Monday, April 30, 2012

Yahweh Tsidkenu

Jeremiah 23:6 “And this will be his name: ‘Yahweh Is Our Righteousness (Yahweh Tsidkenu).’ In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety.

God is Righteous. He is completely righteous, there could never be the slightest hint of wickedness in Him. That’s why He stands in direct opposition of sin - He hates it. God is so righteous that He sees the wicked thought in the same way He sees the wicked action. He will punish both of them in the same way.

David couldn’t help to declare God’s righteousness. In his mind, that’s who God is! Look at just a few of the things David wrote about God’s righteousness.
Psalm 36:6 “Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.”
Psalm 11:7 “For Yahweh is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright.
Psalm 45:6 “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
Psalm 97:2 “Clouds and darkness surround Him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.”

There are many, many more verses in David’s psalms about the righteousness of God. As far as David was concerned, God’s righteousness and justice were what gave Him the right to rule.

Now, from our point of view, God’s righteousness can be a fearful thing. Our righteousness and His righteousness won’t ever match or line up. The best mankind can do - the most righteous we could ever be - is described in Isaiah 64:6: “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is like filthy rags.” We just don’t measure up. We can’t do enough righteous things to become righteous. Why? Because there isn’t enough good deeds in the world to erase a single act of wickedness.

Is it any wonder then that our first reaction to God’s righteousness is fear? Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5), Manoah (Judges 13:22), and David (1 Chronicles 21:16) were all terrified when they saw God. Why? Because their first thoughts were about God’s righteousness and their sinfulness. As Paul preached to Felix (the man who held Paul prisoner) about God’s righteousness, it brought fear to him too. Acts 24:25 says, “As he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment, Felix became frightened. ‘Go away for now,’ he replied. ‘When it is more convenient, I’ll call for you again.’” The righteousness of God makes sinners a little nervous.

But the separation of our wickedness and God’s righteousness didn’t only affect us. One reason God hates our wickedness so much is because of the separation it brings with it! Listen to what He said in Isaiah 48:18 “Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”

God hates our wickedness, but He hated our separation even more! This is why He paid such a high cost to eliminate them both. 2 Corinthians 5:21 shows us what He really wanted for the sinner; “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” As much as God hates our sin, He still took it on Himself to destroy the separation between us. This is how it worked; He took our sin and gave us His righteousness.

Romans 3:21-22 agrees - “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law (apart from working to earn it) is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.” God plan was to provide righteousness to those who would put their trust in Him. His desire was to become our righteousness!

Incidentally, this was always His plan. The first time you see the word “righteousness” in the Bible is in Genesis 15:6, “And he [Abram] believed in Yahweh, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Righteousness has never come by trying to do, do, do, do....anytime you see it, it has only come by faith.

So then, this should be the response of everyone who has received the free gift of righteousness:

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness”
(Isaiah 61:10)

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