ECCLESIASTES 7:7 - Berean Lamp Memory Verse - (Feb 13-20)
The Berean Lamp Memory Verse for this week is:
“For oppression makes a wise man mad, And a bribe corrupts the heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:7).
Do you feel oppressed? If you are a Believer, you will face oppression in this life, for the Church is always under oppression from within and from without. What is oppression? It is "the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety, etc." - Dictionary.com. You should add "emotionally" and "spiritually" to this definition. Oppression can have a clear and obvious origin or it can have an uncertain, nebulous source, depending on the situation. It can come from a governing body, from someone you know, a friend, from your culture, or from unseen spiritual darkness. It can be better understood through its antonyms: help, kindness, niceness, blessing, happiness, joy, cheer, delight, justice. As you can see, oppression is simply the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit. If you recall, the Fruit of the Spirit is what the Holy Spirit produces in Believers as spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical nourishment for others - to bring life and light to people all around us: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." All forms of oppression, then, are the fruits of a different spirit - not the Spirit of God. We are fed this fruit when we experience unjust governance, are around oppressive people, go through difficult situations, and endure trials. It enters our soul and poisons our security, our hope, our trust, and our love. All oppression comes from satan (directly or indirectly) for he is the accuser, the persecutor, the oppressor, and adversary of mankind. Indeed, persecution is defined as oppression, for it is "to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment." - Dictionary.com
Oppression comes when we feel we cannot trust and rely on our government, our neighbors, our friends, or even God to have our best interest in their heart (as in the case of Job). We are weighed down and crushed by the apathy of people to whom we entrusted our well-being, the self-interested actions of people that hurt us, or the purposeful abuse of power (as in the case of satan, our guardians, or government). We are oppressed when we anticipate harm, instead of help, when we anticipate bad news instead of hope, and when and we don't know who to trust among our neighbors. Today, as love grows cold, societies around the world are crumbling because more and more people share the fruit of oppression with one another, under the influence of the great oppressor, satan. In the weeks ahead, we will look at the examples of Elijah, David, Job, Hannah, and others to better understand how oppression works and what God desires us to do about it.
May we look to the Comforter to weather the oppressive days we are living in. May we take care to watch the fruit we feed those around us with our words and actions. May it be the genuine Fruit of the Spirit, not imitated or cheap knock-offs from the human spirit. And more-so, may we not nurture the fruit of that accuser and oppressor, satan - spreading spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical burden, harm, and adversity to those around us. Even so, Amen.
Other verses to consider:
“Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them. So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 4:1-3).
“He delivers the afflicted in their affliction, And opens their ear in time of oppression. Then indeed, He enticed you from the mouth of distress, Instead of it, a broad place with no constraint; And that which was set on your table was full of fatness” (Job 36:15-16).
“For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire, And the greedy man curses and spurns the Lord. The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, ‘There is no God.’ His ways prosper at all times; Your judgments are on high, out of his sight; As for all his adversaries, he snorts at them. He says to himself, ‘I will not be moved; Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity.’ His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness. He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the hiding places he kills the innocent; His eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate” (Psalm 10:3-8).
“I will say to God my rock, ‘Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?’” (Psalm 42:9)
“Why do You hide Your face and forget our affliction and our oppression?” (Psalm 44:24)
“Day and night they go around her upon her walls, and iniquity and mischief are in her midst. Destruction is in her midst; Oppression and deceit do not depart from her streets. For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, Then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend; We who had sweet fellowship together walked in the house of God in the throng” (Psalm 55:10-14).
“Establish my footsteps in Your word, And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me. Redeem me from the oppression of man, That I may keep Your precepts. Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Your statutes” (Psalm 119:133-135).
“For oppression makes a wise man mad, And a bribe corrupts the heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:7).
“You shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 23:9).
“Then Eli said to her, ‘How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you.’ But Hannah replied, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the Lord. Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation’” (1 Samuel 1:14-16)
“The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble; And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You” (Psalm 9:9-10).
“O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror” (Psalm 10:17-18).
“Let the mountains bring peace to the people, And the hills, in righteousness. May he vindicate the afflicted of the people, Save the children of the needy And crush the oppressor. Let them fear You while the sun endures, And as long as the moon, throughout all generations” (Psalm 72:3-5).
“Consider the covenant; For the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence. Let not the oppressed return dishonored; Let the afflicted and needy praise Your name. Arise, O God, and plead Your own cause; Remember how the foolish man reproaches You all day long” (Psalm 74:20-22).
“Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. The Lord performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel” (Psalm 103:5-7).
“Who made heaven and earth, The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever; Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free” (Psalm 146:6-7).
“He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him” (Proverbs 14:31).
“A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding, But he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days” (Proverbs 28:16).
“And the people will be oppressed, Each one by another, and each one by his neighbor; The youth will storm against the elder And the inferior against the honorable” (Isaiah 3:5).
“‘Let the outcasts of Moab stay with you; Be a hiding place to them from the destroyer.’ For the extortioner has come to an end, destruction has ceased, Oppressors have completely disappeared from the land” (Isaiah 16:4).
“It will become a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the Lord because of oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Champion, and He will deliver them” (Isaiah 19:20).
“I composed my soul until morning. Like a lion—so He breaks all my bones, From day until night You make an end of me. Like a swallow, like a crane, so I twitter; I moan like a dove; My eyes look wistfully to the heights; O Lord, I am oppressed, be my security” (Isaiah 38:13-14).
“All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?” (Isaiah 53:6-8)
“For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify against us; For our transgressions are with us, And we know our iniquities: Transgressing and denying the Lord, And turning away from our God, Speaking oppression and revolt, Conceiving in and uttering from the heart lying words. Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands far away; For truth has stumbled in the street, And uprightness cannot enter” (Isaiah 59:12-14).
“For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever” (Jeremiah 7:5-7).
“O Lord, You have pleaded my soul’s cause; You have redeemed my life. O Lord, You have seen my oppression; Judge my case. You have seen all their vengeance, All their schemes against me” (Lamentations 3:58-60).
“‘Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die. But if a man is righteous and practices justice and righteousness, and does not eat at the mountain shrines or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, or defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman during her menstrual period— if a man does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, does not commit robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing, if he does not lend money on interest or take increase, if he keeps his hand from iniquity and executes true justice between man and man, if he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully—he is righteous and will surely live,’ declares the Lord God” (Ezekiel 18:4-9).
“This shall be his land for a possession in Israel; so My princes shall no longer oppress My people, but they shall give the rest of the land to the house of Israel according to their tribes” (Ezekiel 45:8).
“Therefore, return to your God, observe kindness and justice, and wait for your God continually. A merchant, in whose hands are false balances, he loves to oppress” (Hosea 12:6-7).
“Behold, I am going to deal at that time With all your oppressors, I will save the lame And gather the outcast, And I will turn their shame into praise and renown In all the earth” (Zephaniah 3:19).
“Thus has the Lord of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another’” (Zechariah 7:9-10).
“And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord’” (Luke 4:17-19).
“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38).
“And if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:7-9).