Righteousness - Shevat
"'The days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will raise up to David a Righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In His days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which He will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.'" (Jeremiah 23:5-6) This prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus came to earth and restored our relationship or right standing with God through His life, death and resurrection. All of us are in desperate need of righteousness! But how do we get it? Paul tells us in Romans 3:22. "This Righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe..." Also, we should personalize and thank God in prayer for the promise in Matthew 5:6. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled."
We have entered Shevat, the 11th month on the Hebrew calendar. The letter in the Hebrew alphabet for this month is TZADIK, which symbolizes the "Righteous One." So, this becomes the month where it is important for us to make righteousness our foundation, remembering that as we pursue righteousness we are pursuing God whose name is Jehovah Tsidkenu, "The Lord our Righteousness." Our goal is to be like Jesus whose throne sits on a foundation of righteousness and justice (Psalm 89:14), who shows Himself holy by His righteousness (Isaiah 5:16), who fills Zion with justice and righteousness, and is a sure foundation for our times. (Isaiah 33:5-6)
Psalm 33:5 tells us this: "The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love." However, many in our churches and nation have walked away from the love of the Lord and are not willing to live their lives according to His precepts. It has created a problem for the United States. God has already set a standard for us that we need to follow. Jeremiah the prophet warned His people about this issue: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness...They have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel." (Jeremiah 5:20, 24) Likewise, Isaiah pointed out to God's people that they made an agreement with death, but that God had made provision for their peace. "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line...Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the grave will never stand." (Isaiah 28:16-18)
The wisdom of Solomon, as demonstrated in Proverbs 14:34, gives us food for thought. "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people." The time is here for the Church to act. We cannot sit back and watch as our country goes more deeply into sin. God designed His people and the Church to be an example of His love and peace and righteousness. We must ask the Lord to guide us on paths of righteousness for His name sake (Psalm 23:3), and we must pray that God will make us and those we are praying for hungry and thirsty for righteousness. Let us ask the Lord, as the Psalmist did, for access: "Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. (Psalm 118:19) We can be assured that the Lord is ready to pour out His righteousness on those who ask. (Matthew 7:7-8)
Joan E. Mathias