Today as believers we live in the age of grace and so I believe that whatever expectations that God placed on the nation of Israel in Old Testament times relative to the care of aliens or foreigners residing in their land, those expectations must be surpassed by Christ’s church today in the age of grace. I am placing the burden in America on the church to help return our country to the Judeo-Christian values it was founded on. Allow me to refresh your memory of God’s expectations on Israel from the book of Deuteronomy which interestingly enough was the book most quoted from by Jesus during his earthly ministry.
“Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak [outer heavier garment] of the widow as a pledge. Remember when you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this. When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the grapes again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. Remember, you were slaves in Egypt [for approximately 400 years]. That is why I command you to do this.” Deuteronomy 24:17-22
“When you have entered the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled it, take some of the first-fruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the Lord your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name, and say to the priest in office at the time, ‘I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the land the Lord swore to our forefathers to give us.’ The priest shall take the basket from your hands and set it down in front of the altar of the Lord your God. Then you shall declare before the Lord your God: ‘My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down to Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous. But the Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, putting us to hard labor. Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, toil, and oppression. So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and miraculous signs and wonders. He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey, [agricultural terms] and now I bring the of the soil that you, O Lord, have given me.’ Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before him. And you and the Levites, and the aliens among you shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household. When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.
Then say to the Lord your God: ‘I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have forgotten any of them. I have not eaten of the sacred portion while I was in mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor have I offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the Lord my God; I have done everything you commanded me. Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our forefathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.
The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws, carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in his ways, that you will keep his decrees, commands, and laws, and that you will obey him. And the Lord has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep his commands. He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame, and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised.” Deuteronomy 26:1-19
These passages should be the rubric for Christians today and the church, and the minimum that we would be about as the church living in the age of grace here in America. Several decades ago, the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) movement was popular among Christians. Many Christians wore WWJD bracelets to serve as a reminder that their reactions to life scenarios were to be from a Jesus perspective. So my question for you, the follower of Jesus of Nazareth is this. What if Jesus decided to show up today and address the good people of the United States from Capitol Hill on the immigration topic? What if his response was based on the aforementioned scriptures in Deuteronomy and the other New Testament passages from his earthly ministry days? What do you think his response to our nation would be on the topic of aliens and immigration?
I am not so naive as to believe there are simple answers to complex questions relative to the immigration issue we are facing here in America. A big concern for me is that Christians are becoming divided over this topic. For some Christians, their party affiliation and media influences that are becoming all-persuasive and pervasive in their lives. When individual Christians become divided, so does the church they attend. As ministers and pastors, we should remember God has called us to shepherd all his sheep; Democrats, Republicans, Independents, citizens, and non-citizens. I believe Satan is having a field day over Christians and their ungodly rhetoric and actions against their fellow Christians, as well as those who are not Christ-followers. And all for holding a different view than theirs on immigration and related topics.
Please remember the only Savior of this world. For the restoration of our United States back to its Judeo-Christian foundation and making America great again, and for the revival of the church; our Savior’s name is Jesus Christ and not Donald Trump. Christ alone is our savior and redeemer. The Bible is our rubric for decision making. We should ask ourselves, What Would Jesus Do (WWJD) or say relative to the immigration topic? Perhaps Jesus said it best in Matthew 11:15 “He who has ears, let him hear.” If Christians aren’t listening to the Holy Spirit on this topic, if we aren’t searching scripture to see his revealed thoughts and words, we will be left to our own thoughts, persuasions, and limited reasoning. As finite beings, we might miss out on God’s solutions to the problems we are facing as a nation.