The Oppressor

"Like a swallow, like a crane, so I twitter; I moan like a dove; My eyes look wistfully to the heights; O Lord, I am oppressed, be my security.  Isaiah 38:14.....Definition of Insecure - "Not secure; not safe; not confident of security."

 

Feelings and thoughts of personal insecurity may be one of the deepest woundings in the Body of Christ, let alone in the world. Despite our bold proclamations of our own abilities, or even our supposed trust in His, it doesn't seem to take a lot for most of us to be overwhelmed into a place of despair, fear, and defeat. We try so many ways and means of building up our own personal security. Bank accounts, annuities, retirement funds, and on and on. And we don't just leave it at the material and financial realm. Perhaps even more do we look for security in our relationships. Husbands and wives. Parents and children. As long as these things and people are there, able to be touched, seen, and counted, we can have a very real sense of security, but it's fleeting. Even when we have succeeded in having all of that, behind it all is a lurking fear that in a moment, all of it could be lost. Investments fail. Jobs are lost. People leave us. We're guaranteed permanence with none of them. We're told that the greatest fear of the truly wealthy is that they'll lose their wealth. In whatever measure we may use to count and define "riches," hovering about it all is that same fear. Somehow, all of it can be lost. This can carry over into every aspect of life, and yes, ministry. A brother who had a long ministry as a successful pastor here in Northern Virginia told me that through it all was the fear and the pressure of keeping and adding onto that success. It too could all be lost in a moment. In our hearts, we know that's true, and many of us have experienced if first-hand. The result for all of us is to live with a gnawing insecurity from within. We're not secure. We're not safe. We're not confident......so long as we go on living in a misguided and harmful idea of where and in who our security truly lies. As long as we do that, we're guaranteed a lifetime of abuse at the hands of the Oppressor.

 

Here's double-edged truth: We're master craftsmen of idols. We can construct them for every aspect of life, both animate and in-animate. In them we place our hope and our security. All of them, sooner or later will fail us, and even in the midst of our having them, the Oppressor of our soul will torment us with fear over losing any of them. Throughout their history, the Father told Israel that this would be so. They wouldn't listen. Will we? 

 

Yet there is another even deeper truth to be known. Even if we have discarded every false idol in our lives, and we look to God alone as our Source for all things, we will not be free of the tactics of the Oppressor. Fear will be his biggest weapon used against us. Fear that somehow, the Father will fail us, let us down, not keep His promise, be found wanting. Isaiah knew this, experienced this. His response to the oppression was to throw Himself onto and into God. In the words of today, he "doubled down" in His trust and confidence in Him. You and I may dedicate our lives completely to Him, and look to Him, but we can be sure that the Oppressor will attack our dedication and trust. In that place we, like Isaiah, must cry out, "Lord, we are oppressed. Be (again and anew) our Security." And He will be, again and anew, every time.

In the faith journey, the Oppressor will not be a stranger to us. He visited Christ in the desert, and His Word tells us that he came back to Him again "at an opportune time." The enemy knows his opportune times. It is for us to know our all sufficient and completely trustworthy God in those times. Do we? Do you? The Oppressor; he will be an ongoing presence on this side of eternity. He is also a defeated one. The One who is Security Himself guarantees it. By His Blood and His Life He does so. He honors His guarantee. Will we?

Blessings,
Pastor O

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