Steve Levy continues our series looking into the names of God in the Bible, preaching from Jeremiah 23: 5-6 on the name Jehovah Tsidkenu (God our righteousness). Steve shows us how this name is fulfilled in the coming of the messiah, Jesus.
“In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;
he will do what is just and right in the land.”
Whenever local people in Swansea meet each other, they usually say, ‘Alright?’, meaning ‘Are you alright?’
So, tonight I’m asking you the same question, ‘Are you alright?’ ‘Are you really alright?’
It’s a profound question, but Jehovah Tzidkenu, the Lord Our Righteousness gives us the answer.
The many names of Jesus in the New Testament, such as our shepherd, our friend, go some way in helping us to know him, and how he relates to us personally. We can be blessed and helped by him, but we will never fully be able to pin him down.
However, this name, The Lord Our Righteousness, is enough to answer all of our deepest needs. It makes sense of our lives. It answers our question ‘Am I alright?’ by making us realise that we most certainly are not alright.
This name is what the whole Bible is about. It is the name that the law and the prophets testify about. This name of God is so significant because, when we understand it, we realise that we lack any ability to be right ourselves.
We are made in the image of God, to love God, and to love like God. But we simply don’t do it.
God gave us the Ten Commandments for our personal well-being, but also to show up our sinful natures.
Commandment 1 tells us to have no other Gods apart from him. If we worship and honour him alone, he will give us everything we need in life. All he asks is that we don’t have any other gods apart from him. But we just can’t do it!
In commandment two, we can have all the gifts of God, but the one thing we’re not to do is to worship the created things of this world. But we don’t obey.
Commandment three asks us not to misuse his name, but to call on his name, whenever we are in trouble, and to worship him. But we don’t do it. He gives us the sabbath to refresh our faith, and our lives, but we abuse it.
He gives us family and friends to love, but instead we feel bitterness, jealousy, unforgiveness and hatred towards other people.
The right way to live is the liberating way, but we just can’t do it.
That’s why this name is so amazing. This name, The Lord Our Righteousness, answers the thing that troubles us the most. It shows us that nothing is beyond God’s forgiveness, and it also reveals the truth about those who take pride in their own self-righteousness.
This name says we can be alright, because it is the Lord’s name, who becomes our righteousness. 2 Samuel 7 :11 says: “The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you”
Jesus Christ always looked to His Father. He always called on His Father, and loved Him with his heart, soul and mind. He loved his neighbours and his enemies. Even on the cross, he called out, ‘Father forgive them.’
He is the Lord our Righteousness.
He kept the commandments for you. He loved, and forgave, in every situation, for you. He passed every trial for you. He went to the cross for you. He bore your sin and died just for you, exchanging your unrighteousness for his perfect righteousness.
On the third day he rose for you, for your justification. You will never have to justify yourself again. He took all your guilt away. He ascended into Heaven for you. And he sits at the right hand of his Father for you, having conquered every one of your unrighteous deeds.
God looks at his son and says to you, ‘All your rightness has been found in this man. He became a man for you. He lives and prays for you. You are right because he has made you right. He died with all your sin on the tree.’
If you think you’ll always be a failure or you’ll never be good enough to be a Christian, look away from yourself because your righteousness is in him. There is nothing so bad that it can’t be washed clean. There is no accusation that is not answered by the Lord our Righteousness, Jehovah Tsidkenu.
So, if you feel all wrong, and incapable of ever putting it right, stop trying. Jesus died on the cross for your justification, and the whole of the Bible testifies to this. Simply come to Jesus as a sinner. Come right now and tell him.
The truth is, none of us has any righteousness. But Jesus has given us all of his righteousness. Imagine a dying man, lying in bed with 2 piles of stuff at each side of the bed. One pile represented all the bad things he had done in his life, and the other represented all the good things he had done in his life. On his death, the man ran from both piles into the arms of Jesus.
All that matters is to be right with God through Jesus Christ.
Martin Luther, one of the greatest thinkers of the Christian church, had a very difficult life. For many years his life was in danger from the most powerful empire in the world at that time. He was forced to hide away, in a cell, in total isolation. Sometimes the pressure of this isolation proved unbearable, and his friends were so concerned about his depression that his pastor was called to speak to him. On one occasion Martin Luther could only look at his pastor, with heartbroken eyes. He could not speak a word. But he then wrote over and over again in the dust on his table ‘VIVIT’ - Latin for ‘He Lives’.
Because he lives, you can live also. Even if you feel overwhelmed, helpless, and hopeless, by remembering that ‘He Lives’, you will know hope. You can live because he lives and intercedes for You. He died and rose for your justification. You are ‘alright’ simply because his name is Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord Our Righteousness. Just look to him.
If you’re not a Christian and you want to be right with God, run to the only place where all your wrong is put right, to the only one who can bring you hope. Run to the Lord Our Righteousness, Jesus Christ.
Jeremiah 23:5 - 23:6
5 “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. 6 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.’