Righteousness provides justice and security.
2 Chronicles 9:8 Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on his throne as king to rule for the Lord your God. Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them forever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness.”
When the unrighteous reign the winds of change blow constantly to destabilize governments, municipalities and lives. The standard by which decisions are declared fluctuates with bribes and personal interests. Leaders are surrounded by temptation and insubordination. Anarchy stands only at a distance, and only for a short time.
We can see the effects of unrighteous governments throughout the world. They are characterized by violence and oppression. They are influenced by radical groups of people, or directly supported by radical groups. But many authorities are much more subtle in the injustice they promote. The freedoms and security of the people are limited by the decisions of others to inflict damage on society.
When the righteous rule the people rejoice because justice and righteousness is served. Righteousness stands firm, unwavering on God’s laws. Righteousness requires courage and stamina to walk with love for others. Righteousness resists the temptations of bribes and self gratification; and true righteousness seeks first for the benefits of the Kingdom of God. The result of God’s influence on such an authority is freedom and prosperity for the people; a stabilized government and peace on the borders.
All of these things can be seen in the kingdom of Israel during the reign of Solomon. Solomon was the recipient of a kingdom that his father David secured through many battles while serving God in righteousness. Scriptures tell us God called David a man after His own heart. David had a zeal for all the ordinances of God; for the temple service, worship, and justice of God’s decrees. The result was such, that by the time Solomon inherited the kingdom, the fear of God was upon all the nations of the world and no nation desired to commit in battle with Israel. Solomon also committed to serve God wholeheartedly and the prosperity of the kingdom was so great we are told silver became as numerous as stones and the glory of his kingdom was unsurpassed.
It is a notable fact, David twice acted against God’s instructions; once he had a census taken of all the able bodied soldiers in his kingdom. After the census God sent a plague on all the kingdom and thousands of people died as a result of Davids’ action. Another time David lay with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, and following this action , he murdered Uriah to hide his guilt. Later, David fled from his own son, Absalom, as a result of his action of adultery. The whole kingdom was unstable during this time. Again, many people loss their life and Absalom, Davids’ own son died.
Solomon received a kingdom with turmoil. He had to eradicate threats to his throne which included having Joab, his older cousin, and Adonijah, his half brother killed. After he purged the kingdom he had stability. God blessed Solomon with more wealth then any other king on earth. His fame spread to the corners of the world. It was through the wisdom which God gave Solomon, Solomon was able to write Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. It is the book of Proverbs which emphasizes the purity of our faith as being the foundation of security. Proverbs informs us the need to be steadfast in the fear of the Lord.
Prov.16:12 says.” Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness.”
But Solomon abandoned all his wisdom to seek out pleasure in forbidden areas. He married many women; and many of them were from other kingdoms. He then built altars for the gods’ that these wives worshiped; and he himself worshiped these gods. Solomon lead the nation into idolatry and prepared the atmosphere for the fall of the Israeli empire. Solomon’s son, Rehoboam then inherited a kingdom with inner turmoil. The kingdom was split. Ten tribes of Israel chose to follow Jeroboam as their king as a second nation was created. One of Rehaboam’s first acts was to build idols for the new nation to worship and the decline of the nation followed immediately. The protection of God which was provided through righteousness was removed; and the borders of Israel suffered until the people were deported from their homeland.
Righteousness provides stability and safety to a people. Righteousness delivers justice and wealth.
Isaiah 9:7, Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
There is no oppression in righteousness.
Job 37:23 says,” The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.”
Psalm 36:6 declares, ” Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.”
The Lord will be the one who brings justice to the oppressed through righteousness.
Psalm 103:6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
Many times we as Christians see God, our Father, as oppressive. We can be concerned about drawing closer to Him for fear He will crush or reject us. The very nature of God provides mercy and love for all of us, even the animals. We can accept the fear of the Lord because the fear should never be oppressive, rather the fear of the Lord is allowing God to be our influence instead of those things which would draw us away from Him. Then we can receive gratefully, God’s righteous judgments and standards because He has His eye on all of us to preserve and bless us. He desires to bestow His blessings on us and our children. He desires to reward us as we walk in His righteousness.
Isaiah 32:17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
Hosea 2:19 I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.
Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, and grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting, so they will be called “oaks of righteousness”, the planting of the Lord that He may be glorified.
Do you notice how in verse 3 we are called “oaks of righteousness” the planting of the Lord? The Holy Spirit is doing the work in our lives. We are His planting. This is the very scripture Jesus read in the synagogue when He declared this scripture was being fulfilled in their midst. When we reflect on Jesus life we can see that He was never oppressive. The people flocked to Him for Mercy and acceptance. Likewise, we find ourselves drawn to Him, but not oppressed by Him. When Phillip asked Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus responded to Phillip and to us, if you see Jesus you see the Father. God, our Father, the Lord of all, King of kings, Supreme Authority; He is the One whom we answer to for our lives; He is NOT oppressive!
Righteousness provides Love, Joy and Peace.
Hosea 10:12 Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.
James 3:18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
Psalm 45:7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.
Psalm 85:10 Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Psalm 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.
Psalm 103:17 But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children.
Righteousness will deliver us from death.
We have covered the fact that we are saved through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We do not have to fear death or an eternal separation from God as we wear the righteousness of Jesus. There is no second death. Death has come to us through sin. The requirement of sin was paid by the sacrifice of Jesus. There is no foundation for death’s claim on our lives.
Righteousness will also provide the obvious protection from death. We will have God’s physical protection on our lives as we walk in righteousness.
Prov. 11:4 Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.
Prov. 11:6 The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.
Prov 12:28 In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.
Prov. 16:28 Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness
Prov. 21:21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.
Prov. 10:2 Ill-gotten treasures have no lasting value, but righteousness delivers from death.
I would like to challenge you with one more suggestion righteousness will overcome death. I will not linger on it. I think it will stir up controversy which is unproductive for our purposes. But consider these points. Our penalty for sin is eternal death, separation from God, our Father and sin was the initiator of our physical death. Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. Satan came to kill, steal and destroy. Jesus came to undo all the works of the devil. Sickness entered the stage through the fall of man. Isaiah tells us that by the stripes that were inflicted on Jesus’ back, when He was flogged, we are healed. Sin has no claim on us as we walk in His righteousness. Death has no claim on us as we walk in His righteousness. Sickness has no claim on us as we walk in His righteousness. What could possibly kill us physically?
Remember, Enoch walked with God and then was no more.
The last enemy to be defeated is death. If we have seen the defeat of death in the resurrection alone; why are we told the last enemy defeated will be death and not was death? Why do people die physically even after accepting salvation in Jesus Christ?
The Wisdom Train
Picture in your mind a rail road track. The Wisdom train is going to be riding down this track. The direction that this vehicle is taking is directed by 2 rails. One rail is labeled “The Fear of the Lord”, the other rail is labeled “Righteousness.” These two rails work side by side. When “Righteousness” (the rail) turns to the left, “The Fear of the Lord” turns to the left. If “Righteousness” goes upward so does “The Fear of the Lord.” The reason is Because righteousness is found in the character of God, and the fear of the Lord will always point you toward righteousness. These two vital elements of Wisdom move in an ebb and flow, one with another, always in perfect harmony. If the two rails of a track were to go into two different directions the train would be derailed. Therefore, if we want to walk in wisdom we must have the foundation of “the Fear of the Lord” and “Righteousness” as a united guide.
Our rail road works with this principle. As a believer in Christ I am faced with a decision. I understand God’s direction in a given situation. Because I love God, I want to do His will. Because of the sinful nature which I am consistently battling, I want what is more centered around myself. I have a tendency to choose something between God’s position and my own; or just out right, my own desire. So let’s suppose I jump aboard the train of wisdom. I am now riding down the track and I come to this juncture in the road. I see righteousness pointing straight forward. Because I have a healthy fear of the Lord, I refuse to veer to the right or to the left on issues and submit to God. I move with righteousness and reap the blessings that come with righteousness. One of these benefits is my faith is perfected by the righteous action; as it was motivated by the Love, increased through the Knowledge of God.
This pattern of behavior is practiced on a regular basis as I am consistently walking in a relationship with God. His perfect love expands in my life and influences my decisions. I am growing in knowledge and understanding. I am learning to both discern and follow righteousness. As I follow righteousness my faith is being perfected and my fear of God is being dispelled. I learn to receive praise from the one who I would otherwise be fearful of. I am being formed in the image of Christ.
Psalm 5:8 Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies— make your way straight before me.
Prov. 8:20 I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice
Prov. 11:5 The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness.
To summarize, Righteousness points me in the direction that I must take. The fear of the Lord is the element that keeps me from wanting to challenge the righteous decree. As I grow into the likeness of God I have a greater love for others and less desire to serve myself. I understand the purpose for the law; and I become eager to follow God’s decree. There is less fear because I am more in compliance. I have become more compliant though, not because of obeying righteous mandates, or by being fearful of God. I became more compliant by growing in the “Knowledge of the Holy One.” I will expound on knowledge later; but I hope you are beginning to see how the pillars of wisdom are intertwined and cannot stand alone and accomplish their purpose.
So what is righteousness? Righteousness is the heart attitude that displays the character and heart of God in our actions, words and intentions.
Righteousness is much more than doing right or speaking right. It is a heart attitude. We must be conformed from a creature of self centered desires to a creation of agape love. There is no righteousness outside of God. God enhances all that is right. We may stand in agreement with God. But we will never stand righteously in any opposition to God.
Let us live out and proclaim God’s righteousness to the world. Let His Glory be displayed in our lives. Let His kindnesses walk before us and be given as gifts to men.
Psalm 35:28 My tongue will proclaim your righteousness, your praises all day long.
Psalm 40:10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help. I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly.
Psalm 50:6 And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice
Psalm 51:14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.