17 For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awe-inspiring God, showing no partiality and taking no bribe. 18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the resident alien, giving him food and clothing. 19 You are also to love the resident alien, since you were resident aliens in the land of Egypt.
Hey guys. Welcome back to the PSALMS to God podcast. So this past Sabbath, I was at Sabbath school and we were talking about the inclusion of everybody in the body of Christ. We're talking about a chapter in Ephesians where, you know, it's basically going over the whole thing about how once you convert and once you believe in God, it doesn't matter if you are an Israelite or a Gentile. You're still a body of Christ and you have this—excuse me, you're still in the body of Christ and you still have the same rights; and you gain the inheritance of the Father just like anyone else.
And as we were talking about that concept, we started going through the Bible to a bunch of different verses that talk about strangers or foreigners in the land of Israel, and how the Israelites were supposed to be treating these people. As we were going through these verses I knew that I was going to do the podcast on basically all of these verses. A lot of them are exactly the same thing, but I just feel like, especially with it being Black History Month, that it's completely relevant and important to talk about.
Xenophobia and Racism in the US (00:02:46)
So one of the reasons it's important, like I said, it's Black History Month, and in the US there is a history of discrimination—whether it's because of race or nationality, there's also a history of discrimination based on people being poor and people being immigrants. We're seeing this playing out right now. All of this crazy foolishness that Donald Trump has said about immigrants, particularly about Mexicans. What he said about Haiti. And the whole foolishness about this wall—just there's a lot OK. You have to be living under a rock to not realize that people are saying very hateful and harmful things about immigrants in our society, which is crazy because everyone's an immigrant or we were brought here as slaves in my case, or you're Native American, but nonetheless there is a problem. And that is deeply rooted in the history of America.
And if you know anything about slavery and about the history of Christianity in America, then you also know that white evangelicals have been trying to twist the Bible to say racist things from the beginning. They were trying to turn curses into things that they're not; they were trying to, you know, oh slaves you know "obey your master"—never mind about the right after that it says "masters be good to your slaves for you have a Master in Heaven"—but they basically tried to make the Bible say what they wanted to say. And here in 2019, we have the issue that because of how they have treated the word of God and how they have perverted it there are a lot of Black people who do not subscribe to Christianity simply because they're viewing it through that lens, and it's seen as a racist religion. By all accounts that man-made version is racist, but that's not what the Bible says—and we're going to get to what the Bible says.
Xenophobia in Israel (00:05:01)
But outside my American experience, and the American context as a black person in the United States, this is also relevant to what's happening in Israel right now. If you follow history and if you follow current events or anything like that, then you would know that there is a lot of conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians—and so there is a lot going on there, as well. And of course, all of what's being said in the Bible also applies to the modern state of Israel and how they treat the Palestinians—and there's a lot of stuff that we can go into about that but we don't have that much time, so I'm just going to go straight to the verses.
Bible Verses Again Xenophobia (00:05:43)
So I read in the beginning, a verse in Deuteronomy or a couple of verses from Deuteronomy that basically summarize the whole of what all of the verses say. But just for, I don't know for clarity? For a thoroughness—thoroughness! That's the word I'm looking for. I wanted to read a couple of others, by no means is this all of them, because a lot of these verses are repeated; which means there's emphasis, which means God was serious about what He was saying and He didn't change what He was saying because He was serious about what He was saying. So in Exodus 22:21 it says "You must not exploit a resident alien or oppress him since you were resident aliens in the land of Egypt."
And then if you continue into Deuteronomy, pass the verse that I previously read and into chapter 24 verse 14, it says "Do not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether one of your Israelite brothers or one of the resident aliens in a town in your land. You are to pay him his wages each day before the sun sets because he is poor and depends on them. Otherwise he would cry out to the Lord against you and you will be held guilty."
Later in that same chapter and verse 17 it says "Do not deny justice to a resident alien or fatherless child and do not take a widow's garment as security." So once again you cannot deny justice to people just because they are not like you or because or because they are immigrants or foreign or whatever the case may be.
And then if you jump into the New Testament, because I know some of y'all a little rusty on the Old Testament. The New Testament says the same thing. From the words of Jesus Himself, in Matthew chapter 25 starting at verse 34, it says "The King will say to those on His right, come you who are blessed by My Father. Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you took me in..." And then it lists some more things, but I really wanted to highlight the fact that he is including the strangers, the foreigners, the immigrants in this passage. Those who are blessed and inherit the kingdom of God are the people who took care of all people and not just those who looked like them.
And I think it's very important that we remember this, and that we remind those who are profaning the name of God by claiming that they are believers, that they are following Christ, they're Christians, but are still spouting out racist propaganda, racist ideologies. They are discriminating against immigrants, discriminating against people because of their race, because of their wealth status or lack of wealth status, or any of those things.
Throughout my life I have noticed that is always those who have little that are taken advantage of, and a lot of times in our country, that is inclusive of immigrants because many times they don't necessarily know their rights. Or for instance I've had situations where I've known people—like maybe you have like a child, like kids I went to school with, their parents came over. The children are first-generation American and their parents don't speak English. The children don't know what's going on and the parents can't fight for the child because they can't speak English. And teachers or the school—I should say the school system in general, or the the law system, systems in general are taking advantage of those people and that is not how the Bible outlines a good society and that's not how the Bible outlines God's Society. So we, as followers of Christ, should be breaking that tradition and we should be standing up for the immigrant, for the foreigners, for those who don't necessarily look like us. And we should be treating them as equals because God created us all to be equals.
Wrap Up (00:10:13)
So that is the message that I wanted to put out there today and I hope that you guys will think about that, and share that with your friends to need to hear it. If you needed to hear it, then I hope you received it in love and goodness. And I will see you guys for the next episode. If you want the transcript for this episode—and I will try to list out more of the verses, I'm probably still not going to get them all 'cause ya'll the Bible is long and there a lot of them but I'll try to put in as many as I can in that transcript, you can find it at www.psalmstogod.com/liberty. Thanks again, see you guys next time.
References and Footnotes
- Ephesians 2
- Ephesians 2:6-9
- "Israel/Palestine". Human Rights Watch; visited February 2019
- Exodus 12:49; 22:21; 23:9; Leviticus 16:29; 19:10, 33-34; 24:22; Numbers 35:15; Deuteronomy 1:16; 10:18-19; 14:29; 16:11-14; 23:7; 24:14-17, 19-21; 27:19; Matthew 25:35; Ephesians 2:19; Hebrews 13:2