The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, tells the story of God’s migrants. Beginning with the Migration Mandate of Genesis 1:28 (“fill the earth”) and ending with the congregation of the redeemed of all nations, peoples, tongues and tribes in the City of God, we find in the pages of the Bible the chronicle of a new life foretold.
In fact, new life constitutes the very message of the Bible, and no one understands the concept better than those who seek a new home. The mission of God for humanity, which foreknew the fall into sin and provided God’s son for human redemption—always implied the movement of humanity into all the world. In Genesis, we see the explusion from Eden, the exile of Cain, Noah’s flight to safety, the pilgrimage of Abraham, the human trafficking that dragged Joseph off to Egypt, the Exodus, the Conquest, and the establisment of Israel as a nation. The Babylonian Captivity, the restoration to Judea and Galilee, and the diaspora of Israel to all nations will follow—and all of that only finishes out the Old Testament!
The New Testament presents The Greatest Immigrant, who crossed over from the right hand of God in Heaven to Earth in order to fulfill God’s Holy Mission on the Cross. In His final instructions to his followers, Jesus sent them into all the nations through the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). The Book of Acts continues with his stories of the Christian movement that was first called “The Way” (Acts 9:2) in honor of its leader, “The Way, the Truth, and the Life. The rest of the New Testament presents reports from the road to orient those who travel it with God to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Moving and migration do not represent an unexpected consequence of the plan of God. Rather, the constitute the very plan of God for humanity. Although the story of all people groups include periods of settlement, sooner or later, every family on earth will have episodes of displacement and uprooting. We cannot avoid it and we shouldn’t resent it. Moving helps families advance step by step toward the new life they have hoped for.
Immigrants ought to know that they have a special place in the heart of God. Reading the Bible through the lens of migration reveals that God has a loving plan for immigrants. This blog offers a journey of discovery for the immigrant—reflections that present a biblical lens to expose their privileged position in the plan of God.
Yes, a privileged position. God does not intend to give us a perfect, easy, and comfortable life on this side of Heaven. Our true citizenships awaits us in the world to come, and living as foreigners and pilgrims of God, no earthly home can ever satisfy us. Like Abraham, we await with confidence a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and constructed by God.
The following essays will conduct us through the Bible, shining light on biblical passages. They will focus on migration in all its categories, passage by passage, book by book, pointing out the place of migrants in the mission of God and in human history. Exiles, refugees, nomads, investors and international business people, victims of human trafficking, slaves, displaced farmers, explorers, adventureres, conquerors, diplomats, missionaries, tourists, travelers, sailors, soldiers—no category of migration that we see in the modern world stands outside of the vision of the Word of God.
For today’s immigrant, multiple millons of them in the world, this blog is offered as a source of encouragement and dignity. God goes with them. For those who love the immigrant, the message remains clear: to love immigrants exemplifies and models the love of God for them.
Read this blog as bread for the journey. You will find daily reflections on the Biblical text that will stimulate you to go deeper into the special love God has for the immigrant. In the end you will be able to say that you have seen the purposes of God for immigrants. Nourished by the Word of God, you will recognize that you also share the label of “immigrant” and you will celebrate it. With that food, you will return to the road with a brand new perspective on your life’s journey.