Illustration results for oppression
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Across Nicaragua, graffiti plastered houses, walls, and public buildings. The most prevalent campaign slogan everywhere was: “Daniel 5:25.” Intended to be a simple instruction on how to vote, it literally meant, “Vote for Daniel Ortega, the 5th position on the ballot, on the 25th day of September.”
But Christians in Nicaragua saw a hidden meaning that only God, the author of humor, could orchestrate. For Daniel 5:25 in the Bible reads, “God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.: Christians wondered if Daniel Ortega had unwittingly proclaimed the prophecy against his own rule. The church waited, hoping the prophecy would bring an end, not only to the economic and social destruction of Mr. Ortega’s communist reign, but also an end to the oppression of the church.
That was 1989. Under the communist Sandanistas, Nicaragua, once the bread basket of Central America and a net exporter of food, had become a food importer and had dropped to an economic level second only to that of Haiti in this hemisphere. It was a nation where communist spies were sent into churches to seek out anti-Sandinistas, a nation nearly devoid of foreign missionaries, and a country where the celebration of Christmas and Easter was outlawed by the communist government. Yet, for the first time in two generations there was guarded hope in the humid tropical air because Nicaragua had scheduled its first free election.
Nicaraguans faced their second free national elections Oct. 20. International observers were there again to see that the elections went forward as planned, but in the run-up to the elections, an air of uncertainty—with incumbent President Violeta Chamorro stepping down and Mr. Ortega’s entry into the race—remained.
Even the most pessimistic political soothsayer did not predict the extent of Mr. Ortega’s 1989 loss. He received less than 20 percent of the popular vote, a thunderous victory for Mrs. Chamorro and the 14-party UNO coalition.
Greg Dabel in Managua, World, October 27, 1996, Vol. 11, No. 23, pp. 20-21
Theologians tell a story to illustrate how Christ?s triumph presently benefits our lives:
Imagine a city under siege. The enemy that surrounds the city will not let anyone or anything leave. Supplies are running low, and the citizens are fearful. But in the dark of the night, a spy sneaks through the enemy lines. He has rushed to the city to tell the people that in another place the main enemy force has been defeated; the leaders have already surrendered. The people do not need to be afraid. It is only a matter of time until the besieging troops receive the news and lay down their weapons.
Similarly, we may seem now to be surrounded by the forces of evil?disease, injustice, oppression, death. But the enemy has actually been defeated at Calvary. Things are not the way they seem to be. It is only a matter of time until it becomes clear to all that the battle is really over.
Richard J. Mouw, Uncommon Decency, pp. 149-150.
In the 1950s a psychologist, Stanton Samenow, and a psychiatrist, Samuel Yochelson, sharing the conventional wisdom that crime is caused by environment, set out to prove their point. They began a 17-year study involving thousands of hours of clinical testing of 250 inmates here in the District of Columbia.
To their astonishment, they discovered that the cause of crime cannot be traced to environment, poverty, or oppression. Instead, crime is the result of individuals making, as they put it, wrong moral choices. In their 1977 work The Criminal Personality, they concluded that the answer to crime is a “conversion of the wrong-doer to a more responsible lifestyle.”
In 1987, Harvard professors James Q. Wilson and Richard J. Herrnstein came to similar conclusions in their book Crime and Human Nature. They determined that the cause of crime is a lack of proper moral training among young people during the morally formative years, particularly ages one to six.
Christianity Today, August 16, 1993, p. 30
When it comes to life’s circumstances and what goes on each day, how do you respond with gratitude, grit, or grouch? And is your response determined by your circumstance or by your character?
I have come up with a quiz to assess your response. Let’s start with question 1: You are in the 10 item, cash only line at Vons with your 2 cans of green beans and 1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup with a fresh $20 bill from your ATM machine in your hand. The person in front of you has 15 items and a checkbook in their back pocket. How do you respond?
A. Gratitude for the Green Bean Bake your family will enjoy.
B. Grit your teeth and wonder if the guy ahead of you failed math or reading.
C. Yell at the cashier, “Checkout Line Violation -- 15 items! 15 items!”
Question 2: You receive a letter from the IRS, stating you will soon be receiving a $1,000 refund on your tax return, how do you respond?
A. Gratitude to live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.
B. Grit your teeth about the other $10,000 you paid in taxes last year.
C. Rip the letter to shreds while demanding more.
Question 3: You receive a letter from the IRS, stating you will be audited. How do you respond?
A. Gratitude to live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.
B. Clench the phone and call your accountant.
C. Write the Union Tribune an angry letter about tax oppression in the USA.
Question 4: You are driving your daughter to school, and as you drop her off, the car in front of you decides to just park there, trapping you in the school parking lot. How do you respond?
A. You look out the window and give thanks for this time to stop and smell the roses and car fumes.
B. Grab the steering wheel tighter as steam comes out of your ears.
C. Honk your horn continuously until you sound out “move your car” in Morse code.
Question 5: You are watching your football team play on Sunday, and they win by a touchdown in a close game. How do you respond?
A. Stand up and start singing “San Diego Super Chargers”!
B. Wring your hands over the game next week.
C. Call a sports radio stat...
When I was preparing this sermon I had just seen again the film ’Gandhi’ and was moved by the account of that great Indian leader - how he overcame injustice and oppression, not by force, but by non-violent resistance. He said to his followers, ’so long as we’re peaceful, the initiative is ours, we are in control’. But oh, what suffering he and his followers endured before freedom was finally won. This is a picture of the kingdom that Jesus proclaimed. It would come through suffering and servanthood - values that the wisdom of this world scorns - but the kingdom of God finally will come in power. The book of the Revelation leaves no doubt about that.
Stedman says re:Ecclesiastes -
There is no other book like it, because it is the only book in the Bible that reflects a human, rather than divine, point of view. This book is filled with error. And yet it is wholly inspired. This may confuse people, because many feel that inspiration is a guarantee of truth. This is not necessarily so. Inspiration merely guarantees accuracy from a particular point of view; if it is God’s point of view.
Theologians tell a story to illustrate how Christ’s triumph presently benefits our lives: Imagine a city under siege. The enemy that surrounds they city will not let anyone or anything leave. Supplies are running low, and the citizens are fearful. But in the dark of the night, a spy sneaks through the enemy lines. He has rushed to the city to tell the people that in another place the main enemy force has been defeated; the leaders have already surrendered. The people do not need to be afraid. It is only a matter of time until the besieging troops receive the news and lay down their weapons. Similarly, we may seem now to be surrounded by the forces of evil—disease, injustice, oppression, death. But the enemy has actually been defeated at Calvary. Things are not the way they seem to be. It is only a matter of time until it becomes clear to all that the battle is really over.
Uncommon Decency, Richard J. Mouw, pp. 149-150
Once upon a time there was a good and kind king who had a great kingdom with many cities. In one distant city, some people took advantage of the freedom the king gave them and started doing evil. They profited by their evil and began to fear that the king would interfere and throw them in jail. Eventually these rebels seethed with hatred for the king. They convinced the city that everyone would be better off without the king, and the city declared its independence from the kingdom.
But soon, with everyone doing whatever they wanted, disorder reigned in the city. There was violence, hatred, lying, oppression, murder, rape, slaver and fear. The king thought: “What should I do? If I take my army and conquer the city by force, the people will fight against me, and I’ll have to kill so many of them, and the rest will only submit through fear or intimidation, which will make them hate me and all I stand for weven more. How does that help them – to be either dead or imprisoned or secretly seething with rage? But if I leave them alone, they’ll destroy each other, and it breaks my heart to think of the pain they’re causing and experiencing.”
So the king did something very surprising. He took off his robes and dressed in the rags of a homeless wanderer. Incognito, he entered the city and began living in a vacant lot near a garbage dump. He took up a trade – fixing broken pottery and furniture. Whenever people came to him, his kindness and goodness and fairness and respect were so striking that they would linger just to be in his presence. They would tell him their fears and questions, and ask his advice. He told them that the rebels had fooled them, that the true king had a better way to live, which exemplified and taught. One by one, then two by two, and then by the hundreds, people began to have confidence in him and live in his way....
Three phrases describing the oppression by foreigners that the Israelites felt, are given one after the other: “the yoke of burden”, “the staff of his shoulder” and “the rod of his oppressor”. The three phrases are piled on top of each other to show a picture of terrible oppression. In those days, foreign domination was not like it always is today. For example, when the Americans invaded Iraq, they didn’t make the Iraqis their slaves. The oppression in our passage was probably more like what we had in World War II. When Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia and Poland, the people felt dominated by the Germans. In the part of the world where I come from, during World War II, the Japanese would forcibly enlist people from the Asian countries they had overpowered, and force them into virtual slavery. Stories are still coming out now of terrible atrocities as people were forced to build railways and roads in terrible conditions, and women were forced into prostitution for the Japanese soldiers. This is the sort of oppression we see here. It is heavy. It is hard. It is oppressive. Isaiah builds up these images to paint a dreadful picture of tyranny. And then all of a sudden, he tells us that God has broken that oppression! The verb form used in the Hebrew is one of intensity – so it means more than just broken – but shattered! God has shattered this oppression. This light has shattered the burdens of oppression!
From The Power of One Another by Bob Russell, pg. 20- Christians in Romania relate that during the government oppression they had endured for years, Bibles were very scarce. Christian would tear pages out of the Bible, pass them around, and hide them so that they could have them to read. Recently, their church in Romania began a building program and, while digging some footers, discovered a metal container that had been buried in 1937. It had dozens of little blue Bibles in it and a note that said, “We know that in the near future we will no longer be allowed to worship God freely. It is our prayer that you will find these Bibles at a time when our people most need the Word of God.” It’s been said that a man stands tall who plants a tree in whose shade he never intends to sit. Those Romanians in 1937 went to some expense and risk to help save the souls of a generation of total strangers.