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Welcoming Strangers

You are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. Deuteronomy 10:19

When my friends lived in Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe, they were overwhelmed by the warm welcome they received there, especially from other Christians. Once they took some clothes and provisions to a couple from their church who were very poor, yet who were fostering several children. The couple treated my friends like honored guests, giving them sweet tea and, despite their protests, something to eat. As my friends left with gifts of watermelons and other fruits and vegetables, they marveled at the hospitality they experienced.

These believers embody the welcome that God commanded His people, the Israelites, to exhibit. He instructed them “to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 10:12). How could the Israelites live this out? The answer comes a few verses later: “You are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt” (v. 19). By welcoming strangers, they would be serving and honoring God; and in showing them love and care, they would demonstrate their trust in Him.

Our circumstances might differ from the Moldovans or the Israelites, but we too can live out our love for God through our welcome to others. Whether through opening our homes or smiling a greeting to those we meet, we can extend God’s care and hospitality in a lonely, hurting world.

When you receive the gift of hospitality, how does that affect you? When you think about welcoming someone, does a specific person come to mind?

Believers show God’s love through the gift of welcome.


The book of Deuteronomy, the fifth book in the Pentateuch, is attributed to Moses. This book is a series of three sermons (chs. 1–4; 5–26; 27–34) given to the Israelites shortly before Moses’s death and the conquest of the land under Joshua’s leadership. Among the themes in Deuteronomy is the call to obedience, as we see in Deuteronomy 10:12–19. God wants His people to love and obey Him (v. 12), and one way they can do this is to treat others (including foreigners) with kindness. Why? Because God Himself does so and because they too were once foreigners (vv. 18–19). We see this theme throughout the Pentateuch (Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:34; Deuteronomy 23:7). Like the Israelites, all God’s people are to follow His loving example. After all, before God adopted us as His sons and daughters, we were all foreigners (Ephesians 2:12–19).

Alyson Kieda

By |2019-03-05T11:48:04-05:00March 9th, 2019|
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