The Sad Reality of Oppression (Ecclesiastes 4:1-3)

As Americans, we would like to believe that it is exceedingly unlikely we could ever face oppression that is ignored by our justice system. Even though certain powerful political people in our country seem to have a Teflon nature about being charged with criminal behavior, overall, our system works generally well.

But this is not the way things are in many countries and corners of the earth. Whereas I support the concept of strong borders, the stories of many who seek to cross into Texas, Arizona, New Mexico or California are often compelling on an individual level. Injustice and oppression is absolutely out of control in their native lands. Hazarding many hundreds of miles of dangerous travel and a perilous border crossing is worth the risk, often seen as the only way to have any chance at a life that is not constantly in peril.

One of my sons just returned today (as I write this) from a worldwide trip that included multiple stops in China and the Philippines. He told stories of shock at seeing the desperate condition of impoverished children in these lands. Cry as they may, there is no person to hear them or bring any relief to their plight.

In many lands around the globe where oppression is rampant, the authorities live opulent lives. They care nothing about the condition of the masses of the people. It was the same in the world of antiquity where Solomon writes …

Ecclesiastes 4:1 – Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—and they have no comforter.

2 And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive.

3 But better than both is the one who has never been born, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun.

The situation is so bad in lands of oppression that it really could be said that to escape the conditions through death would be a positive event, or better yet to have never been born to experience it.

Upon seeing this sort of injustice, one can choose to be angry at God that he does not fix it all and demonstrate right now that he is good. Or one can choose to run to God as the only true justice that is known and promised for eternity.

Of course, God is doing the latter; he is the true and final judge where truth and righteousness will prevail. And we look forward to that greater day. And in the intervening time, as God gives us opportunity, we may be used as his instruments to bring relief and assistance to some in greatest need. Until the Lord comes again, it will never be fully eradicated. But even in coming months, we will hear of some new ways to partner with some of our minority church friends to address some issues of oppression and injustice in our own community. Let us see how God may use us in a bigger way.

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