Jeremiah 23:5-6 “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for 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 Righteous Savior.”
George Whitfield, the famous eighteenth century preacher said, “self-righteousness is the last idol rooted out of our heart.” What a profound connection! Righteousness indicates the source of our standard for virtue, morality and decency. When that standard rests upon anyone other than God we run the risk of perverting our trust and compromising our worship. I think that’s why Whitfield could so clearly call self-righteousness out as idolatry.
One of the names for God in the Old Testament is Jehovah Tsidkenu (Jeremiah 23:6). It means “the Lord our righteousness.” God revealed this name to Jeremiah when the source of Israel’s standard had slipped from God to themselves. Evidently, they were replacing Jehovah with their own names….It resulted in chaos as well as apostasy because the standard just wasn’t big enough. With the name Jehovah Tsidkenu, God promised to send One who would restore a righteousness based on his name alone. A “Righteous Savior” who could rescue his people from the folly of self-adulation.
Jesus addressed the same issue when he told the parable of the wedding feast (Matthew 22). Although the invitation to the banquet extended to everyone, this was no free-for-all. The one who showed up without the wedding garment was thrown out. He had refused to exchange his estimation of what was right for the only one that mattered. His insistence on “my way or the highway” landed him on the highway all right…the highway to hell!
The late David Wilkerson wrote if we don’t understand the Lord is our righteousness we’re going to be swept away with the rest of the world. Unless God himself is our standard, we have no foundation. So it’s time to abandon all notions of self-righteousness. Stop calling upon Becky (insert your own name) Tsidkenu to determine the right way. Don’t pollute your worship of God with idols of self. Rest on the only standard big enough, wise enough, complete enough to bear the weight of every decision you make….