Did you know that there is an entire month on the Hebrew calendar that focuses on righteousness? It is the month we are in now. Its name, Shevat, is symbolized by the Hebrew alphabetic letter TZADIK that symbolizes "the Righteous One." This is the month to make righteousness your foundation. Why is this so important? The Bible is filled with verses about righteousness, however, just reading the book of Proverbs and learning what it says about the fruit of righteousness should be enough to make us want to pursue it. I have selected a few of these Scriptures to share with you.
Proverbs 10:6 - "Blessings crown the head of the righteous..."
Proverbs 10:16 - "The wages of the righteous are life..."
Proverbs 10:21 - "The lips of the righteous nourish many..."
Proverbs 10:24 - "...what the righteous desire will be granted..."
Proverbs 11:8 - "The righteous person is rescued from trouble..."
Proverbs 12:3 - "...the righteous cannot be uprooted."
Proverbs 12:7 - "...the house of the righteous stands firm."
Proverbs 13:21 - "...the righteous are rewarded with good things."
Proverbs 14:34 - "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people."
Righteousness means to be in "right standing" with God. Matthew 5:6 tells us, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." Because righteousness involves being in right relationship with God and allowing ourselves to be conformed to His image, it is the key to our happiness and well-being. Yet, this righteousness is impossible for us to achieve as it is a gift from God that comes only through faith in His Son. Perhaps this is why one of God's names is Yahweh Tsidkenu--"the Lord Our Righteousness." "'The days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will raise up for 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 Righteous Savior.'" (Jeremiah 23:5-6) Jesus came to the earth as The Righteous One to live, die, and be resurrected. As Paul says in Romans 3:21-22, "But now apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe."
What a gift! You may ask, "How does this happen?" God made us three-part beings with bodies, souls, and spirits. The righteousness of Jesus comes into our spirits after we accept and believe what Jesus did for us on the Cross. This is called being "born again," where God makes a divine exchange with us. "God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21) Here is what is absolutely amazing! When we sin or start a carnal lifestyle, we are still called righteous because it is the soul that transgresses. Our spirits remain ever righteous because the triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) dwells forever in our spirits. As if to confirm this truth, God calls Lot, who was living an ungodly lifestyle in Sodom, a "righteous man" in 2 Peter 2:7-8.
So, in this month of righteousness let us pray that our spirits will prevail over our bodies and souls. We can encourage the righteousness that lives in our spirits to manifest as we focus on the goodness of God and meditate on "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable...anything excellent or praiseworthy." (Philippians 4:8) Let us rededicate our lives to Jesus and depend on Holy Spirit to live it out. Let us pray for our nation and the reestablishment of its righteous foundation. And let us sink our roots deep into the soil of righteousness so that we cannot be moved. Embrace this month of righteousness, dear ones, for it is the key to our future.
Joan E. Mathias