7th October 2016

The Kindness of Foreigners 

Show to me and the country where you now reside as a foreigner the same kindness I have shown to you.
Genesis 21:23 (NIV)
 

How should a nation deal with its non-citizens? What’s more, how should we behave when we are a foreigner in another country?

In Genesis 21 Abraham has been living in Gerar. It appears that he has been treated well. This was in spite of the deception that Abraham had played on their king, Abimelek. Abraham had told a half-truth about his wife Sarah in order to protect himself from the possibility of being killed, and, as a result, Abimelek came close to committing adultery with Sarah. Abimelek, however, did not return evil with evil, but “returned Sarah his (Abraham’s) wife to him. And Abimelek said, ‘My land is before you; live wherever you like'” (Genesis 20:14-15), thus allowing Abraham free passage throughout the kingdom. Plus he gave Abraham “a thousand shekels of silver” (verse 16).

How did Abraham respond? He prayed for Abimelek’s family and household, that a curse of infertility would be lifted from them. But Abimelek was still unsure of Abraham. Maybe he saw Abraham as a force to be reckoned with. Therefore, Abimelek reminded Abraham of how he and his citizens had treated Abraham with kindness. The two men made a treaty that that they would live together in the land without aggression and hostility. For his part, Abraham agreed that he would “not deal falsely” (Genesis 21:23) again and that Abimelek’s kindness would be reciprocated.

Much later, in Luke 6:31, Jesus said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” In a sense, that’s what Abimelek was saying to Abraham. There’s a lesson here for all of us: whether citizen or foreigner, let’s be kind to one another.

Prayer
Loving Father, help us please, through your Spirit, always to be kind to one another. In Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by James Henderson

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About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:
Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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