With a focus on the purpose of Pentecost, it is important for us to remember that Jesus Christ came to set the captive free. He did not come to give us another religion or purpose for social gathering. Those people who were hopelessly in bondage to oppressors were now going to have an opportunity for freedom through accepting Christ as their Savior. Powerful men of stature had used their power to bring the average man into bondage to their authority through debt, illicit transactions or coercion. Neither did Jesus come to make void all of those illegal agreements. Prisoners and criminals did not get released immediately from jail when Jesus came to Jerusalem. Some believers that actually were free went to jail for the sake of Christ. Jesus made it known to the people that His kingdom was not to this world. Yet Jesus did come to do something important about the bondage of people.
Jesus came to Jerusalem when men, women and children could be enslaved to others because of debt and they were brought into captivity by an oppressive conquering army. He came for the purpose of liberating the hearts and minds of all people from captivity to the evil one who causes fear and oppression. People motivated by greed for money were bringing others under their power in many illegal ways. Citizens and the religious were unable to deliver themselves from the oppressive and illegal practices of the strong. To liberate these people, a stronger power had to come on the scene and Jesus brought the power of heaven and Father God against the devil and his followers. The rein of wickedness was to be broken by the all-powerful rule of God. The wicked were to learn that there was a power greater than theirs.
Diminishing Christian values
America was established as a nation under God and it promoted righteous laws governing the people after being delivered from the tyrannical aristocratic rule of European monarchs and a corrupt and oppressive religious system. Christian values and expressions of liberty were prominent in the making of America’s laws because of the oppression experienced in their previous homelands. So the righteous rein of God and deliverance from oppression were powerful considerations in setting up fair laws that declared all men equal under God with a right to personal liberties. God’s law had provisions for the release of debtors from servitude after seven years and the restoration of property. As long as Christian values prevail in a nation, righteousness prevails and the force of law protects citizen rights.
With today’s diminishing Christian values and putting away of the Ten Commandments as a guide for correct behavior in the nation, corrupt opinions are establishing unfair laws that aim at again oppressing people. Much like the people who were under the monarchical rule in European nations, America is experiencing similar times where oppression and corruption are prevailing against the average citizen and there is again a need for true Christian values to stand up against injustice. The once-Christian nation is now giving authority to a new god, where wealth and elite status prevails as power supreme. European-style aristocracy which worked secretly underground is now arising to control the once Christian, democratic, free nation. Where church leaders fail to hold up the standard of righteousness, God’s authority is weakened and wickedness replaces it with coercion and fear. Godly religious leaders were expected hold on to and progress the mantel of righteousness that they inherited from their forerunners. They, however, became relaxed and comfortable in a land of ease and allowed the enemy to get the upper hand. But God is still expecting His Spirit-filled believers to make a difference in their spear of influence and reclaim righteousness wherever possible in the land. Pentecost brought the power of God in earth to believers to stand against all forms of evil through faith in the preached word, prayer and the believer’s intervention. The small band of early Christian followers made an eternal difference in the known world. They upheld a Christian standard in difficult times and were a challenge to unjust laws. Previous believers established systems that their heirs are merely asked to uphold and maintain. Every believer will have to answer to God for his or her own role and responsibility in holding up the gospel light.
Preferential Treatment to Those of Power
Inequalities and imbalances prevail in the land when gender, social status and wealth are preferred and granted power at the expense of others. These practices have been know to progress into iniquity that causes the oppressed to cry out to God because the powerful will not alleviate their pain or show mercy. While the powerful increase their gain through corrupt and evil practices, the poor sinks into greater poverty with little hope of recovery. The cries of the oppressed are always heard by God on High Who is the Defender of the poor and afflicted: Job 34:28 “So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted. “ God hates unjust balances and we can expect His intervention when the wicked of the land seem to prevail.
Eze 45:9-10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord GOD. Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just bath.
Psa 12:5 For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.
Lev 19:35-36 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.
The Overthrow of Wicked Power
We have seen recently on the world stage notable men who have been overthrown or exposed for their insatiable appetites that consumed the weak. Many have been amazed at these exposures without considering that it is the Hand of God that pulls down the mighty to spare the defenseless. Those in authority have the means and advantage to conceal their misdeeds and maintain their estate but there is a God Who is higher than the most powerful men on earth, who sees what is done in the dark and has the ability to pull down powerful curtains, move mountains of oppression and unleash burdens of captivity. When God decides to move and show His power, no man can withstand it. He moves by His sovereign power to cleanse the earth and release yokes of bondage.
The bible remarkably records for our learning the overthrow of many powerful leaders and tyrants. Foremost of these examples is the Egyptian pharaoh who oppressed the poor Israelites that put their trust in the God of heaven. They went through generation after generation of abuse but God did arise eventually to miraculously deliver them. Because God is an unseen Entity and can seem slow to respond in some situations, some people tend to believe that He does not exist, does not care or will not respond. They count the long-suffering and merciful nature of God as indifference or inability. Holy scripture tells us that God is not willing that any person should perish but is long suffering for the benefit of man’s repentance. He sends warnings to provoke mankind to repent of sin before releasing His wrath. Divine warnings are being given today through notable incidents that are brought to national and international attention. God is showing us gross sin and arrogance at the top levels so that we do not put our trust in man that will ultimately fail us. We marvel at the things that are breaking out in the land but does it merely cause outrage or does it cause personal repentance as we remember God promised consequences for individual and national sin. In what are we placing our hope? Devastations are causing some to declare that God must surely be coming soon while others are merely enjoying their liberties! One prophet wrote:
It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. Lam 3:22
A Long-Suffering God
The long-suffering nature of God can cause the wicked to operate in assumption that there is no force capable of preventing their greedy pursuits. This very nature of arrogance promotes the wrath of God to come even the sooner. Prophecy tells us that times will continue as normal and men will be unsuspecting until Jesus comes:
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Mat 24:36-39
The 23rd Psalm reveals the nature of God as a “Good Shepherd caring for the needs of His sheep. Other scripture refer to Him sending rain on the just and unjust equally and being a caretaker of the birds of the air and the flower of the field. God is known to be a loving and compassionate God but He also takes vengeance on wickedness to protect His inheritance in the land. God will eventually judge the wicked for their offense against His word. He is a just God when He blesses the righteous and when He brings wrath against the wicked. Warnings that come to the believer and unbeliever gives mankind time to consider the consequences of their actions before wrath comes. Arrogance and pride discounts even those warnings. The long suffering and patience of God often causes the wicked to ignore God’s presence and power. We are living in such days when wickedness is having free rein to do what it wants seemingly without repercussions. These are the days that await the intervention and judgment of God to show up in defense of the weak because He is their Lord. It is God who restores balance to the land and exercises His rule over all mankind. Because God hates imbalance and unjust weighs, we can expect His intervention into the wickedness we see in the land. But do we still have the ability to recognize when God is moving? Evil ways have become so dominant that they are now being called normal and acceptable in our society. Believers must make sure they are found doing the will of God when He comes rather than being caught in agreement with the wicked that are to be punished. Remember Lot!
The long suffering of God in the preaching of Noah before the flood was intended to bring mankind into repentance but only eight people heard, believed and were saved from destruction. Too many of God’s ministers are failing to sound the alarm so we see God speaking through other medians of news reports, social media, unbelievers, the weather, economy, politics and challenging our own hearts to make a change. God is showing His hand in the earth but many cannot distinguish the source of the power or know the reason because they do not know God’s word. People heard and responded to John the Baptist’s plea for repentance and preparation for the coming King but in today’s society people hear and continue doing their sinful deeds because their ears are dull of hearing or hearts are hardened.
Care for the Weak
God is concerned about the needs of the poor, women, children, immigrants, imprisoned, persecuted, widows and orphans. Because men are given authority over their home and lead in so many authoritative positions, they will have to answer for their use of authority, whether it is just or abusive. They are given authority to defend the weak, not oppress them for personal gain or pleasure. They are to represent the good shepherd practices revealed by the Father, who is to be their example. They will have to answer for those that come under their authority: Col 4:1 “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”
The overarching darkness and chaos of the earth caused God to create daylight and establish order in the earth before He made the first humans. Shall the chaos of today’s earth escape God’s attention? Jesus was sent to earth as an intercessor between God and mankind. The love of God was so great for all mankind that He made a way of escape from sin and destruction through the atoning death of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The price has been paid for the sin of every man, woman and child that will accept the sacrificial punishment placed upon Jesus Christ as payment for our sin. Believing Christ delivers one from the wrath to come upon a wicked earth. The love of God reaches out to every soul to say come into the ark of safety and receive His cleansing love. The prophets of old declared that even in the last hour, God’s hand still would be out stretched for mankind to repent and come into the ark of safety. God is the great equalizer and He will give balance to our life and bring it into conformity to His will. We are totally set free from bondage and captivity through our relationship with Him. God is too good to let evil prevail and His righteousness demands justice. It is a loving God that teaches us His ways and allows each of us the opportunity to willingly choose whom we will serve and how we want our life to be rewarded. Joshua declared: “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”