From Oppression to Revelation (Part 2 of 3)

Multiple generations of Africans have been abused by colonialism and since have been further oppressed by established systems of political and economic governance that brands much of the population inferior. Teachings brought about by early missionaries were bogged down in religion and an awaiting salvation. However, an active reading of Exodus reveals that God is interested and wanting to intercede for oppressed people today. Reading Exodus should stir up communities to live alternative lives, liberated, seeking and following God.

Christians with a living faith reading Exodus will call out for salvation. A reading of Scripture brings together Gods past acts with what He wants to do currently. Revelation will come to communities that read Gods word actively, rising up leaders within local communities. These leaders will acknowledge acts of injustice and oppression in their communities, preaching a present and active God.

We must overcome the distance we place between Scripture and ourselves. Reading Exodus with a living faith causes believers to seek deliverance from political and economic depression. God teaches us to be nonconforming to our carnal world and theodicies recognizing the supreme power and activity of God in our lives. In the past missionaries in Africa have taught Africans that at best salvation for them meant only to be saved in the future, and at worst that they were inferior to whites and that their salvation was dependent upon laws of religion ordained by colonial churches. Christians can “attempt to solve the problem of the interrelationship between the proclamation and education of faith, [with] projects that will permit local communities to move from servitude to freedom (Ela, 1986).”

Proper interpretations of Exodus should reveal a living active relationship by God with all His people. This relationship should free Christians from servitude. This hermeneutic is commonplace throughout Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments, displaying how God is partial and intercedes for the oppressed so they can freely worship Him.

A liberated current salvation should rise up leaders acting as prophets in communities speaking of Gods liberating power. Revealing the promises of God for His people to our communities should deliver us from oppression and answer the callings God has on our lives. For Africans, reading Exodus as a call to freedom is all too obvious to connect with the past and enduring struggles they face today.

Communities in Africa are aware of an active God and live spiritual lives depending on current day movements of His power. Because of such a spiritual consciousness, who is to say that prophets raised up within these communities do not proclaim their word as Gods Word instituting their own rules and regulations on communities or possibly calling people to rise up in violent movements?

I strongly agree with the African perspective of the author that through encouraging communities to be informed and expectant of Gods work through His people is a powerful approach to reading the Exodus story. This story speaks directly to oppressed communities. Being consciously aware of oppression and knowing how God calls us to act is not a matter of is He calling us, but a matter of how is He calling us to act. Presenting a personal and active God is the same I have relationship with.


Ela, Jean-Marc. “An African Reading of Exodus.” In African Cry, 244-54. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1986.

One thought on “From Oppression to Revelation (Part 2 of 3)

  1. Although there was a lot of chest pounding and spear throwing in the OT by Gods choosen people it seems to me that violent overthrow and uprising was not part of what the Bible calls for. The escape from Egypt was non violent and the majority of the altercations in the OT are, for the most part territorial.

    Post OT the spread of Christianity to Rome, Turkey, Northern Africa and the Middle East was marked by Christians meeting in small groups and simply trying to spread the word that Jesus was King which of course caused insecurity in polotical leaders due to their lack of understanding.

    Although the spread of Christianity throughout Europe under Constentine and the centuries that followed had many low moments I don’t believe that one could term what evolved a violent overthrow.

    On a personal basis, I firmly believe that one should stand up against oppression however am not sure that violent overthrow was part of what Jesus would want. I think that the Martin Luther King model of change is more in line with Jesus and the NT.

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