The Jews were to be God’s special people, but time after time they failed Him and lived in sin. Eventually God let the northern kingdom, Israel, go into captivity. The southern kingdom, Judah, followed not long after for they, too, turned from God’s perfection and instead followed the pagan nations around them in their immoral and idolatrous worship. Finally God said He would judge them as well (2 Kings 23:26-27). Because He is righteous He cannot allow sin in His presence.
However He had promised numerous times that He would establish David’s kingdom and throne forever (2 samuel 7:16-17; I Kings 2:4). How could He judge sin yet keep this promise? The only way would be to have a time when the Jews returned to the land in righteousness and He again lived among them and ruled over them. Jeremiah taught about such a time. He lived during the fall of Judah and became known as the “Weeping Prophet” because of how seeing God’s judgment broke his heart. Yet, through Him, God foretold a time when He would return and reign as righteous judge over a righteous people. From other Scripture we know this time will be the Kingdom Age (Millennium). In their worst hour, God reassures the people through Jeremiah the prophet, that Jehovah Our Righteousness will redeemed Israel and live among His people (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16).
The word translated ‘righteous’ is used many times in the Old Testament. The root idea is that of something stiff or straight. It really can’t be translated by any one English word. It signifies God’s dealing with men under the ideas of righteousness, justification and acquittal. It is variously translated as right, righteous, just, justify, declare innocent and many other ways (see the assignment below).
The Bible makes clear that we lack righteousness. Even our good acts, our ‘righteous’ acts humanly speaking, are to God as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) and dung (Philippians 3:4-9). We can only imagine what our sin is like in His sight! Still, He takes our sin on Himself and in return gives us His righteousness. Psalm 49:7 says that God’s Righteous servant (Jesus) would take our sins and give us righteousness instead. Jesus is the One who is Jehovah Tsidkenu, The Lord Our Righteousness, as well. It is through Him and Him alone that we can approach a righteous God. Because of Him we can be declared righteous and take part in His eternal Kingdom. It’s too hard to really grasp the depths of all this means, but certainly something we can thank Him for nevertheless!
Remember the time when you exchanged your sin for His righteousness? Review it in your mind, thanking and worshipping Him again as you do so.
BIBLE STUDY ASSIGNMENT
The name “The Lord our Righteousness” is only used twice in the Bible (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16), but the word “righteousness” is used 98 other times. For each verse below write a another word which you could use instead of righteousness – the word which is underlined (a synonym).
Deuteronomy 1:16 And I charged your judges at that time: Hear the disputes between your brothers and judge fairly, whether the case is between brother Israelites or between one of them and an alien.
Deuteronomy 25:15 You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. ______________________
Job 8:3 Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right? ____________________
Job 35:2 “Do you think this is just? You say, ‘I will be cleared by God.’ ______________________
Psalms 18:20 The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. ______________________
Psalms 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. ______________________
Psalms 119:75 I know, O Lord, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me. ______________________
Proverbs 1:3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair;
Ecclesiastes 7:15 In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: a righteous man perishing in his righteousness, and a wicked man living long in his wickedness. _______________
Hosea 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.
Now, from all these various words which come from the same Hebrew word for righteousness, write a short definition of what the word means:
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)