Protection in a Foreign Country

Michael Wilcock

READ : Psalm 119:17-24

A stranger on earth. (v. 19 NIV)

Pity the stranger in a strange land! A friend of mine went on a scary train journey in rural Japan, with little understanding of the language, no one to translate, and no clue as to whether the characters on the station signboard were the name of the place where he had to get off.

The psalmist is “a stranger on earth.” He lives, as so many of us do, among “arrogant” people who care nothing for the words of God. They just don’t talk his language. Worse, some of them are “rulers,” that is, people in positions of authority, who work on principles very different from the law of God. No wonder the psalmist doesn’t feel at home.

But let’s be encouraged. However powerful they seem, those who “stray from God’s commands” are not the owners of this world. God is. For there is another sense in which we are strangers here. The world does not belong to us, any more than it belongs to the powers of ungodliness. We are expatriates, living here temporarily, on our way to our heavenly home. God’s laws will rule unchallenged in the next world; but even in this one we pilgrims can acquaint ourselves with them and enjoy their protection.


O God of pilgrims and strangers, help me to follow your way as I journey towards home.