Words of Divine Comfort- Octavius Winslow, 1872
“Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise,” says the Lord. “I will protect them from those who malign them.” Psalm 12:5
Never are the ungodly further from the mark–never committed to a mistake more suicidal and fatal than when they lay the hand of injustice and oppression upon the saints of the Most High! God is for them. He is the Avenger of all those who put their trust in Him–the widow and the fatherless–and those who touch them touch the apple of His eye. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” A simple missionary incident may illustrate this truth. A little band of missionaries in the Fiji Islands found their home, on one occasion, surrounded by a troop of armed savages, bent upon their destruction. Unable, as unwilling, to fight, they closed the door, and betook themselves to prayer. Presently, the war-whoop suddenly ceased. On opening the door they found only one savage there. “Where are your chiefs?” he was asked. “They are gone,” was the reply; “they heard you praying to your God, and they knew that your God was a strong God, and they left.” How true this testimony of the savages! The God of the Christians is a strong Lord. All that strength is on the side of His people. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself STRONG in the behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him.” Consider, O my soul, this truth, that the Lord is the strength of His people and the Avenger of all who are oppressed, and will set them in a safe place from those who malign them.
The Lord’s people are an OPPRESSEDpeople. The ungodly oppress them–sins oppress them–afflictions oppress them–temptations oppress them–needs oppress them–infirmities oppress them–the body of sickness and suffering oppresses them–and, alas! that it should be said, even the saints often oppress them–for some of their keenest shafts have been forged and flung by a brother’s hand. Oh, if there is a spectacle on earth which might well awaken tears in heaven, it is that of the brethren of one Father, the ransomed of one Savior, the travelers to one home, “falling out by the way,” by reason of their varied shades of doctrine, or of worship, or of church relation and so, “biting and devouring one another.” My soul, be a lover of good men; love them, not because they are of your creed, or of your church, but, because they belong to Christ–so shall all men know that you are also one of His disciples.
But, the Lord stands up for His oppressed ones. He is the Avenger of all such. “It is God who avenges me,” says David. Leave Him, O my soul, to vindicate your character, to redress your wrong, to rid you of your adversary, and He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noon-day. “O Lord, You have pleaded the causes of my soul.”
The sighing of the needy.” Jesus was a sighing Savior! He often “sighed deeply in His spirit.” And still He is in sympathy with His members, who sigh by reason of sin and suffering and need. For these He will arise. Sigh on, O my soul! the sigh that breathes from a broken heart, or is wrung from an anguished spirit, or is awakened by the unkindness of the oppressor, or the wounding of a Christian brother, ascends to heaven as music in the ear of the Great High Priest within the veil, and awakens the echoes of His loving and compassionate heart. Weeping has a voice–sighs have a language–and Jesus hears the one and understands the other. To nothing belonging to a saint can the Lord be indifferent. “O Lord! I am oppressed–undertake for me.” Thus, let the burden of oppression, and sigh of need, prompt you to prayer; then shall you thank and praise Him for both.
“Give to the winds your fears;
Hope, and be undismayed;
God hears your sighs, and counts your tears,
God shall lift up your head.”