“Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth.” God’s chosen people have encountered much suffering over the course of their history as they waited for the coming of the perfect King. As a nation, Israel spent her “youth” under the oppression of the Egyptian Empire. The Lord’s people confessed that though their enemies were very powerful, “they have not prevailed.”
All people have dignity from God as His image-bearers. No oppressor can ever take that away. Yet throughout history various people groups have lived under the yoke of abusive masters. Those who face inhuman treatment have too easily believed the lie that they were beyond the love of the Almighty. Israel was called to remember her Lord in song. The righteous King of all the earth would do what was right. He would “cut the cords of the wicked” who were trying to keep His people in chains forever.
One of the ways that wicked men and nations have expressed their hatred for God has been to persecute those who bear His Name. The Lord’s “Zion,” whether Old Testament Israel or the New Testament church, often suffered at the hands of evil people. God will one day be the Avenger against all who would harm His beloved bride.
The most outrageous enemy assault of all time came against the Lord’s Anointed, the promised Son of David. Jesus faced the taunts of those who despised Him. Yet the death of the Messiah on the cross was not all about hatred. We glory in the cross today because through this one atoning sacrifice we have experienced the infinite benefits of divine love. The blessings of the Lord have come upon God’s people, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Merciful God, Your people have faced much persecution for many generations. Surely those who hate You and who kill Your loved ones will face Your wrath. Our only hope is in Your Name. In Christ we have great blessing forever.