“Foreigners will work your fields and vineyards”.
Isa 61:5 NIV

Migration is a world-wide phenomenon in the early years of the twenty-first century. Floods of people from African countries sail across the Mediterranean Sea to seek a new life in Europe. People from the Far East are knocking on the door to get into Australia. Mexicans are pushing their way into the United States. Millions of people from Africa have worked their way into South Africa and what was once a trickle of emigration out of South Africa has now become a flood. Millions of inhabitants from the eastern European countries have moved into Britain, creating a political issue in the process. The presence of foreigners has become a reality in many countries.

The Israelites had been conquered by a foreign power, Babylon, and many of them had been carted off to Babylon. After only a few decades they were sent back and had to make their home all over again in their home country! They themselves had been slaves in Babylon as had their forefathers in Egypt. Part of the expectation of their “rosy future” was that people from other countries would come and be their slaves. God promised this to them. It seems that the rule was, “make others your slaves or you will be theirs”.

Pentecost became the historical departure point for the Christian apostles as they set their eyes on their mission field. The Holy Spirit filled and empowered them – to go and bring “foreigners” into Christ’s fold. In doing so the new Christians became brothers and sisters in Christ to the Israel-born believers. Since the first fruit of the Spirit was love this meant that people of all nationalities were bound together. They were “one in Christ”. Under the rule of Christ, the nationalism that excludes those who are “not us” is overruled by the compulsion of love.

How well are you doing in this regard?

Lord, help me to open my heart to people of other nationalities and races.


I pray today Lord, for all health workers struggling to save the lives of people infected with the Covid-19 virus. If they are feeling stretched and tired, give them strength to carry on. Help them not to relax their guard against getting themselves infected. Reward them with adequate rest and renewal. I ask it in Jesus Christ’s name. AMEN

I.B.R.A. Readings

Numbers 9:15–23