, sojourner
Malachi 3:5 – Condemns employers cheating foreigners
Matthew 25:35-46 – When you did it to the least you did it to Jesus
Luke 1:46-55 – Exalted those of low degree
Luke 4:14-21 – Jesus brings good news to poor and release to captives
Luke 10:25-37 – Good Samaritan help man at side of road
Luke 14:12-24 – Get dinner guests from highways and byways
Luke 18:18-22 – Rich ruler, sell all, give to poor
Romans 12:13 – Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers
II Corinthians 8:13-14 – Share your abundance
James 2:5-9,15-17 – Faith without works is dead
I John 3:14-18 – Showing God’s love in action
I John 4:7-21 – God loves us and consequently we should love one another
Exodus 1:15-22 – Hebrew midwives refuse Pharaoh’s order to kill baby boys
Exodus 23:9 – Oppressing an alien is a violation of God’s law
Deuteronomy 29:10-29 – The Covenant leaves no room for worship of gods of other nations
Jeremiah 22:3-5 – Doing wrong to an alien is a violation of God’s law
Daniel 3:1-30 – Three youth thrown in fiery furnace for refusal to worship statue
Daniel 6:1-28 – Daniel thrown in lion’s den for refusal to pray to the king
Esther 4-8 – Esther broke law to plead for people’s safety before the king
Matthew 22:15-22 – Paying taxes and yet giving to God what is of God
Matthew 28:18 – All authority in heaven and on earth is given to Jesus
John 19:10-11 – Pilot had power to crucify Jesus because it was given from above
Acts 4:13-22 – Peter and John defend their faith before the authorities
Acts 5:29 – Apostles refused council’s order to stop speaking about Jesus
Romans 13:1-7 – Christians must respect the rights of the state
Ephesians 1:20-23 – God put Christ over all in authority, power, and dominion
Titus 3:1-2 – Be subject to rulers and authorities
I Peter 2:13-17 – Accept the authority of human institutions
Revelation 13:1-8 – The government gives its authority over to the beast instead of God

This video is part of our five week Step In study which is designed for small groups to God’s heart for the nations and explore next steps in Great Commission involvement.

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