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Alicia Blackwood :: Jehovah Tsidkenu—The Lord our Righteousness

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Part I. JEHOVAH TSIDKENU

"THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jeremiah 23:6-Jeremiah 34:16)

Where do we learn this glorious name and have we any claim to its blessing?

Though Israel sinned and departed from God, yet did the Lord not forget His Covenant-for-"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time will I cause the Branch of Righteousness to grow up unto David" (Jeremiah 32:14-15) "…and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgement and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is the name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

Joy to His ancient people!
Your bonds He comes to sever,
And now, 'tis done!
The Lord hath won,
And ye are free for ever.

Joy to the ransom'd nations!
The foe, the rav'ning lion,
Is bound in chains,
While Jesus reigns
King of the earth, in Zion.

Yes! "Israel is beloved for the fathers' sakes" (Romans 11:28), and though "even unto this day, when Moses is read the veil is upon their heart" (2 Corinthians 3:15), yet the time of their return shall come.

St. Paul "bore record that Israel had a zeal of God but not according to knowledge" (Romans 10:2). "They followed after righteousness but could not attain unto it." Wherefore? "Because they sought it not by faith" (Romans 9:31-32). "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God" (Romans 10:3).

But when the veil shall be taken away, and God shall pour upon them the spirit of grace and of supplication, then shall they acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah, and then will they seek and know this glorious name Jehovah Tsidkenu.

Then will the Lord "cleanse them from their iniquity whereby they have sinned against Him" (Jeremiah 33:8) "and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth" (Jeremiah 33:6); "and Jerusalem shall be Holiness unto the Lord of Hosts" (Zechariah 14:16; 14:21). "Sing then O daughter of Zion; shout O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord hath taken away thy judgments." The King of Israel "even the Lord is in the midst of thee…thou shalt not see evil any more" (Zephaniah 3:14-15). Such are the promises to Israel. But what is our right to enter this glorious Tower?

The breaking off the branches caused "the wild olive-tree to be grafted in!" (Romans 11:17). The defection of Israel was the reconciling of the world unto God. "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but towards thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness" (Romans 11:22; 11:29).

"The gifts and calling of God are without repentance," and the promise was, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 22:18). Israel was given to be a light to the Gentiles, that the salvation of God should be unto the end of the earth. For "as Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness" (Genesis 15:6). "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham" (Galatians 3:7). And Christ hath redeemed us, that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles (Galatians 3:14), "that they should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the Gospel" (Ephesians 3:6). This is our right and claim, and Jehovah Tsidkenu is also The Lord our Righteousness.

Thus "may we, according to His promise," look also for "a new Heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth Righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13), and to the "Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Revelation 21:2); and this is the name also wherewith she shall be called, "the Lord our Righteousness" (Jeremiah 33:16).

Israel's Jehovah is therefore our Jehovah, for "there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek" (Romans 10:12), for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him; for "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13).

This name is a strong Tower indeed! It is a name of Wonder! "It is none other than the House of God, and the Gate of Heaven!" (Genesis 28:17).

Here we approach the threshold of our Home! "The sanctuary of God" (Psalm 73:17), "the Habitation of His Holiness" (2 Chronicles 30:27).

Here dwells the Lord our King
The Lord our Righteousness
Triumphant o'er the world and sin,
The Prince of Peace.

On Zion's sacred height
His Kingdom still maintains
And glorious with the saints in light
For ever reigns.

But behold what is inscribed on this Tower? It is as the mitre of The High Priest, "Holiness to the Lord" (Exodus 28:36).

"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord, or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart. He that walketh uprightly and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation" (Psalm 24:3-5).

Such only can dwell in this Tower!

Ah, then who among mortal men can enter? To whom can this apply?

Jesus only was the perfect man, as to the world "there is none righteous-not one!" (Romans 3:10).

Yet, is not this Tower Jehovah Tsidkenu?

Yes! In that day, that day of suffering, in that day when darkness covered the earth, iniquity was purged, "an end was made of sin, God reconciled the world unto Himself, and everlasting righteousness was brought in!" (Daniel 9:24); even "the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference" (Romans 3:22). He is the Lord our Righteous, and through Him, and by Him all who will can come, can claim to enter in, for by that one offering "He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." (Hebrews 10:14).

I have been at the altar and witness'd the Lamb
Burnt wholly to ashes for me!
And watch'd its sweet savour ascending on high,
Accepted, O Father, by Thee.

And lo! while I gazed at the glorious light,
A voice from above reached mine ears;
By this thine iniquity's taken away
And no trace of it on thee appears.

An end for thy sin has been made for thee here
By Him who its penalty bore:
With blood it is blotted eternally out,
And I will not remember it more.

Oh to realize this! Justified freely by His grace, and if justified, then sanctified, if sanctified then perfected for ever! And in that great Day, "presented faultless before the Presence of His glory with exceeding joy!" (Jude 24).

Then let us enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise" (Psalm 100:4). "Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go into them and I will praise the Lord: this gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter" (Psalm 118:19-20).

It has been said by an old divine that "the gate was grace, and the city was glory." And truly grace only could bring us to this gate, and it is by this gate only that we enter the Eternal City!

It is by grace only that we are made new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is through grace, that the world loses its charms, and old things pass away. It is grace that gives faith to raise the affections to Heaven and set them on heavenly things, enabling us even in this our imperfect state to apprehend something of that ineffable Holiness, which dwells only in the eternal City of glory.

Well, may it be called "an acceptable year" (Luke 4:19) to man, when "Jesus was anointed to preach the good tidings unto the meek" (Isaiah 61:1), to proclaim such grace and mercy to poor sinners, when He saw there was none to help, and His own arm brought salvation! when He saw the transgression of the law, and came Himself to obey it. "I delight to do Thy will, Oh my God, yea Thy law is within my heart" (Psalm 40:8).

Oh! it is an acceptable year to such as are lost, and who know it, and who know also that there is salvation in Christ but in no other.

Acceptable to such as are as "brands plucked out of the fire" (Zechariah 3:2), and to whom the voice comes "Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee and I will clothe thee with change of raiment" (Zechariah 3:4), so shall they "see His face with joy for He will render unto man His righteousness" (Job 33:26).

Thus hath the Lord given Himself for His Church and adorned her as a bride, "that He might present her to Himself a glorious Church without spot, holy, and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:27). He hath adorned her with every grace, and clothed her with the righteousness of her beloved, that at the morning of the resurrection, she should arise and shine in the full splendour of Eternal glory.

Oh none other could have done this! no created being could cleanse from sin, "I, even I am the Lord, beside me there is no saviour." (Isaiah 43:11).

Yes! He only is Jehovah Tsidkenu, and through that righteousness alone can we enter Heaven, on that righteousness will the eye of faith ever rest, for through it only we have life. It must be our Pole-star here, and in the day of Judgment when all must stand before the presence of the Judge of the whole earth, oh! then it will be our covering, our glory for ever and ever!

"Lift up your eyes to the Heavens and look upon the earth beneath, for the Heavens shall vanish like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished" (Isaiah 51:6).

This Righteousness of Christ is shown in His life, His sufferings and His death, and still further declared by His resurrection. The Holy One could not see corruption, He rose from the grave and ascended into Heaven, whither He has gone as the Great Forerunner, sealed as the "Beloved Son in whom the Father was well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). And again did Jesus condescend to assure His people of its truth and their participation of His glory, by a marvellous exhibition.

Again, let us think of Stephen, that man "full of faith and the Holy Ghost who was so honoured in his testimony of Christ, that even here below, that covering of righteousness was made visible; for they, even his enemies who sat in the council against him saw his face, as it had been the face of an angel" (Acts 6:15).

And for Stephen himself how did the Lord testify to him the assurance of acceptance?

"Behold, I see the Heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right Hand of God." (Acts 7:56).

How wonderful is the love of God in condescending thus by such a manifestation to encourage us to believe the great and precious promises which He has left with us!

He promises to clothe us with His righteousness and He shows us its accomplishment!

He promises that where He is there shall His servant be, and lo! His faithful Stephen beholds his Saviour ready to receive the spirit committed to His care!

Such a sight as this may not be granted to us, but we may be certain that the promises given by Him who is our Jehovah Tsidkenu can never fail them who enter this Tower of strength-this Tower of salvation. Here is our justification. Here is our sanctification, here our glorification, and here is our Everlasting Righteousness. "According to Thy name, O God, so is Thy praise unto the end of the earth; Thy right hand is full of righteousness" (Psalm 48:10).

Hopeless and outcast once we lay,
Worthy Thy hate and scorn,
But love like Thine could find a way
To rescue and adorn.

Dear Saviour from Thy bleeding veins
A living Fountain flows
To wash Thy Bride from all her stains
And soothe her deepest woes.

Cleansed from her sins, renewed by grace,
Thy Royal Throne above
Dear Saviour, is her destined place
Her sweet abode Thy Love.

Thine eye, in that unclouded day
Shall with supreme delight
Thy fair and glorious Bride survey
Unblemished in Thy sight.



Part II JEHOVAH TSIDKENU

PERSONAL APPLICATION

Oh Lord, my righteousness. "Thou art my High Tower, my Rock of defence, my Fortress!" (Psalm 18:2; 144:2).

Unto Thee will I run, and under Thy wing is my shelter; "For Thou wilt cover me with Thy feathers, and under Thy wings will I trust: and Thy Truth shall be my shield and buckler" (Psalm 91:4).

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord" (Isaiah 54:17).

This, dear friend, is our confidence, and this, "saith the Lord," is its seal. Oh, blessed heritage! For "the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever" (Isaiah 32:17).

We read of the "secret of the Lord" as belong only to those that fear Him, and "to them He will reveal His covenant" (Psalm 25:14). Such only "understand righteousness, and judgment and equity, yea, every good path" (Proverbs 2:9). If therefore this secret be revealed to us-if to us it be given to understand righteousness, and to have a right faith in the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ-how great is that gift! Unto us then "will the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings" (Malachi 4:2).

He will take away the heart of stone, and write His law upon the new heart of flesh, and put His Spirit within (Ezekiel 36:26; Hebrews 10:16), and give us grace to receive that law with faith and love, as the expression of the holiness of God, which henceforth, following in the foot-prints of our Lord will be our delight.

And thus Christ is "made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30), and "in Him shall we glory" (Jeremiah 4:2).

The salvation and safety of the Lord's people are owing to the righteousness of Christ, and all the blessings and mercies extolled throughout the Old Testament are the fruits of that perfect righteousness which is imputed to us, for what blessings or mercies can the law give? It but condemns on every side, for it is transgressed on every side; and the perfect justice of God demands death as the penalty.

Oh, consider! But for this wonderful Substitute, where could the sinner stand?

As redemption, shown in the silver sockets of the Tabernacle, was the foundation of the worship of God in the wilderness, so is the righteousness of Christ, as typified by the mercy-seat covering the broken law-the top stone of that salvation by which we enter Heaven.

On this point let us not be deceived, though Satan, that ever watchful tempter, would have us believe and act as though there were at least some intermingling of our works with the work of Christ necessary, even perhaps something whereby we might claim His help. No. "Christ is the Rock; His work is perfect" (Deuteronomy 32:4).

Jesus needs no mixing of corruptible wool with His pure and white linen (Leviticus 19:19). None have righteous wherewith to claim anything, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Christ only is the righteous One, And any act that we may do, must be accepted through Christ, and perfumed with the incense of His merits, ere it can be pleasing unto God.

Self-righteousness is a temptation to us in so many forms; it is perhaps the most subtle of Satan's weapons, and is the most difficult evil to be rooted out, if indeed we are ever free from it in some degree on this side the grave.

Substituted righteousness is so mysterious, and so foreign to the natural man, that its apprehension is grasped only by the teaching of God, revealed by the Holy Spirit; and yet it was the first lesson taught to Adam as he left the garden of Eden.

The trees could not hide him, neither could the woven fig-leaves cover his nakedness. But by vicarious bloodshedding was atonement made, and with vicarious clothing was he clothed.

And we are taught the same: for "God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). And that only-begotten Son Jesus Christ, being both God and man, wrought out by His life a perfect robe of righteousness wherewith to clothe all them that believe, and, by His death, made a perfect atonement for all the sins they have committed. So that as sin was brought in "and reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 5:21). And by that righteousness Christ magnified the law and made it honourable, fulfilling every demand both as to its penalty and its perfection of holiness. So that His redeemed "might be found in Him, not having their own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Philippians 3:9).

Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness,
My beauty are, my glorious dress
Midst flaming worlds, in these array'd,
With joy shall I lift up my head.

When from the dust of death I rise
To claim my mansion in the skies,
E'en then shall this be all my plea,
Jesus hath liv'd-hath died for me.'

Bold shall I stand in, that great day:
For who aught to my charge shall lay,
If through Thy blood absolved I am
From sin's tremendous curse and shame?

This spotless robe the same appears,
When ruined nature sinks in years;
No age can change its glorious hue,
The robe of Christ is ever new.

Thus was Christ's righteousness "witnessed by the law" (Romans 3:26), and throughout the Old Testament it is witnessed by the prophets. David scarcely speaks, but of the righteousness of the Lord. "My tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness" (Psalm 51:14). And as St. Paul would "glory only in the cross of Christ" (Galatians 6:14), so David would "talk of the righteousness of the Lord all the day long…I will make mention of Thy righteousness, even of Thine only" (Psalm 71:24). And again, when the "Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from Heaven" (Psalm 85:11), Isaiah takes up the refrain: "Drop down ye heavens from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it" (Isaiah 45:8). "Righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Psalm 85:10).

No marvel that it is the theme of the prophets, and that it stands in the forefront of their prophecies; and no marvel that the natural man, with his corrupted nature, cannot comprehend unutterable purity, and the perfection of holiness. "Marvel not that I said unto thee ye must be born again (John 3:7) is our Lord's testimony: "For except a man be born again he cannot see" (he cannot understand) "the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). For that kingdom is righteousness. Yes. Spiritual things must be spiritually discerned.

"When the Comforter is come," said our Lord, "He will convince the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment" (John 16:8). We cannot separate these things. It is a threefold cord; for it is by convincing of sin, and being brought to see our helpless state, that the Comforter shows us wherein our relief; our hope, our safety lies. The rags of our own righteousness are then set aside, and our eyes being anointed with holy eyesalve, we see the glory and beauty of that seamless robe of Christ, in which only we can stand before God at the judgment seat in that great day.

Thus does the Comforter convince us of righteousness even the righteousness of God, and which we can possess only through and by faith in Christ Jesus; and these two convince of judgment.

Dear friend, let us take these words to our hearts. They are words of truth and soberness brought to us by the Comforter. That blessed name of Comforter, meaning also Strengthener, was given by Jesus Himself, and with the promise that He should abide with us for ever. Also He said: "If I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send Him unto you" (John 16:7). And the words He will bring to your remembrance are for the consolation of all who will receive them.

So may we exercise that faith which is the evidence of things not seen; for while we are surrounded by trials and temptations, we need constantly to be reminded that it is not our righteousness that will avail, but the righteousness which is by faith, and which is imputed to us and put upon us by Christ.

And as we near the haven of rest-it may be on a bed of sickness, or the closing of our career by reason of age-oh! how happy to realize the faithfulness of Christ and the certainty of salvation through Him, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy in the gift of eternal life. And such we could never have, did our salvation depend in any measure on ourselves or on our works.

I say, dear friend, to lay hold on this wonderful truth, then indeed shall we fear no evil as we pass through the valley. The voice of love and comfort shall sound in our ears: "Fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. When thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour" (Isaiah 43:1-3).

And do we desire a confirmation of this? Shall we say, like Philip, "Show us the Father and it sufficeth us?" (John 14:8-9). Yea, the Lord hath shown us this; for behold, Moses will tell us the Angel of the Covenant was in the cloud that guided Israel through the Red Sea. Joshua will assure us of safety in Jordan. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will bear testimony that a Fourth walked with them through the fire, and that Fourth "was like unto the Son of God" (Daniel 3:25). "Before Abraham was I am" (John 8:58). He who promised brought it to pass. Let us therefore have no doubting by the way: "For we shall know if we follow on to know the Lord;" (Hosea 6:3); for "Righteousness shall go before Him, and shall set us in the way of His steps" (Psalm 85:13).

Still onward urge your Heavenly way,
Dependent on Him day by day; His presence still entreat;
His precious name for ever bless;
Your glory, strength, and righteousness
In Him you are complete.

Yes, the handwriting of ordinances which was against us being blotted out (Colossians 2:14), nailed to the cross of Jesus; thus are we "complete in Him," the Jehovah Tsidkenu. And "He is the head of all principality and power" (Colossians 2:10).

Let me here record an instance which can never be obliterated from my mind.

A dear dying friend drew near her end. Before her illness she had been, as St. Paul, of the sect of Pharisees working FOR her salvation, but found no rest for her soul. After she was stricken with illness she was greatly concerned, for no longer had she strength to continue her supposed good works, and she had no peace.

One day, when lying on her sofa, she took the Book of God in her hand, and read; her attention was riveted; and after a while she suddenly exclaimed, "Oh! I see it now; I have never before understood this. It is as a flash of lightning. Jesus is my righteousness; He is my salvation."

Subsequently she often spoke of this, repeating, after long and silent thought, "I wonder at my blindness." "I can compare the change that came over me to nothing but lightning." As the end drew nigh she frequently spoke of the nearness of Jesus; saying, at times, "He is so near I feel as though I could touch Him;" and when the hour was come, so gently did the spirit take its flight, we could but say, knowing her faith, "She has but fallen asleep-in Jesus."

Clad in her maiden dress,
Fair in her Saviour's light,
Baptised in His dear righteousness,
And saintly in His sight;
Her soul unto its God
At early morn was given.

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1), shall we fear to pass through Jordan? the Angel of the Covenant in the midst keeping back the stream till we pass in safety through. Oh! hear the Saviour's words of love again: "Whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?" (John 11:26). Jesus will never suffer His redeemed ones to see death. He is the Angel of the Cove; He is in the cloud by day, and in the pillar by night; thus if the cloud cover us, Jesus the Lord our righteousness is there. If the fiery pillar try us Jehovah Tsidkenu is there.

JEHOVAH TSIDKENU

I once was a stranger to grace and to God,
I knew not my danger, and felt not my load;
Though friends spoke in rapture of Christ on the tree,
Jehovah Tsidkenu was nothing to me.

I oft read with pleasure to soothe or engage,
Isaiah's wild measure, and John's simple page;
But e'en when they pictured the blood-sprinkled tree,
Jehovah Tsidkenu seem'd nothing to me.

Like tears from the daughters of Zion that roll,
I wept when the waters went over his soul;
Yet thought not that my sins had nailed to the tree
Jehovah Tsidkenu-'twas nothing to me.

When free grace awoke me, by light from on high,
Then legal fears shook me I trembled to die;
No refuge, no safety in self could I see,
Jehovah Tsidkenu my Saviour must be.

My terrors all vanished before the sweet name,
My guilty fears vanished, with boldness I came
To drink at the fountain life-giving and free:
Jehovah Tsidkenu is all things to me.

Jehovah Tsidkenu! my treasure and boast,
Jehovah Tsidkenu! I ne'er can be lost;
In Thee I shall conquer by flood and by field,
My cable, my anchor, my breast-plate and shield.

E'en treading the valley, the shadow of death,
This 'watchword' shall rally my faltering breath;
For while from life's fever my God sets me free,
Jehovah Tsidkenu, my death-song shall be.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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