Righteousness is one of those “religious” words that people don’t know what to do with. Many people associate it with being self-righteous, a person who looks down on others. Others think that the word righteous describes people who are morally and ethically superior. But neither of these definitions are how YHWH sees His people.
YHWH calls people to be righteous because He is righteous… and we are meant to be His reflection on earth. John captured this idea in one of his letters:
1 John 2:29
If you know that He [YHWH] is righteous [Greek: dikaios], you know that everyone who practices righteousness [dikaiosynen] also has been born of Him.
We are YHWH’s children; YHWH is righteous, and we are to reflect His righteousness! When we are not righteous we are not representing Him… we are not bearing His name.
This is what God YHWH says, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:
“I am YHWH, I have called You in righteousness [v-tsedeq], I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, and I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison.
I am YHWH, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, now I declare new things; before they sprout I proclaim them to you.”
Garden imagery and righteousness are closely connected in the Bible. Humans were exiled out of the Garden of Eden, and it is our righteousness (reflecting YHWH) that guides us back on the right path.
But it was the sacrifice of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah who paid our entrance fee back into the Garden of Eden. He broke the chains of death so we, forged in righteousness, could return to the Garden at the end of our days and see God, face to face.
For YHWH is righteous [tsadiq], He loves righteousness [ts’daqoht]; the upright will see His face.
For more on the Hebrew concept of righteousness, click below:
Next week: LAUGHTER