Pentecost At the Border: A Christian’s Response to the Border Crisis
“An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD forever, because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. Nevertheless the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you. You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever. You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptians because you were an alien in his land. The children of the third generation born to them may enter into the assembly of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 23:4-8).
BECAUSE THEY DID NOT MEET YOU WITH BREAD AND WATER ON THE ROAD WHEN YOU CAME OUT OF EGYPT! Oh the depth and richness of these words ring loud in the very core of my heart and my soul. The beauty, the wonder, the power surrounding these words has greatly stirred me—and not just stirred me but also shaken me to my core. I cannot escape the tremendous truth that surrounds the nations of Moab and Ammon—two nations who were the descendants of Lot, nephew of Abraham. That which has laid hold of and gripped my soul within this passage is how Moab and Ammon were excluded from the assembly of the LORD for one very specific reason. As you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find that no Moabite nor Ammonite was permitted to enter the assembly of the LORD—even unto the tenth generation—because “they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt.” We dare not and must not miss the incredibly significance of what is found here for the LORD was indeed holding these two nations accountable for their treatment of this people who had just come out of slavery. Here was this people who had come out of slavery, bondage and oppression which they had endured for four-hundred years and yet when they emerged from such a place there were those who deliberately and intentionally chose NOT TO meet them with bread and water.
I sit here today greatly burdened by what we find here—particularly in light of what is happening within our nation. In recent months—and quite honestly over the past two plus years—we have seen what major media outlets has referred to as a crisis at the border. Across the political spectrum there has been a plethora and myriad of shame and blame as members on both sides of the government are blaming the other for what is happening within our country. During this time there was an outcry from many that the President of the United States and the Vice President of the United States should go down to the border—not only to show their face but also provide a tangible solution for what many are referring to as a crisis of epic proportions. As if this weren’t enough many of the migrants who crossed over our border—regardless of whether they crossed over legally or illegally—have been shipped to other parts of the country. The governor of Texas—Greg Abbott—and the governor of Florida—Ron DeSantis—have both taken migrants who have come to our country and flown or bussed them to other parts of the country. I boldly and emphatically denounce this and declare that it is not right nor is it that which Christ would do for no human being should be used as a political prop or to engage oneself in a political statement.
The words which I read in this passage of Scripture place a tremendous weight and burden upon my heart and spirit for they call and draw my attention to the tremendous burden that surrounds the countless individuals who have crossed over our border and into our nation. Throughout this whole process there have been countless individuals—even Christians in our churches—who have raised an outcry against these migrants who are entering into our country. If there is one thing that truly alarms me it’s that very few are willing to demonstrate and show compassion, graciousness, mercy and even love toward such individuals. There are very few among us who would dare seek to learn their names and learn their stories and what brought them to the soil of our country. It matters not whether they came from Cuba, or Guatemala, or Panama, or Mexico, or El Salvador or any other country. America has been a blessed nation for centuries and was founded on the principles outlined in Scripture. America has experienced the blessing(s) they have throughout the years because it was a country founded upon and dedicated unto the one true and living God. America was founded by the principles of Scripture and many of our founding fathers were Bible-believing, praying, faithful men before the LORD their God. Regardless of what the condition of our nation is right now with the great atrocities and evils that are present within it America is indeed in a prominent place of power and influence among the nations.
I recently came across a movie on Amazon Prime called Jesus in Athens and it—together with this passage—served as the catalyst for what I am writing and presenting to you. This particular movie outlines and describes the refugee crisis that unfolded when ISIS wreaked havoc and terror in Syria and Iraq. The movie outlines how countless families and individuals fled their country because of the reign of terror of ISIS which was plaguing their countries. Not to mention the unspeakable horrors Assad was unleashing against the Syrian people as well. All of this produced a refugee crisis of epic proportions as men, women and children were forced to flee from their homes, their countries, their land, their possessions, and everything they knew. Unsure of where they would go or what trouble would befall them along the way many came upon the shores of Greece. The entire premise of this movie is how many of these refugees and migrants were met—not with hostility and force but with compassion, with mercy, with grace and with the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians in Athens would offer them food, clothing, shelter, education, and most importantly—the good news of the Gospel. Countless men and women who were previously Islamic in their faith were turning to Christ and were becoming believers and were being baptized.
Now you might be wondering how or what any of this has to do with what is taking place within our country and particularly at our border. Over recent months there have been countless cries for our border to be closed and for these migrants to be cast out of our country and completely disregarded as though they have no worth or value. Even men and women within our churches are crying for our border to be closed and for these men and women to be cast back into the sea of nations and sea of people as though they have no place within our nation. In short America is and has been guilty of the very same thing that Moab and Ammon were guilty of—not meeting those in need with bread and water. America has turned their backs on these individuals—regardless of their names and their stories—and chose to close their hand of compassion and provision against them. In short America has much blood on her hand for the countless migrants they have flagrantly and blatantly turned their backs on in their hour of need.
In the Old Testament we learn that the nation and people of Israel were God’s special people and His precious possession. We discover that Israel and Jerusalem had a special place within the heart of God as they were the people of the covenant, the promises, the Law, the offerings, the sacrifices, the Temple and the like. What most people don’t recognize or understand is that there was another people within this people who held a special place within the heart of the living God. If you read the Old Testament you will find that God had another people who were special to Him—a people who His eye carefully watched over and who He carefully looked after. Not only this but there was another people for whom God was and would be avenger should anyone despise them or even raise themselves up against them. This people who were special in the sight and heart of God were the poor, the orphan, the widow and the stranger. You cannot read the Law or the prophets without being confronted with the tremendous truth that God cared for and looked after this people within a people. What’s more is God gave specific commands to His people not to despise but to instead care for and provide for these people. Consider the following words which are found within the first five books of the Bible:
“You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If you afflict them in any way, and they cry any all to me, I will surely hear their cry; and my wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless” (Exodus 21:21-24).
“Also you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 23:9).
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every trap of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:9-10).
“And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:33-34).
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and the strange: I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 23:22).
Each of these Scriptures points us to the tremendous truth that God loves, looks after, cares for and even avenges the poor, the widow, the orphan and the stranger within the borders of His people. What’s more is God gave Israel very specific commands to not mistreat them and to treat that stranger who was among them as though they were their own neighbor. This takes on a whole new meaning when you come to the tenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy. The heading for verses twelve thorough twenty-two in the Bible translation I’m using is “The Essence of the Law.” In essence the verses within this section would summarize and describe the whole Law which the LORD gave unto Moses that he might deliver it to the children of Israel. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words beginning with the twelfth verse of the tenth chapter:
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good? Indeed heaven and the highest heaven belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it. The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. For the LORD your God is God of gods and LORD of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen. Your fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now the LORD your God has made you as the stars of heaven in multitude” (Deuteronomy 10:12-22).
To help illustrate this all the more and to help you recognize and understand that it is not an isolated occurrence in Scripture I submit to you the following words which are found in the prophetic book of Micah, the New Testament epistle written by James, and even the words which are found in the fifty-first chapter of the poetic book of the Psalms:
“With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to. Love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:6-8).
“For you do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; you do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:16-17).
“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:21-27).
“My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the LORD of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, You sit here in a good place, and say to the poor man, You stand there, or Sit here at my footstool, have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen my beloved brethren: Has not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love HIM? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do not they blaspheme that noble name by which they are called? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law was transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not murder. Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphed over judgment” (James 2:1-13).
I fear that we as a nation—and even many within the church—are guilty of having blood on their hands because of their treatment of the stranger, the poor, the orphan and the widow among them. I fear there is a tremendous amount of blood upon our hands because we haven’t responded with grace, with compassion and with the love and mercy of God within our hearts. What’s even more tragic is there seem to be many goats within this nation and very few sheep. In order to understand this I find the need to call your attention to the words which our Lord spoke unto His disciples just prior to His suffering, sacrifice and death. Some of His final words to his disciples deal specifically with “the least of these” and how one’s treatment of “the least of these” has a direct impact on where we can and will spend eternity. I am convinced these words provide us with a scathing rebuke for our selfishness, self-centeredness and self-focus. Consider if you will—not only the words which our Lord spoke unto His disciples but also the scathing rebuke the ancient Hebrew prophet Isaiah gave to the people of the southern kingdom of Judah during his generation:
“When the Son of man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then he will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the. King will say to those on His right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothed you? Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and came to you? And the King will answer and say to them, Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me. Then He will also say to those on the left hand, Depart from me, you curse, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave me no food; I was thirsty and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take me in, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Then they also will answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you? Then He will answer them, saying, Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not to it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:31-46).
Hear the words of the prophet Isaiah in the first and opening chapter of the prophetic book which bears his name:
“Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah: To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me? Says the LORD. I haver had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats. When you come to appear before me, who has required this from your hand, to trample my courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of the assemblies—I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feats my soul hates; they are a trouble to me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 1:10-20).
Hear the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian congregation in the thirteenth chapter of the first epistle delivered unto them:
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though. I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:1-13).
What does all this mean for me? What does all this mean for you? What does this mean for the Christian within this nation? What does this mean for the churches of our nation? What does this mean for our elected officials within this nation? We dare not be those who would not meet the stranger, the fatherless, the widow and the poor with no bread and water. I feel very strongly within my heart and spirit that we need to be those who open wide our hands and open wide our bowels of compassion and meet the stranger, the poor, the widow and the orphan with bread and water. And not only bread and water but I would also strongly suggest meeting them with Bibles and with the gospel. I have a strong urgency within my spirit to meet these strangers at our border with the love and compassion of Christ. I feel burdened to meet them at the border and to have centers that are available to them for shelter, for food, for clothing—places where they can escape from whatever they’re running from and give them something to run to. That thing they’re running to is not a thing but rather a person—that person is Jesus Christ. I have a burden to open up faith-based shelters at our border that work with local, state and even our national government to minister to this group of people whom God clearly—according to Scripture—holds very dear to His heart. Let us wash and cleanse our hands from the blood that is upon them and let us be the hands and feet of Jesus in this dark hour. I have a dream of a ministry and outreach at the border with those who speak Spanish ministering to those who cross the border and offer the compassion and gospel of Christ together with food, shelter, clothing, and even education—both secular and Christian education. I see individuals who speak the languages of those who come from other countries spreading the gospel to them in their own native language. Much like the Day of Pentecost when all those from other nations and languages heard the gospel preached to them in their own language so men and women from other nations would hear the gospel at our border. Oh for Pentecost at the border. Oh for the tongues of the nations to be spoken and manifested at the border that the love of Christ might be shed abroad. Oh that revival would break out at the border as the nations of the earth come to experience the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh that churches would be established at the border.
It is the burden of the LORD within my heart to come to the border and by the grace of God and with help from those whose hearts and spirits He will burden with this vision to come to the border and minister the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the burden of my heart to have a facility there at the border that is an outreach center that does not turn men and women away Burt actually invites them in and embraces them. Forget using them as political props and sending them to other states. Let’s meet them with bread and water. Let’s meet them with Bibles and the love of Christ. Let’s meet them with the compassion and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s experience revival and Pentecost at our border. Who is with me? Who is going to join me? Who will rise up in this hour and believe for Pentecost at the border? Who will believe with me for revival at the border? Oh I leave you with the following words which are found in the second chapter of the Acts which not only describes the Day of Pentecost but also what I believe the living God wants to pour out at the border of this nation:
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in. One place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave the utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt, and the parts of Libya, adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God” (Acts 2:1-11).