“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.’” Jeremiah 23:5-6
The book of Jeremiah was written to the people in Judah warning them of their impending judgment. God was cautioning Judah that punishment would be coming from the nation of Babylon if they didn’t quickly and truly repent from their sins, remove their idols, and begin again to worship and obey the one true God. However, in the middle of all the judgments and punishments, as with every other prophetic book in the Old Testament, there are promises that one day God will renew Israel as His people and once again shower them with His love.
One of these promises is in Jeremiah 23 that is quoted above. This prophesies that one day someone will come from the line of David who will “reign as king and deal wisely” and this king will also “execute justice and righteousness in the land.” Many of the past several kings of Judah were not wise, justice, and righteous but were selfish, prideful, and unjust. Verse 6 starts by promising that salvation will come to Judah and that Israel will be safe in that day.
Maybe the most surprising is the last promise of verse 6, where God says this king will be given the title “The Lord is our righteousness.” At this point, I can imagine those living in Judah must have been very confused. They might have been thinking, “The Lord is the one who declares me guilty as I have disobeyed His commandments. How can the one who condemns me also be the one that saves me? The same person cannot judge me and save me.” However, when we consider the beauty of God that’s exactly what happens. In the love and graciousness of our Father, He has ordained it so that He is the one before who we are guilty but also the only one that can declare us as innocent. What a reminder of undeserved grace!
Romans 3:26 says, “It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” God certainly is just (1 John 1:9) but He is also our justifier. We are commanded to know God as both our judge and our justifier; to know that we stand guilty before no one else but also to know we are people “who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:5). We know what we deserve through justice and we know what we receive from the justifier and this theological reality should bring us to a posture of grace & humility as we respond to other people in our life.
Take some time today to worship God for this truth!
Do your words and actions show the grace and humility of one who has been justified to those around you?
What is one way you can extend grace to others in your life?
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While leading a team on a week-long trek of the Himalayas, bestselling author and pastor David Platt was stunned by the human needs he encountered, an experience so dramatic that it “changed the trajectory of my life.” Through unforgettable encounters, his eyes were opened to the people behind the statistics and compelled him to wrestle with his assumptions about faith. Platt has crafted an irresistible message about what it means to give your life for the gospel–to finally stop talking about faith and truly start living it.
Prayer Focus (Algeria):
There is growth in the Algerian church over the past decade. While impossible to assess accurately, some believe the number of believers far exceeds 100,000. New fellowships are popping p all over the country. This is in part due to the commitment of Berber believers to move into unreached, Arab areas in order to sow the seeds of the good news. Pray God will continue to open doors and avail people of the gospel.
Bible Study Tip:
If you’ve been following these tips from the beginning, we’ve been working through a specific Bible study process for which there are three stages: Comprehension, Interpretation, and Application. The Application stage contains a series of questions that cause us to think about the implications of a passage of Scripture on our lives. The final two questions are, Where is our culture or our own thinking and beliefs at odds with the passage? And, How can this passage inform our prayers? As with other questions, sometimes the answers to these are easy and sometimes they are not as obvious. For the times the answers are not as obvious, we can always pray and ask that God would reveal the blindspots in our hearts and minds, that He would help us grow in our understanding of His word, and that He would help us love Him and others better every day. And we can always praise Him for His goodness, righteousness, and sovereign care over all creation!
When God justifies the ungodly, he does not declare that the sinner is innocent, but that satisfaction for his sins has been made, and that, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, he has a title to eternal life…a title which is founded in justice.
-Ernest F. Kevan
A string walks into a bar with a few friends and orders a root beer. The bartender says, “I’m sorry, but we don’t serve strings here.” The string goes back to his table. He ties himself in a loop and messes up the top of his hair. He walks back up to the bar and orders a root beer. The bartender squints at him and says, “Hey, aren’t you a string?” The string says, “Nope, I’m a frayed knot.”