Who is right(eous)?
Have you ever heard someone say something like: “It’s not right for me, but who am I to judge?” Or, “What may be right for me, may not be right for you.” Or, “I think everyone has to decide for themselves, what is right.” Maybe you have said those things… maybe you feel compelled to say those things, for fear that others may label you “intolerant.” And some will. But where would we be as a society if everyone decided for him or herself what is right? Sounds like lawlessness to me!
We live in a world where tolerance is embraced, judgmentalism is scorned and moral truth is shunned. To be clear, if you are a Believer, you don’t want to come across as judgmental or mean-spirited or hypocritical… that would not reflect the love of Christ or be attractive to those who may not yet believe.
But it is fair to ask: Are there any moral truths? If so, who determines them? Where do we find them? These are important questions, especially in a culture that appears to be affirming tolerance for everyone except those who insist on moral truth.
This name for God, Jehovah Tsidkenu, helps us answer these questions of “rightness”. What is right? Who decides? And how do Believers live in a way that reflects the righteousness of our God without appearing self-righteous, callous and unattractive?
Another name for God is Jehovah Tsidkenu - The LORD Our Righteousness. We see this name for God used in Jeremiah 23:6 and 33:16. Jeremiah shared this prophecy during a time of rebellion in the southern kingdom of Judah. The northern kingdom of Israel had fallen to the Babylonians 100 years earlier; now Judah was hanging on by a thread. But it was not a wholesome time in Judah. They were entrenched in sin and mired in a season of spiritual decay.
Do you ever find that yourself in a season of spiritual decay? That can happen when we aren’t careful and attentive to our spiritual well-being, especially during a pandemic. Don’t let a pandemic be a catalyst for your spiritual decay. Stay connected. Stay engaged. Stay in His Word. Stay committed to worshipping with us live when you feel safe and online when you don’t. Join a small, life group at Watermark (starting in September) for fellowship, study and prayer with others. At Watermark, we are committed to helping you make this season a time, not of spiritual decay, but of spiritual renewal in your life!
God wanted Judah to get out of their season of spiritual decay. Through Jeremiah, God warned King Zedekiah and the people of Judah to repent and obey; if not they would fall to the Babylonians. God demands honor and obedience from His people; failure to meet His expectations, without repentance, results in rejection. (2 Kings 23:27). Sadly, Zedekiah chose not to repent and obey, but instead to have Jeremiah thrown into jail! (2 Kings 23:27; Jeremiah 32:1-5). Judah was taken captive by the Babylonians. Why? Rebellion, willful disobedience, stubbornness… an unwillingness to do what was right. Their ego and pride got in the way! (Proverbs 16:18)
Is pride, ego, or stubbornness keeping you from honoring God with your choices - doing what is right? Is it destroying relationships in your life that really matter? Is it leading you toward devastating consequences? You don’t have to go there… God is offering you the chance to take the right path today… just like He did for Judah.
Before Judah fell to the Babylonians, God promised through His prophet Jeremiah:
5 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will raise up for David, a righteous Branch,
6 …This is the name by which he will be called:
The Lord Our Righteous Savior. Jeremiah 23:5, 6b
Any idea who Jeremiah was referring to in these verses? Who would bring salvation? Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ is our Jehovah Tsidkenu!
What does it mean to be righteous and how can I be righteous?
It is pretty clear from Judah’s experience that God wants us to pursue righteousness. (Proverbs 15:9). It is also clear that God is the source of righteousness, not us. (Romans 3:10). I like this definition for righteousness: In the broadest sense, righteousness can be defined as “the condition of being acceptable to God as made possible by God.” (Romans 3:28)
How can I pursue true righteousness? Takes these steps:
1) Admit I can’t possibly please God in my sinful nature. (James 4:10; Romans 8:8)
2) Desire life change - transformation - that only God can offer. (Romans 12:2)
3) Invite Jesus to be my Savior and Lord - the Source of my righteousness. (Romans 10:9; 3:22)
4) Allow God to begin to transform me by the work of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 5:16)
For much more, click here to listen to the final message in our series: Revealed - The Names of God - Part 10 - Jehovah Tisidkenu.