We are both Pharaoh and the Israelite; both the Oppressor and the Oppressed
This year I decided to re read the Bible and I’ve been sitting with the major and minor prophetic books recently- Ezra to Malachi. And the major theme that God is pointing out to me, especially in the prophetic books is grace and mercy. He’s trying to push the concept of grace and mercy into my heart. God won’t take us to the next season if we can’t learn to fix what is holding us back. How can we move to multiplication tables if we have not mastered the concept of addition and subtraction?
We are all incomplete. We are sometimes victims and we are sometimes oppressors. We are sometimes the Israelites in slavery in Egypt. And we are sometimes Pharaoh oppressing others with a bad attitude, mistreatment, selfishness, or hatred.
Just this year I had two friends that deeply hurt me. I was filled with so much anger and disappointment. But, through various situations, God forced me to address the issue of my anger towards them in my heart- so that I could move from anger to grace. In reading Jeremiah, Isaiah, Nahum, all Zechariah all I was seeing was God’s love and mercy on His people. He kept withholding his wrath of allowing the Babylonians, Assyrians, and other empires of attacking His children for quite a long time. Even up to the very hour of invasion, God was petitioning to His people, through the prophets to turn back to Him, so that they would not be destroyed. God is so gracious and merciful. And even when they did repent and turn back to Him, and He brought them back to Israel under Cyrus the Great, God- like the father of the prodigal son had open arms to forgive and love- and He gave them the resources to rebuild Jerusalem and their Jewish identity.
Tho we sin and turn away from God, when we return to Him with true hearts He is there to forgive us. And the Bible tells us that: "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”(Isaiah 43:25, NIV)
As I am shifting to the New Testament, the theme of mercy and grace continues, where Jesus, being his true maverick self, extended mercy and grace to the oppressed and His oppressors.
I finally reached a point where I was able to forgive those former friends that hurt me. Because there I was reading Matthew and Jesus was telling me that I, in my victim state have also been the oppressor, like Pharaoh. And because I have been both the victim and the oppressor in life- both the Israelite and Pharaoh- I am in need of a Savior in both of these states. That’s why at the first Passover, the divine symbolism of God instructing His children to paint the blood of a lamb on their doorposts, represents that his oppressed children and the oppressing Pharaoh were in need of a savior. The Egyptians didn’t get the memo about painting the blood above their doorposts and they lost all their firstborn- from animals to children. Both were in need of the saving grace of God. I, you, we in our victim and oppressed seasons are in of our Savior, Jesus.
We cannot expect to have the love and blessings of moving from season to season in life without understanding mercy and grace toward our fellow man. God so generously extends mercy and grace to us each day. We must be gracious to event the most difficult of people.
We don’t know why others mistreat us, say mean things to us, and hurt us. And, we may or may not understand ourselves when we mistreat others sometimes. But, we’ve got to be easy with people. It doesn’t mean it’s easy showing grace and mercy to those who have wronged us. Oh contraire! But, we don’t know what they’re going through and what has caused them to be oppressors. We all have an internal logic for what we do and don’t do. It doesn’t justify us mistreating others. I’m just saying we’re all broken, full of sin, and God in his generosity, so loved the world that He gave Himself to us in the Person of Jesus Christ so that we can be free, and therefore we must strive to love people as He does. We’re all broken people caught in His amazing grace.
If being merciless and graceless toward someone is holding you back in life, you might want to address the issue NOW ;) If this post is hitting at your heart, hitting a nerve that you know deep down that needs to be addressed then SURRENDER. Let us not be ignorant to the negative side effects of not being merciful to others. Let’s do ourselves a favor and address the issues of our hearts- to learn to forgive, to learn to be gracious and to shower mercy on those around us because God is so gracious to us everyday.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” -Micah 6:8
**Some inspiration from this post came from Liam Thatcher, titled The Passover, a pastor at Christ Church London, on a sermon he did on Moses.