May 07, 2014

El Tsaddik: "the Righteous God"

Isaiah 45:11-13, 18-25

“Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD?”
—Isaiah 45:21


Has someone ever made a claim that you just knew they couldn’t or wouldn’t keep? You wanted to believe, but deep down you knew that what they promised wouldn’t happen.

God’s claims, however, are completely reliable. We see this in Isaiah 45, where God promises to “raise up” Cyrus, the Persian king, to return the exiled people of Israel to Jerusalem. In today’s verses we find the compound name El Tsaddik, “the Righteous God,” which highlights God’s justice, lawfulness, and righteousness. El Tsaddik promises to return his people to their homeland to show that he keeps his word and to show the nations of the world that he is God—“and there is no oth-er.”

Keeping his promise, God uses Cyrus to return the Jews to their land, and they begin to rebuild Jerusalem, the city of God. Another, even bolder promise shows up in the Old Testament as well—and it includes us. The Lord promises to send his anointed one, the Messiah, the “righteous Branch” of Israel, and he is called “The LORD Our Righteous Savior” (Jeremiah 23:5-6). In Jesus Christ, who delivers us from sin and takes the punishment we deserve, we see God’s words and deeds completely line up.

Others may let you down, but El Tsaddik, “the Righteous God,” provides justice and always keeps his promises.

O God, the Righteous One, your words and deeds are trust-worthy and true. Help us by the power of your Spirit to live by every word that comes from your mouth. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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