People cry out because of heavy oppression; shout under the power of the mighty. But no one says, “Where is God my maker; who gives songs in the night; who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth, makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?” Then they cry out; but he doesn’t answer, because of the pride of the wicked. God certainly doesn’t respond to a deceitful cry; the Almighty doesn’t pay attention to it. (Job 35:9-13. CEB)
When you think of oppression, you might think of the ethnic oppression against the Romani people in Italy or the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq. Religious oppression of a small Muslim group in Myanmar. Social oppression of the Palestinian people in Israel or the political oppression in Uzbekistan. How about the economic oppression of 99% of the population in the US? The question is, how long can you oppress a people before they turn and fight back? Les Misérables, a novel written by Victor Hugo, and later a musical, tells the story of an oppressed French working class. In the musical rendition, the people sing this song.
“Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again! When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums, there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!” The verse that follows gives the invitation to fight for liberation and ultimately freedom. “Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me? Beyond the barricade Is there a world you long to see? Then join in the fight that will give you the right to be free!”
The problem is that true freedom is never found in the fight alone. Paulo Freire said in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, “The oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors” The reason for this he states is because “They have no consciousness of themselves as persons or as members of an oppressed class.” And, “find in the oppressors their model of manhood.”
Second, freedom is never found in the fight alone when people cry out to God and then deny his existence. The lyrics of the Socialist Internationale state, “No savior from on high delivers, no faith have we in prince or peer. Our own right hand the chains must shiver, chains of hatred, greed, and fear.” Job tells us that God hears the cry of the oppressed but turns a deaf ear when people refuse to acknowledge him.
We become a threat to the oppressive order when we cry out and declare, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies. (Psa 18:2-3 NKJ)…….God hears our cries.