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Welcoming the Foreigner

Today's Devotional

[God] defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner. Deuteronomy 10:18

As thousands of Ukrainian women and children arrived at Berlin’s railway station fleeing war, they were met with a surprise—German families holding handmade signs offering refuge in their homes. “Can host two people!” one sign read. “Big room [available],” read another. Asked why she offered such hospitality to strangers, one woman said her mother had needed refuge while fleeing the Nazis, and she wanted to help others in such need.

In Deuteronomy, God calls the Israelites to care for those far from their homelands. Why? Because He’s the defender of the fatherless, the widow, and the foreigner (10:18), and because the Israelites knew what such vulnerability felt like: “for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt” (v. 19). Empathy was to motivate their care.

But there’s a flip side to this too. When the widow at Zarephath welcomed the foreigner Elijah into her home, she was the one blessed (1 Kings 17:9–24), just as Abraham was blessed by his three foreign visitors (Genesis 18:1–15). God often uses hospitality to bless the host, not just the guest.

Welcoming strangers into your home is hard, but those German families may be the real beneficiaries. As we too respond to the vulnerable with God’s empathy, we may be surprised at the gifts He gives us through them.

Why do you think God cares so much for widows, orphans, and refugees? How could you “welcome” a vulnerable foreigner this week?

Dear God, give me a heart as big as Yours for the widow, the fatherless, and the vulnerable.


Deuteronomy is the final book in the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament known as the Torah. These books were written by Moses, except for the final section of Deuteronomy (34:5–11), which was written by an unnamed author. In Deuteronomy, Moses gives three speeches to the new generation of Israelites preparing to enter the promised land. They’re now in the plains of Moab (on the western boundary of Canaan) at the end of forty years in the wilderness. He reminds them of what God has done, reviewing the wonders He performed to liberate them from slavery and restating His laws and covenant given to them on Mount Sinai. The people are encouraged to rededicate their lives to Him. Today’s text comes from the second speech (4:44–11:32), which includes covenant requirements on the people’s part. Why should they obey? The mighty “God of gods and Lord of lords” loves them (10:17).

By |2023-09-13T02:33:09-04:00September 13th, 2023|
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