So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work, they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.
These verses at the very beginning of the book of Exodus paint a clear picture of oppression of slavery. Verse eight in Exodus chapter one says, a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph and he was very much against the people of Israel, the people of Jacob Joseph’s father. And as a result, he enslaved them and treated them, I mean, it says multiple times in this chapter, even in the verses, we just read, ruthlessly made them work as slaves. And as I read these verses, I think about the reality of oppression and even slavery in the world today.
God cares deeply about those who are hurting and are oppressed.
And I think about what God says over and over and over again in his word over a hundred different times, the Bible emphasizes how God works for the oppressed. Psalm 9:9, the Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed. Psalm 10:18, the Lord does justice for the fatherless and the oppressed. Psalm 103:6, the Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed, which is why God says to his people in Isaiah 1:17, learn to do good seek justice, correct oppression. This is the good news of the Bible for all who are oppressed. The Lord is a stronghold for you. The Lord does justice for you. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. And he calls his people to do good, seek justice and correct oppression. So as we pray, according to Exodus chapter one, I just want to bring this text into our lives.
This is even in my own personal time with the Lord, I have a prayer guide, so to speak that I use every week and just praying for different things on different days during the week. And one of the days, just try to spend concentrated time praying for the oppressed and specifically for persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. So our family in faith around the world who is oppressed because of their faith. So I want to lead us to pray accordingly.
God, we praise you as the Lord who is the stronghold for the oppressed. As the Lord does justice for the fatherless and the oppressed. As the Lord who works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. We praise you for your love, your care, your provision, even Lord Jesus for you and all of your power. Instead of using that power to oppress your creation, your people, you have come to serve, to humble yourself, even to the point of death on a cross for our sins. You have come to lift up those who are oppressed. So we praise you for your love for your humility. Lord Jesus and we pray that you would help us as your people, as followers of Jesus, to be a reflection of your character, Jesus, to do good, to seek justice, to correct oppression.
God, we pray right now for all who are oppressed in different ways. According to your word, around us, around the world in so many different ways, so many stories start coming to our mind. God, we pray for those who are enslaved. God, we pray for those who are being trafficked. God, we pray that you would bring an end to their oppression, to their slavery. God, we pray that you would bring justice to them. God, we pray that you would bring justice to those who are trafficking them to the oppressors. God, we pray in this fallen evil, sinful world we long for an end to oppression. We long for a new heaven and a new earth where there will be no more oppression, slavery, ruthless treatment of other people. God, we long for that and we pray that until that day you would help us. And the words you spoke to your people and Isaiah to do good and to seek justice and to correct oppression and to proclaim the gospel as we do.
God along those lines, we pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are oppressed and persecuted, who are being enslaved right now in places like North Korea, who are being enslaved in different countries in the world where they are put into imprisonment or labor camps because of their faith in you. God, we pray for others who were put into imprisonment and labor camps for other reasons. God, we pray for an end to oppression. We pray you’d help us to work on behalf of those who are oppressed in all kinds of different ways according to your word, help us to be faithful, to reflect your character. To pray continually for the oppressed and to work on their behalf. And God we praise you for what you would do in the Book of Exodus, in response to the suppression, to free your people. God, all glory belongs to your name as the one who works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.