Missiology Through Scripture – Deuteronomy 10:19

“Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” – Deuteronomy 10:19

Israel, this was a reference to the time they wandered in the wilderness. They were called to show compassion and empathy for those who currently occupied a state which they once employed. How indeed could a people who were once homeless and destitute now reject those who are presently homeless and destitute. C.D. Pohl said, “Israel’s sojourner status was a reminder of their dependence on God and a basis for gratitude and obedience. This status also supplied the experiential foundation from which the Israelites could recognize and respond to the needs of aliens and powerless people in their midst.”[1] Israel was instructed to show a fraction of the compassion which was shown to them.

This passage is an unmistakable reference to the physical and emotional toils of a poor nomad or traveler. Certainly, Christians today are also called to similarly share God’s mercy and justice with foreigners and travelers. There is another poignant way of looking at this passage. The sojourner should not only be thought of as the person wanking the land, but also the person who is aimlessly wandering through life void of a true grasp of the salvation found in Christ.

When Christians observe the sad, aimless, spiritual exploration which exists in our pluralistic and secular world, we should show compassion on those spiritual sojourners. We should never forget, before Christ called us to himself we too wandered aimlessly, experimenting with worldly answers to eternal questions. As Christ showed mercy on us when we were spiritual travelers, we too share that mercy with those walking the same paths we once navigated.

It is the spiritual nomad we are to seek and lovingly share with him the bread of life and water which eternally refreshes. Disciples of Christ are to actively pursue the explorers and compassionately direct them to that which they truly seek.


[1] C. D. Pohl, “Hospitality,” ed. T. Desmond Alexander and Brian S. Rosner, New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 562.