What principle can we learn from the nation of Israel when they were migrating during the time of their exodus out of Egypt?
[Darris McNeely] We’ve been going through a series of Dailys about what the Bible says about immigration. As you know, immigration in the United States, and other parts of the world, is a very big topic right now. President Donald Trump has issued certain executive orders blocking immigration from radical Islamic nations to control the flow of terrorists and others into America right now. It’s created a great deal of stress, problems, and discontent. What again does the Bible say? In this particular Daily, we want to look at what the nation Israel did when they were actually migrating during the time of their exodus out of Egypt into the land that God was going to give to them.
In the previous two, we talked about the act of Ruth, the Moabitess who decided that she would assimilate – in other words, become completely Israelite – when she went from her land of Moab into Israel. And we also talked about the fact that God, in Genesis and in the book of Acts and in other places, shows us that He sets the boundaries of families and tribes and nations. He determines when they rise and fall. But national boundaries are of God. We’ll find also that the Bible says a great deal more about how to even treat people who come into the land who are not native-born.
But let’s look for a moment at the story of Israel as they came out of Egypt – the slavery for several hundred years, and they were migrating themselves to their own land. You know the story quite well. It’s told in the book of Exodus. There’s a very interesting passage. It’s in Numbers chapter 21, and what we see during this period of time – and remember, Israel was wandering for a number of years, thirty-eight or more years that they actually kind of wandered around through the wilderness. And on one pass through an area, they were near the land of the Amorites. And before actually crossing the national border into the tribal land of the Amorites, they actually sent a request. They asked for permission to go into the land. Here’s what it says in Numbers chapter 21: “Israel sent messengers to the king, Sihon, the king of the Amorites, saying, ‘Let me pass through your land. We will not turn off into field or vineyard; we will not drink water from wells. We will go to the king’s highway until we have passed through your border’” (Numbers 21:21-22).
They just wanted to pass through a part of it to get back on the main international highway of the time, and they actually said that they wouldn’t take from the land any more than necessary. And so it was a gesture of good will and respect for the border, for the land that delineated that particular nation. Now, we do learn a principle from this. Actually, it’s – we’re seeing a story. There’s not a direct, explicit teaching here, but we do learn a principle that boundaries are set, nations have their allotted territory, and even as Israel – God’s people – were on their way to their land, they showed respect for what they were passing through.
And so, these are important principles to understand that the Bible shows us. The movement of peoples throughout the world is historic. It has always happened because of war, because of economic distress, famine, pestilence. And it is a fact of life. Ancient world, modern world. Getting a handle on it, getting an understanding on it, from a biblical perspective is extremely important.
In the next installment in this series, we’re going to look at some specifics as to how God gave instructions to his own nation Israel to deal with the foreigners, the immigrants, the migrants who came into their land and we’ll have some surprising information to help us further understand this critical topic.
That’s BT Daily. Join us next time.