The people of Jeremiah’s day had a king (Zedekiah) who was foolish, capricious, and wicked, and they longed for a leader who would be wise, just, and righteous. So Jeremiah’s prophecy was music to their ears:
“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)
While Zedekiah’s name meant “The Lord is Righteous,” Jeremiah explained that this coming King would be called “The Lord Is Our Righteousness.” He will be the opposite of leaders like Zedekiah. He will do what is just and right. He will bring restitution to the victims of theft, and he will protect the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow. He will not shed innocent blood.
The people needed a righteous king not only because their king was unrighteous but because they, too, were unrighteous. And this wise King will be righteous for his people in a way that was, perhaps, beyond Jeremiah’s comprehension. The goodness, integrity, and moral perfection of the Righteous Branch will belong to God’s people. His righteousness will become their righteousness.
Jesus Christ is righteous for his people. His righteousness belongs to them. All his righteous deeds fulfill the law his people could never keep. His righteous sufferings satisfy the atonement they could never pay. “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are” (Romans 3: 22). The only way God can accept unacceptable sinners is when we, in faith, say, “The Lord Our Righteousness will be my righteousness.”
Prayer – Jesus, you are ‘The Lord Our Righteousness” and you are my righteousness. And I know that tomorrow’s sins will not erase this reality, nor will my good works improve your righteousness. I stand trusting in your righteousness, not my own. AMEN.
Song: Lord I Need You - Matt Maher
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.