Seminary

From Oppression to Revelation (Part 1 of 3)

Exodus tells the story of a liberating God for an oppressed world. A Latin American perspective of oppression recognizes the unconsciousness an individual may have to oppression, because of their cultural context. During times of cryptic forms of oppression outside influence through individuals or events must occur to bring revelation. Moses, being Hebrew, but growing up Egyptian was an outsider to the Hebrew nation and in unique position to bring Gods revelation to the people of Israel. This revelation informed the Israelites of the magnitude of their suffering and Gods promise to deliver them from oppression.

The argument of God being the liberator for oppressed and impoverished people is presented in the narration of the Exodus story. This argument is built upon bringing together the enslaved Hebrews from Egypt, with Hebrew peasants and tribes from the outer areas of Canaan. Both Hebraic groups social consciousness necessitated divine intervention to recognize the suppression they were under.

Although God is characterized differently among cultures and throughout history, He “does seem to favor oppressed groups (Pixley and Boff. 1989).” Freedom to worship God is essential to live out the life God has intended for His followers. Being separated from this freedom under slavery, as in Egypt is a significant injustice seen by God. God, known as Yahweh to Moses is a liberating God, that brought not only the Hebrew nation together for the Exodus journey, but also attracted various others to join them in their deliverance from slavery in Egypt.

To further understand the Exodus story we have to look at other Hebraic communities throughout the Fertile Crescent. Numerous other Hebrews lived as peasants and small clans scattered around the valleys and mountainsides outside of Canaan. These rural Hebrews also looked for deliverance, but from the constant wars in their regions fought by ever-changing kings and kingdoms. Both of these Hebrew groups confessed Yahweh as the one true God and lived as outsiders to the civilizations they encountered.

Moses being Hebrew, but growing up as a prominent Egyptian was in a unique position to be cognizant of the plight the Israelites suffered. The Israelites being held under slavery for 300-400 years were possibly unconscious to their level of confinement. Therefore, Moses was able to bring Gods revelation to the Israelites convincing them to leave Egypt. Similarly, the Israelites during their exodus were able to bring revelation to the scattered Hebrews throughout Mesopotamia. These nomadic and agrarian Hebrews lived under constant instability. Larger metropolis peoples constantly engaging in wars disrupted the rural areas the Hebrews lived. When these rural Hebrews met with a recently delivered Hebrew nation from Egypt they united, freely worshiping Yahweh.

Despite the Hebrews oppression in their respective regions, were they still not free to worship in their houses or the rural areas they lived? At what level of inconvenience does God intervene? Why can’t God offer His love to the oppressors and the oppressed in equal revelation?

This Latin American perspective displays Gods heart for oppressed people and His will to allow us to worship Him freely, so others may see our love for Him and His creation blessing all nations. The authors approach was helpful and reminds me of John Dahlberg’s saying, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Therefore, nations led by man will inevitably fall due to a multitude of corruptible sin. However, nations liberated and led by God will encounter His absolute power and be loved absolutely, if we choose to love Him.

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