Jehovah-tsidkeneau - The Lord Our Righteousness
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Jeremiah, chapter 23. For the last few weeks we have been considering what we have referred to as the Compound Names of God . We pointed out to you in the Bible, that there are a number of names given to God. There are many names given to the Lord Jesus Christ, but there are a number of different ones given to God. We are considering the basic ones in this series of studies. For example, the word God in our English translation, is the translation of the Hebrew word Elohim , and the word Lord , in our English translation, when the first letter is capitalized, and only the first letter, it is the translation of the Hebrew word Adonai , which means “Master.” Then when the word LORD is found in the translation with every letter capitalized—not just the first, but every letter capitalized—it is a translation of the Hebrew word Jehovah . So you have three names of God: Elohim , Adonai , and Jehovah .

The Spirit of God has been pleased to take that last word we gave you, Jehovah , and add to it certain other words that describe the innate attributes of God. That is, they are part of God, so that you cannot think of God without thinking of them. We have noticed several of them already. For example, we have noted the compound name Jehovah-Shalom , in our last lesson. That meant “the LORD that gives peace,” “the LORD who brings peace,” “the LORD who is our peace.”

We looked at another compound name, the name Jehovah-Rapha , which means “the LORD who heals,” “the LORD who is able to bind up the brokenhearted” and “the LORD who is able to heal the wounds.” He does all of that, we can be sure.

Today we want to look at another compound name, which will become evident as we read chapter 23, reading from verse 1:

Jeremiah 23

1Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.
2Therefore 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.
3And 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.
4And 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.
5Behold, 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.
6In 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.
7Therefore, 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;
8But, 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.

You will notice, especially in verse 6 these words:

Jeremiah 23

6In 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.

Notice the word LORD has every letter capitalized. That means that it is the translation of the Hebrew word Jehovah . Then you will notice the phrase “our righteousness.” That is a translation of the Hebrew word tsidkenu , and so when we put the two words together, we have another compound name of God: Jehovah-Tsidkenu .

The Promise of a Righteous King

Keep a marker in Jeremiah, chapter 23, and turn in your Bibles to Jeremiah, chapter 33, because there we have the only other place in the Old Testament where this name of God is presented to us. In verses 15 and 16 of Jeremiah 33:

Jeremiah 33

15In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
16In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Here in this chapter we are told the city of Jerusalem is going to have a new name, and it is going to take its name from the Person who has taken up His residence there, Jehovah-Tsidkenu . It is not unusual to name cities after the people that live in them, and that is exactly what is going to happen in a future date.

As we go back to Jeremiah, chapter 23, before we look at itself, let's paint, very briefly, a background picture, not attempting to go into a detailed description of Jeremiah, chapter 23, because if we did it would defeat the purpose of our study today. Here Jeremiah is speaking out against the preachers, as we would call them today, the priests, the shepherds of the flock of God, because they had completely neglected the people. They had not given them the Word of God; they had not visited them to take care of their problems and their needs. They were a sheep without a shepherd because of the way the prophets or the ministers of God of that day were dealing with them.

Through Jeremiah the prophet, God said, “I'm going to do something for you. Off in the future one of these days I'm going to raise up somebody who will really be a Shepherd to you. I'm going to raise up somebody who will really take care of you. I'm going to raise up somebody who will really be a blessing to you in every respect. I'm going to give you a King who will really be a Shepherd.” That's what He says in verse 5 of chapter 23:

Jeremiah 23

5Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David, [that is just another name for Israel, the way that it is used here] a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

When we compare that passage of Scripture with other verses of Scripture, we realize that it is talking about the time when the Lord Jesus Christ actually, literally returns to this earth, actually sets up His righteous reign upon this earth. In verse 6, God said, “In His day [that is, when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to the earth] Judah will be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely,” which means exactly what it says. The nation of Israel is going to recognize it's failure to accept Jesus Christ as her Messiah. She is going to acknowledge her sin, her iniquity. She is going to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah, and she will be dwelling safely in the land of Israel at that particular time.

The Spirit of God says in Jeremiah, chapter 23, verse 6, this is His name, whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS . To pinpoint for us this incident as far as chronology is concerned, in verse 7 we are told that after this happens people won't be talking about the time God delivered the children of Israel from the little country of Egypt and took them back to their land, but they will be talking about the time that God will bring the Jews from the four corners of the world where they have been scattered. So the deliverance or the regathering from Egypt shall fade into insignificance in the light of this tremendous regathering that is going to occur at the end of the age when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to the earth.

That is the setting of the name, but we have in these studies been following the spiritual applications of these truths and finding out what these names can mean to us spiritually. And having given you the setting and the reason for the name, I would like now to follow that procedure.

No Righteousness In Man

What does this mean to us? Why do we need to know the Lord in this way? Why must we become acquainted with the Lord in this fashion, that we might refer to Him as “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS?” There are a number of reasons. Basically, it is because we have no righteousness of our own. Will you turn in your Bibles, please, to the book of Romans, chapter 3, verse 10:

Romans 3

10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

That is what God said. That is not what some preacher said or what some biased old hypocrite said; that's what God said. He said there wasn't a righteous person in the world, not one, and that when a person realizes how unrighteous he as well as the human race is, he is reminded of the heart cry of Job, which is found in chapter 25 of the book that bears his name. You will find in these discussions between Job and the so-called comforters of Job, several real spiritual truths. Bildad is leveling his arguments at Job in this chapter 25, and we find Bildad saying in verses 2 and 3:

Job 25

2Dominion and fear are with him, he maketh peace in his high places.
3Is there any number of his armies? and upon whom doth not his light arise?

Now notice this verse:

Job 25

4I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?

Job is saying, “There is not one of us righteous, and I don't know how in the world any of us are ever going to get righteous,” and he certainly said a mouth full.

A lot of people do exactly like these Jews which we have been talking about did and about which Paul speaks in chapter 9 of the book of Romans, beginning with verse 30, Paul says:

Romans 9

30What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
31But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
32Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
33As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Here is the nation of Israel going about to establish their own righteousness, working at the job all by themselves, saying, “Well, if we need to get right with God we will work real hard at it, and we will get right.” They began to measure their righteousness by their works, and Paul said they completely missed the boat. What happened to them happens to every one of us who tries to be good by our own efforts. It's an absolute impossibility.

Righteousness Provided Through Christ

I thank God today that it isn't impossible to be righteous. It isn't impossible to be pleasing to God. If you will turn to chapter 3 of the book of Romans again, which we looked at a short time ago, you will notice in verse 20:

Romans 3

20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

That's not mincing words. That's saying that you cannot keep the ten commandments and go to Heaven. That's saying that you cannot keep the ten commandments and be right. There is no way in the world that can be done, but if you will look at verses 21-23, you read:

Romans 3

21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

You notice what it said. You can't make yourself righteous, but God has provided the righteousness for you. He has provided this righteousness in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and this righteousness is available unto all the world. He didn't leave anybody out. He included everybody—“unto all.” But let's not jump to conclusions. That doesn't mean that just because He included everybody, everybody is righteous. We know better than that. The next statement qualifies the previous one, and he says that this “righteousness is upon all them that believe.” If you are not willing to accept the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the Cross as your claim to righteousness, then you are not righteous now and you never will be because this righteousness is in a Person. That is what lifts us out of the realm of cold, theological facts into the realm of warm, pulsating life, because we are dealing not with a theological tenet, but with a living person.

The Righteousness of God By Faith

Paul had the right idea. If you will turn to his letter to the Philippians, chapter 3, where the apostle is talking about the deep desire in his heart; and he says in so many words, “No price is too big to pay to experience that desire.” In verse 7, he said:

Philippians 3

7But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

Incidentally, those things that were gain to him are what we would call good works. They were righteous acts. They were his own efforts at being righteous. He said:

Philippians 3

7But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

Now notice this verse:

Philippians 3

9And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

That is his desire. “I want to be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, but the righteousness which is of God by faith, related very definitely to a person.”

I want to go even a step farther and suggest to you that this righteousness is not only related to a person, it is a person; and if you will turn with me to Paul's first Corinthian letter, I think that that will become clear to us so that there will be absolutely no question at all about it. Perhaps it would be good for us to begin the paragraph with verse 27 of chapter 1.

I Corinthians 1

27But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29That no flesh should glory in his presence.
30But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, [notice now] who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

You will notice in verse 30 that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is ”made unto us righteousness.” He is the One who is our righteousness.

Going back to chapter 23 of the book of Jeremiah, isn't that the very thing that we said? And isn't that the very title of His name, “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS?” He is our righteousness.

Let's make it very, very personal and follow the words of the Apostle Paul when he said, “My deep desire is to be found in Christ, not having my own righteousness, but that righteousness which is by faith of God in Christ.” The song that we sing in our services, which is an old, old song that immediately comes to mind when we think about it, expresses the same truth in another way: “Just as I am without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me.” That is saying the same thing in a little different way. You see, if I have a plea when I stand before God, it would have to be the plea of the Pharisee when he stood by the side of the sinner, the publican. Do you remember what he said? “Lord, I do this; I do this; I do this. Lord, I give this; I give this; I give this.” All of it ”I, I, I,” and I'd have to convince God that I was worth going to Heaven, and I'd have to convince God that I deserve to go to Heaven. That would be my plea, my righteousness, but just as I am without that plea. I have no plea but that the blood of Christ was shed for me.

Somebody, you know, levels a finger of accusation against me, for example, and says, “Joe Temple, you don't deserve to go to Heaven.” Well, I don't ever deny that. I find myself saying, “You're exactly right. I don't deserve to go.” “What makes you think that you are going to go to Heaven?” Because Jesus died for me. That's the reason that I am going to go. He is my righteousness. It's real. It's personal. You say, “Well, I don't see how that could be. I don't quite see how Jesus Christ could be your ticket to Heaven.” Turn in your Bibles, please, II Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 17:

II Corinthians 5

17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Notice verse 21: “God hath made him…” Who? THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. “God hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” The Lord Jesus Christ knew no sin. He is the perfect, sinless, spotless Son of God. But God made Him sin in our stead that he might be made the righteousness of God to us. So you see, our righteousness is not found in an act. Our righteousness is not found in a church. Our righteousness is not found in good deeds. Our righteousness is not found in good words. Our righteousness is found in a person, the Lord Jesus Christ.

We get the cart before the horse most of the time when we try to do righteously so that we will be righteous, and we make such a mess out of it. That's the reason so many people can justly level the accusation of hypocrisy at us—because we are so inconsistent. But once we are made righteous in Christ, and He as a person becomes our righteousness, then righteous acts flow out from us, and there can be no criticism.

Righteousness of the Law Fulfilled

Turn in your Bibles, please, to chapter 8 of the book of Romans, verse 1:

Romans 8

1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,

Stop right there because that's where the language stops in the original. You're not condemned because you walk right. You are not condemned because you're in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8

1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,

Verse 2:

Romans 8

2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Listen now:

Romans 8

3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

God put His standard way up here. He called it the law, and nothing could be done about that law because of the weakness of the flesh. We were too weak to do it. We didn't have enough strength to do it. So God sent His Son and fulfilled every demand of that law. There is not one demand against us anymore. He fulfilled every single demand, and then the Holy Spirit took up His residence in our lives so that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us. We walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; and as you yield day by day, moment by moment, to the Holy Spirit, you find righteous acts coming as a normal result of the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Thank God today we know Him as ”THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”


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