Jehovah Tsidkenu – The Lord Our Righteousness5 min read
Jeremiah 23:1-8 – Background
Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of that prophecy regarding the Branch: He is the Lord our Righteousness. He is Jehovah. Only God Himself could lead His people out of bondage; only God Himself could atone for sin. When we under-emphasize the deity of Christ, we are on dangerous ground; and we will tend to forget our place.
We must remember that we too were not only led by false shepherds, but we willingly followed after them because of our lust. But now we are returned to Jehovah Roi – the Lord our Shepherd – and we must always look to Him for guidance in the paths of righteousness. After all, He is our righteousness. It is that Branch Whom we must turn to.
Elements of Righteousness
Because the Lord is our righteousness, He must be our focus. When it comes to living righteously, there are two approaches. One may try with all his might to conquer the habit of sin, while the other may instead saturate his mind in God’s Word. When one tries to forget something, it does not happen when he focuses on forgetting; but rather it comes when he diverts his focus to another thing altogether. When we desire to conquer sin, we must look to God alone.
Furthermore, righteousness involves discernment from God’s Word. Our example of righteousness is seen in the future exercising judgment and justice, according to verse five. And in the same way, we must uphold justice and discern righteously, according to God’s Word. Otherwise, we’ve missed our focus. Some would compromise truth because they don’t judge at all, while others would tend towards legalism, because they judge outside of God’s Word. We must forsake these positions at all costs and get back to our Source of righteousness – God Himself.
Fleeing from the False
In our passage, we see God’s anger toward those who lead the sheep astray. They were put in control over the sheep, and yet they forsook the flock, neglecting their duty. We must learn to identify these and flee from them; they can only tend to ruin. The mind is easily deceived, and if we allow our guards to be let down, those men/women will confound godly thinking. There are many TV “evangelists” today who are willing to compromise Scripture merely for money or salvation from embarrassment, while there are many good, godly men who will cleave to God’s Word when teaching. Either way, when we rest on man, they will fail us. We must get back to God’s Word, remembering our foundations. If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Ps. 11:3). We must not let corruption deceive us when it comes to God’s Word, we must stand firm, and we must abhor that which is evil and cleave to that which is good. Let’s face it – this is something we all need to work on. We must be like the Bereans – people who search the Scriptures daily to see if these things be true. If it is not true, we must flee. Let us instead cleave to that which is good – the Lord Himself.
Getting Back to Our Own Land
Finally, Jeremiah spoke of Israel returning to their own land. It was essential to remember the promised land from God, because it was precious to Him. As we seek to be righteous for the Lord, there is a place which God holds dear to His heart – the presence of God. How highly do we hold the meetings of the local assembly? How much do we yearn to seek Him in prayer on a constant, regular basis? We must get back to our own land! The world is not where we belong – we are in it, but not of it (at all). We must realize the difference. Let’s not get caught up in worldly passions. Is what we follow or look to something that unbelievers generally enjoy? Perhaps, then, we must re-think our position when it comes to the things of God. Nothing of the world should take priority over anything eternal – not in the least. It is the place of God that should be precious to us, for only in His presence and will can we properly say “Jehovah-Tsidkenu.” We must not loose sight of our foundations.