Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com
Isaiah 16:3-5 (NIV)
3 “Make up your mind,” Moab says. “Render a decision. Make your shadow like night— at high noon. Hide the fugitives,
do not betray the refugees. 4 Let the Moabite fugitives stay with you; be their shelter from the destroyer.” The oppressor will come to an end, and destruction will cease; the aggressor will vanish from the land. 5 In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it— one from the house of David— one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness.
Being generous and caring to sojourners was something God expected of the people of Israel. It goes back to their time wandering in the wilderness during the time of the Exodus. The Israelites were sojourners fleeing slavery in Egypt and though they were under God’s protection they felt extremely vulnerable as they passed through the lands inhabited by other people. Trusting in God during that time was part of their faith journey, but also something God wanted them to remember so that they would be able to empathize with the refugees that would inevitably sojourn through their land one day. It is the same for us as Christians today. We can ask ourselves, “What has God led me through”? Then ask: “How can I use my trials, difficult times, and life experiences to shelter, shade, and encourage others”? Now use these answers to impact the world around you. Have you ever wanted to get to know a person of a different generation? Try to find common ground. If you are older try to ask about school and use your experience at least as a starting point. If you are younger ask about life situations that you are interested in, like being married. Maybe you are dating someone and you would love some extra perspective on what it means to spend the rest of your life with someone in that way. The coming of Jesus to bring the fullness of the Kingdom of God points out that we all walk together. While Jesus is our strength, our shield and our shelter from the heat of the noon-day sun, we can be that for others and give others a better glimpse of that Kingdom that will, one day, reign completely and forever. Let us pray: Heavenly Father, we offer you praise today for the times in our lives that you have strengthened us and sheltered us during this journey of life. Please help us to recognize how you have blessed us so that we might strengthen, shelter and encourage others along this journey. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.