Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Yahweh Tsidkenu - the LORD our Righteousness!

Hello Tuesday folks!

How are things coming in the new year?  There's a feeling of excitement when I think of passing not only from one year to another, but from one DECADE to another.  It's like the Lord has given us another start of starts - a fresh beginning that could potentially usher in more of His glory!  I don't know if that's doctrinal, as I'm unable to find anything that supports this in the Bible.  But I DO know that the Lord is a God of beginnings.  A God of startING.  The One who promotes turning and returning to Him at all times.  
With that in mind, I am praying for a love for Him that supersedes all others in my heart.  A love for Him that will guide me fruitfully, productively, and purposefully in being renewed day by day for His glory.  Leaning daily on His the effectual work of the Gospel, I am promised everything I need "for life and godliness," for His glory. (2 Peter 1:3)  Additionally, forming habits of praying to Almighty God has the reward which is far greater than I can anticipate or think, for His glory! (Ephesians 3:20-21

Here's to 2020!

I did something a bit different in my Bible journaling today.  In addition to the page I colored with watercolor, stamps and a tag, I made a duplicate tag to put into a "loved" Bible which I'm giving to a young lady in my youth group.  

It's been awesome to be able to learn something in God's Word and transfer it over to a compact Bible.  Today's insert for the smaller Bible is simply a tag with similar Gospel encouragement on the back.  (Stamps I used for the whole project are listed below)

I'm working in Jeremiah today.  Why Jeremiah?
Well, it all started with Matthew 10:21, actually.  Reading up on the "rich, young ruler" caused me to search out studies and commentaries on such a verse, which brought me to a wonderful sermon by George Whitefield.  Within this sermon is a well-rounded understanding of the righteousness of Christ, which touched a bit upon the account of said young man in Matthew.  His main focus was in Jeremiah and on the substantial, satisfactory covering of Righteousness provided in Jesus Christ:
"'Behold, the days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.  In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’" (vv. 5-6)

Around the Advent/Christmas season, there was a lot of talk about this Heir to the throne of David; a Counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Everlasting Father; a Son born to a virgin whose name would be "God saves."  When doing a live Facebook feed back in December, I was thinking on how appropriate it truly is to continue reading about and thinking on these things, primarily as it pertains to preaching God's goodness and Gospel over our lives.  

There is a lot packed into these 2 verses, one of which is the expectation of a coming King - Jesus Christ - who will execute judgment, heal the land, restore the Kingdom.
But until then, there is something else of HIGH and WONDERFUL importance tucked away for us.  Something that keeps.  Something that holds.  Something that carries until our King returns.
"The Lord Our Righteousness."  

I used to think that the names of God were neat; the fact that He had multiple titles meant that He is that much more, better and greater than we are.  Truth is, that does make Him more, better, greater, wonderful, and the wonder of this this name, "Yahweh Tsidkenu," means so much more than I believe we're able to grasp!
Note: I urge you to hop onto the Sacra Via Scripture and Art Journaling facebook group to see the full live, if you can!

 I don't want to mince words, and I certainly don't want to mishandle the Word of God.  When we speak in terms of the Gospel, it's important to get the truths firmly established for the sake of victorious living as a Christian!  I pray that the Lord will touch you when you read the section of Scripture above and even save time to study it.
Saying all of that, I do pray that the Lord has laid this in front of me, that I should share:
If you are in Christ, HE IS YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Nothing can be further from the Gospel than to say to a follower/believer of Christ, "we must pave our own way; we must pay our own debt; we must do; we must be; we must have..." These are lies crafted by our adversary in an attempt to see us falter and despair as a witness and light for Christ.
When God came as a man - Jesus - taking on the form of humanity, this condescension was a midway point between God's initiation of our redemption plan back in Genesis, and Jesus' final victory over Satan and his forces.  IT WAS MIRACULOUS!  So glorious, all heavenly hosts sang, "Hallelujah" as they heralded the birth of that Christ child!

If you remember back in the garden of Eden, there was a rebellion in the heart of man (and woman) which led to "the fall."  The encounter with our enemy left Eve in a confused state of mind, believing in some way God had shorted or deceived her.  After our parents refused to obey God, there was a resulting shame, guilt and overwhelming sense of nakedness, both literally and spiritually speaking.  This new awareness caused them to hide from that familiar voice they'd originally connected with peace up to this point.  (Genesis 3)
Covered up.
Less exposed.
More concealed.

Futile in the attempts to clothe themselves, they could not hide from Omniscience.
Constrained by His love for them, God made clothes for His image-bearers by way of the very first blood sacrifice.
God covered them.

God clothed them.
God did it.

This was the beginning of a long line of animal sacrifices that would need to be made to atone for sin, as mentioned in the Old Testament writings.  But these, of course, would never be satisfactory or sufficient for all sin, transgression and iniquity in man.
God knew He would provide Himself, for Himself, the very Lamb that would take away the sins of the WORLD!  The Sacrifice would be satisfactory.  The Substitution, pleasing.

Jeremiah speaks highly of this One who would live and die to be the Savior of the whole world.  He calls Him a "Branch" from the royal lineage of David.  One who would bring justice, peace and hope to all of Israel.
Skip ahead roughly 650 years...

The slaughtering of this Holy Lamb of God exacted the wrath of God laid up for humanity for our rebellion.  God turned His face away from the cross, that He may not behold all the sin, death and hell hanging on that tree.  "Once and for all..." scripture tells us, did Christ bleed, die and raise, closing the gap between God and man.  (Hebrews 10)

What a wonderful Savior!

Do you know what this means?
This means that upon believing that Jesus indeed took even YOUR sins to the cross with Him, you are officially covered by the adequate clothing made by God Himself!  The spotless skin of the Sacrificial Lamb conceals you.  You are transformed into a new creature, never to be the old again!  You are clothed in HIS righteousness forever and ever, and there is nothing that can strip you of such a garment!

George Whitefield suggests that Christ's Righteousness is the "very garment" that we don as the Bride of Him who created us!
I love that picture, but then again, I'm a sucker for elegance and imagery. :D Plus, it makes even more sweet the Hymnal lyric, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness!"

I'm sure I am not doing the sermon or the Scriptures justice of all that this means.  There is so much joy here.  So much peace here.  So much hope, love, victory!
Friend, we battle daily the "flesh" that weakens our witness.  We battle daily the enemy that haunts our minds.
There's a special prayer that J.D. Greear puts out for us to pray that embodies the Gospel:

 - In Christ there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have done that makes You love me less.
 - Your presence and approval are all I need for everlasting joy.
 - As You have been to me, so I will be to others.
 - As I pray, I'll measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power by the resurrection.

As we pray it over ourselves often - daily, even - the weight of doubt, shame, defeatedness or discouragement lifts.  We are free in Jesus, to live like Jesus.
God covers us.
God clothes us.

God did it.

Live in victory! We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Rom. 8:37).

Much love,


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1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post, yet again. Love you and your heart, friend. <3