One time my dad took me fishing when I was a little boy. We were at some unfamiliar lake shore park in Western New York. I left his side for a little while, probably to go find the restroom. When I was walking back, I became disoriented and wasn’t sure which way to go. All of the sudden a strange man appeared in the distance calling for me to come to him. I immediately recognized that this was a Red Alert Code “S.D.” (Stranger Danger!) I dutifully followed my stranger training and hid from his view. When the coast was clear, I continued the search for my father. I finally found him and told him all about the scary stranger that was trying to get me, but for some reason, he didn’t say much. I just stared at my dad for a while… wondering. It seemed that the longer I started at him, the more he resembled the stranger!
Maybe you are like me and the word “stranger” carries with it some strongly negative feelings. But it turns out that in the Bible the word “stranger” is almost always used in a positive sense. In the Old Testament, the word refers to those that have left behind their own lands, countries, and people to join themselves with God’s people. They have left their old life to follow the one true Lord. In the New Testament, it refers to those that have become citizens of the kingdom of heaven and, like Abraham, consider themselves to be just temporary residents in this world.
The Lord expresses his concern that these kinds of strangers be welcomed with open arms –
Leviticus 19:34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Praise God, when we turn away from this world to follow Jesus Christ, He washes us clean by His shed blood – and then welcomes us into His family with open arms! We are strangers to Him no longer. We are able to come into fellowship with Him and worship Him with all of our hearts. How good He is!