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Tribes and Tongues, pt. 2

Numbers 15:15-16
“You and the sojourner shall be alike before the LORD. One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you.”

Why do we find it so difficult to simply accept the fact that, in part, due to our obstinate pride, and, in part, due to our human nature, we think our own tribes and clans have the best music and literature and food, the most cutting edge tools and technologies, the wisest poets and theologians, the most interesting histories and mythologies, and the most delicious recipes and holidays known to man? If we could just begin a discussion on Numbers 15:16 by admitting our inherent self-importance to ourselves, we’d recognize the solution a whole lot sooner.

Words in Constitutions aren’t the cure for the condition. Neither are Civil Rights movements. Neither are open discussions and unitarian principles and DEI corporate initiatives. Because our problem isn’t racism or classism or xenophobia at all—like we said yesterday—but differentism. And the solution is only found in bearing and sharing the image of God together. If we are alike to our LORD, and alike in Him, then we share the greatest good in common! Everything else becomes secondary and tertiary in contrast. In Christ, it’s okay if we always struggle to adapt to diverse cultures. In Christ, it’s okay if we read the Bible in modern English or a variant of Portuguese or in some North African dialect. In Christ, it’s okay if we prefer curry or falafel or fajitas instead of turkey at Christmas dinner. God hasn’t called us to be connoisseurs of every other tribal tradition as a means of being unified in Him! Some of us are built for the cold and some for the heat. Some are wired for carpentry and some for poetry. Some find solace on Wall Street and others in the barnyard. But listen to what our LORD says here in Numbers 15:16: “You and the sojourner shall all be alike to me!”

If we in the church would just make it our ambition to obey God’s Word, to love Him with all our hearts and love our neighbors as ourselves, then all our divisive, self-aggrandizing “isms” would be starved of meaning, their power silenced by those three words that shut up death and hell forever: “It is finished!”