Word for Wednesday

But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:34

During the early pioneer years, there was fighting between the white settlers and some of the Indian tribes. During one of the skirmishes, a young man, the eldest son of a prominent man in the community, was captured by the Indians and taken to their encampment. He lay bound in a tent, fearing the worst. On the second day of his imprisonment, the tent flap opened, and a large, dignified chief, carrying a knife entered. The chief cut the young man’s bonds, and bade him stand, leading him outside, where the members of the tribe stood and watched. The chief led him to a large circle, and the two men sat on a bearskin. The chief beckoned, and a young woman came forward, setting a large bouquet of lovely flowers before the young man. Pointing to the flowers, the chief asked the young man if he saw beauty in them. Yes, the young man did. ‘During a battle with your people, my son was killed,’ the chief told him. ‘Now, these flowers have no beauty to me. If we were to kill you, your father would feel like I do. That is why I am setting you free.’

When we think of today’s text, we might wonder why the Israelites were to love the strangers among them. After all, they had been persecuted and enslaved when they were strangers in Egypt. But God calls them to allow the memory of that persecution to produce compassion, like the Indian chief did. Remembering their suffering as strangers, they should desire that strangers among them would not suffer. There are strangers among the Lord’s people today, and God still calls for us to deal with them in compassion and love.

Like the Israelites in the promised land, we have a history of slavery and repression to remember. We once served a cruel taskmaster but were delivered by the mighty hand of God. Around us we see others who remain in that slavery and under that bondage. Do we love them and care for their welfare and desire their delivery? What about the unsaved members of our family? Or the friends and neighbours we see every day? Or the children in our Sunday School? Yes, we can love these folks, because we don’t consider them strangers. And we pray for them and witness to them. But what about the people we don’t know or who we see on a very casual or infrequent basis? Can we love them and show compassion to them. That is God’s desire.

Oh, how wonderful the freedom into which our salvation has brought us! Oh how wonderful if we could see others enter into this freedom! – Jim MacIntosh

Comments are closed.