Righteousness; January 25, 2021

Psalm 85:13 Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.

Yesterday in our service we sang a song by Noriko Sasaki based on Hosea 10:12 that I translated into English several years ago, and it has been running through my mind ever since.

Sow for yourselves righteousness and you will find
That you will reap the fruit of God’s unfailing love.
Break up the ground within your heart and turn to Him,
For now the time has come to seek the Lord.
The Lord will come and shower righteousness on you.
The Lord will come and shower righteousness on you.

And now, this is in today’s reading! Psalm 85 seems to be remarkably applicable to America today. From verse one it talks about how God has been gracious in the past, and then verse four says, “Restore us again, O God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us.” That couldn’t be any more timely! However, this last verse is extremely important. America has done many good things, but in recent years there has been a rising tide of unrighteousness, and actions have consequences. Christians, even genuine believers, have tended to be passive, being satisfied if their own little bubble was blessed, rather than actively praying for those in leadership (1 Timothy 2:1-4) and destroying the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). In the process, society has become increasingly polluted. Even within the memory of most adults, standards of decency have eroded to an amazing degree, and things that were acknowledged as disgraceful not long ago are now even celebrated. If we want our Lord to come in blessing, we have to remember this verse. It is interesting that in English we say that righteousness “prepares the way for [the Lord’s] steps,” but the Japanese says, “Righteousness makes a road of the Lord’s footprints.” In other words, righteousness is involved in the Lord’s coming and going, and we must not forget that. We cannot be fully righteous on our own, but at the same time we aren’t to be casual about it and say, “He counts my faith as righteousness, so it doesn’t matter.” Paul was very clear on that point! (Romans 6:15) For America to experience the restoration that so many desire, we have to make righteousness a priority.

I don’t live in America, but this applies as much to me as it does to anyone. I too am susceptible to the rising tide of filth. I am to recognize it and stand firm against it. Internet browsing is a minefield, and “click bait” is often poisonous. I have enjoyed science fiction ever since I first encountered it in my teens, but I was recently shocked to encounter filth in a book I had downloaded. Whether that is an accurate reflection of society or not is beside the point. I don’t need to be taking it in! My chief goal is fellowship with my Lord and obedience to Him, and that is inseparable from righteousness, just as this verse says. I am never to be holier-than-thou in dealing with others, but I must never take holiness lightly.

Father, thank You for this reminder. I am to be vigilant at all times and make Jesus my standard. Help me be Your agent in every area of my life, whether it seems to involve others or not, to that I may be increasingly transformed into the likeness of Your Son, (Romans 8:29) for Your pleasure and glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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