Knowing God by His Names ~ Righteousness 11

Knowing God by His Names – 11
                    Jehovah Tsidkenu ~ The LORD our Righteousness
* Key Verse:

‘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.’   Jehovah-Tsidkenu   Jeremiah 23:6            
 * Brief History:  The prophet Jeremiah began his ministry during the reign of King Josiah. Till this time good kings and bad kings ruled the nation.  Josiah being a good king, instituted taking down the idols of false gods and a great spiritual revival followed, this was until his untimely death.  Those who followed in the seat of ruler ship, ‘did evil in the sight of Jehovah’.  Conditions went from bad to worse.  In short, God gave warnings, folks refused to listen and heed.  Finally, Jeremiah again steps forward and states that God ‘will raise up to David a Righteous Branch, a King Who would reign and prosper and do judgment and justice in the earth, and bring peace and security to Israel, Who would be called Jehovah our Righteousness’. 1  
Jehovah Himself is perfect righteousness, ( Deut. 32:4, Ps. 119:142,144, Ps. 129:4, Is. 45:21).  In summary – in all His dealings, He is righteous.  Being righteous, He can not overlook mans unrighteousness.  The sinner is seen as guilty in the sight of God.  Hang in there with me, there is hope!  Apart from a substitute of offering, the shedding of blood, as seen in the O.T. law of sacrificial atonement, man was doomed.  Here’s where it gets GOOD, let’s proceed.
Today’s focus:  Righteousness, the word alone does NOT hold the same meaning today, as it did when Jeremiah spoke those words.  In it’s true meaning, it is not a popular word in our culture.  Yet without it, our happiness and state of being is at stake, because it involves being in right relationship with God.  Ann Spangler states in her book Praying the Names of God, ‘Jesus and the writers of the New Testament stress that righteousness is not merely a matter of outward behavior but a matter of the heart – of thoughts, motives, and desires.  The goal is not merely to do what God says but to become like Him.’
Soteriology, here’s a word for us.  It is the doctrine of salvation.  It comes from the Greek word, ‘soter’ meaning ‘savior’.  There is a mind set that has been among us …. ‘if I could just get my foot in the door to heaven, I would be happy.’  BUT, those who think this way, do not have a clue what and WHO it takes to get that foot even close to the door.  Salvation is not just mere fire insurance.  In the widest sense, salvation is the total work of God on behalf of man, rescuing man from doom, the power of sin, bestowing His grace, abundant life to live today, and eternal life. (Eph. 1:3-8, 2:4-10; 1 Pet. 1:3-5, John 3:16) 
Righteousness is God’s legal declaration of the believer at the time of his/her salvation.  Based solely on the person and atoning death of Christ, establishing a new relationship with a holy God. 2 (Rom. 3:21-31).  It is a free gift that is bestowed on us through …faith.  Repentance takes us from faith to the feet of God, it is man acknowledging his need for salvation due to his unrighteousness.
He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin
to be sin on our behalf, (that’s you and me)
so that we might become
the righteousness of God in Him (Jesus) 
2 Cor. 5:21 NASB  (parenthesis mine)
 Righteousness has been defined in the simplest terms as, ‘right standing before God’.  So, it is the atoning work of Christ at the moment of salvation, that gives us the right and ability to stand before God.  Phew!  just these statements alone have taken me days to get my head and hands around, at the dentist appointments, swim lessons, early morning study, and numerous articles and scripture read.  Sit and read the book of Romans from a merely theological point of view, and your head spins with restoration, redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, repentance, faith, regeneration, forgiveness, justification, sanctification, preservation – (deep breath) just to mention a few.
I feel it is safe to say, as I would to my 7 year old, righteousness is taking Jesus, and wrapping Him around me, so when God looks at me, all He sees is Jesus all over me, He doesn’t see DeDe, no longer a sinner, but one of God’s very own.  Righteousness is not attained, but obtained.
‘But now a righteousness from God, apart
from law, has been made known, to which
the Law and the Prophets testify.  This
righteousness from God comes through faith
in Jesus Christ to all who believe (Romans 3:21-22)
The term righteous (tsedek, pronounced tseh-dek) means ‘to be stiff, or ‘to be straight’ in the Hebrew.  The word picture described is .non-bent or bending in a certain direction, (may I add, the wrong direction).  Before we accept the atoning work of Christ, we are bent (some of us more than others – just kidding), He straightens us.  Jesus is our Jehovah-Tsidkenu, our righteousness, our Straightner.  The word of God, declares numerous times the way to go, straight and narrow… yet there are times, God inspired such scripture to show His sense of humor, Prov. 11:8 NRSV   ‘The righteous are delivered from trouble, and the wicked get into it instead.’  Don’t you just love it!  God is good!
Study Questions:
1.   Ephesians 4:24 says… ‘put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness’, verse 25 goes on to say ‘ therefore each of you must put off…’.   Is there an area that you need to revisit and re-evaluate, that requires an exchange of old for new?
2.    As in the day of Jeremiah, people went in and out of God’s favor due to their lack of obedience to Him.  How is your obedience?  If you were a king today, what would follow your name… would it be ‘he/she did evil in the sight of the LORD’ or ‘he/she did right in the sight of the LORD’?
3.   Matthew 5:6 ‘Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled’.  What are you hungering after?  Do you desire more of God and His ways?  Are you purposing to ‘be straight’ in your thinking, actions?
4. Challenge Question:   Read 1 Timothy 6:6-12, Ask God for the grace to pursue a life of righteousness.  
In Him, DeDe  (Ps. 92:4   You thrill me LORD!)

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