The first sixteen of forty citations from the Bible on how to treat aliens are from the first five books of the Bible. These five books are commonly attributed to Moses, the person who gave God’s law to Israel. If the five books are truly God’s law for Israel in perpetuity, then the nation of Israel has a problem.
Pondering these verses has started a chain of thoughts which merit the exposure of a blog, I think. To agree on God’s law is often problematic. This seems to me to be true especially during a time of gospel transition from law to grace as in the first century, and for new believers of any era.
The rite of circumcision has a long history. Abraham was first justified by faith and later directed to be circumcised. Moses as lawgiver required that all male Jewish babies were to be circumcised. Some already Christians in the first-century thought that gentiles should be circumcised and keep the law of Moses if they were to be admitted to the church.
Not so, argued Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, it doesn’t matter that much. He wished circumcision to be a freely-made choice by each individual, never to be imposed as a matter of the law through Moses. If this one small piece of the law should be required of gentile believers, then all other small bits of the law should likewise be required of them. For every bit of the law was given by God through Moses, not, and should be similarly respected.
Links in the chain of my thought goes to the gay sexual orientation and behavior issue with which the church and the nation struggles today. One side in that conversation relies in part on a small bit of the law of Moses which prohibits homosexual behavior. Doesn’t Paul’s logic still apply? If one small bit of law is binding today, should not all other small bits be binding as well?
Now the links of the chain circle back to the treatment of aliens, a legitimate concern of today’s nation and church. Verses from the law of Moses that concern just treatment of aliens are no more binding than other bits of law. Their chief value is to show that the power of love always treats aliens kindly, fairly and justly.