Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
We tend to think about refugees and other immigration issues through the lens of what we view on television, hear on the radio, or see shared on social media. However, if we regard God’s word as the authority for our lives, we also need to think about refugees as a biblical issue, because the Bible speaks repeatedly to God’s heart for refugees and other vulnerable foreigners. In fact, the Hebrew word for a “resident alien”—ger—appears 92 times just in the Old Testament. We’ll look at several of those passages this week, with some specific instructions from God to His people about how to treat “the stranger in the land.”
Even before we encounter any specific biblical injunctions concerning how to treat the refugee or other foreigners, we find that each human being—refugees certainly included—is made by God and in His image.
It is because each human being (regardless of ethnicity, gender, legal status, disability, or any other qualifier) is “fearfully and wonderfully made” by the Creator God that each has inherent dignity. We value and protect human life because we believe it is precious to God. That commitment to life compels us to do all we can to shelter and protect refugees, who in many cases have been forced to flee to preserve their lives.
That each person is made in the likeness of the Creator God also suggests that human beings have remarkable creative potential. Take Sergey Brin, for example: as a six-year-old, he and his family fled discrimination in the former Soviet and came as refugees to the United States. Using a God-giving creativity, he went on to co-found Google, which is now among the world’s most valuable companies, providing tools most of us use on a very regular basis and employing many people in the process.
As resilient and entrepreneurial people made in the image of their Creator, refugees have remarkable capacity to contribute, and we deny the image of God within them when we speak of them (or anyone) merely as a burden.
1. What has been the primary influence on how you think about refugees? Have you ever before considered what the Bible might say on this topic?
2. How does the teaching that refugees are made in the image of God inform how you think about and respond to them?