Sometimes we can look at an issue or a problem, and the scriptural solution seems obvious. But at other times things can appear more complicated. What I want to bring to our attention for prayer looks complicated to me. But that’s all the more reason to pray about it.
People leave their homelands and move to other countries for many reasons. We know this is normal, and it’s been happening perhaps since the beginning of the world. But we also know these days that this has caused stress politically and socially, both in our own country as well as in others. Some of this immigration happens legally and some otherwise. The motivation can be to flee danger and disaster, to be reunited with families, or to better people’s circumstances.
All around the world, national border crossings have produced a lot of heated debate, and I think there are some principles from God’s word that can help our thinking about it. “He doth execute justice for the fatherless and widow, and loveth the sojourner, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the sojourner; for ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:18-19).
This is a good starting point. Whatever you want to call them, I believe the “love” part applies to illegal refugees. I am not defending lawbreaking, and we’re all are in need of grace at some point. Yet resentment toward such people’s actions can cloud awareness of a desperate need for something more: There’s a huge harvest along these borders.
In Numbers 15:15 we read, “For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before the LORD.” In Israel, there was a God-given filter: If you wanted to live in the land, you had to fit into the system; a sojourner had to live according to God’s Word. Sojourners were expected to integrate fully into Israel’s God-given system of law. We have a problem today, because our country in many ways is not living according to God’s Word, and yet there is a system of law which should apply to all citizens, regardless of their beliefs or origins. As I said before, it is complicated, and we have made it more complicated by not being a godly nation.
Whether or not they are going at it the right way, there’s a huge group of people in our and other countries who are desperate enough to go to great lengths to find something better. We do want safe borders, and we want reasonable laws that can be enforced.
And we also want the border-crossers to find what they really need. If they bring a faulty belief system with them, they’re in just as much bondage as when they left their country of origin. So along with praying that we do the right thing by them, let’s pray that these people find what they need—a safe and normal life, yes, but more importantly, lives that have found Jesus Himself, the only satisfaction and the only true solution.
If we don’t know the details of how it all works out, that’s okay, because God does. We can always pray.