Friday, March 10, 2023

God of Foreigners

We live in a world that wants to make our personal faith in God a private matter. If you believe in God, that's fine, but don't expect the rest of the world to buy into your value system. If you want to worship and sacrifice and live according to the example of Christ, good for you, but don't expect everyone else to do the same. 

We see this a lot in politics, especially, where we are repeatedly told that we cannot "legislate our morality," as though that's not what every single politician is doing just by nature of being a human being who has a morality at all - who has a belief about what is right and wrong. (But I digress.) We are told to keep our faith out of the public square, to stop holding others accountable to our standard of living, to let others just be who or what they desire to be. 

But while that may be the world's understanding of how God "ought" to operate, it's never been God's. 

Because God understands that we share this world. We share this space. We routinely come into contact with others who are not in our household, per se. It's why He cast out the foreign nations ahead of Israel - He said if He didn't, they would get sucked into worshiping the way that the world worships. These other peoples would lead them astray. 

And it's why, when He gave the law to His people, He included very deliberately and explicitly in that law foreigners who were living in Israelite households. The law was the standard of living for anyone in Israelite territory, whether they were a biological son of Jacob or not. The law was for servants and hired men and slaves and visitors and, well, everyone. 

See, God's law is a way for men to live together under God. The world gets hung up on that "under God" part sometimes, but there is a big bulk of the law that is just about how men ought to live together - being responsible to one another, being accountable for our behavior, being mindful of how our behavior affects and influences others. 

Most of it is wildly agreeable, even to the most atheistic of our neighbors. Which means...maybe God was onto something.  

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