May 21, 2014

Yahweh Tsidkenu: "the Lord Our Righteousness"

Jeremiah 33:14-18

“Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior.”
—Jeremiah 33:16


Do you ever find the book of Jeremiah difficult to read? It has many bleak passages about judgment and exile for God’s people, who relentlessly disregarded their covenant Lord. The people were constantly unfaithful to their faithful God, Yahweh. Today’s reading is set within that dreary context, but the content of the chapter is anything but depressing.

Though confined in the court of the king’s guard (see 32:2; 33:1), Jeremiah proclaims a bright future for the people of Ju-dah. God promises healing and health, forgiveness of sins, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The city will be restored for all nations to see, and it will be called Yahweh Tsidkenu, “The LORD Our Righteousness.”

Tsidkenu stems from the Hebrew word tsedek, meaning “stiff,” “straight,” or “righteousness.” It occurs more than a thousand times in the Old Testament, translated variously as “right,” “righteous,” “righteousness,” “just,” “justify,” and “declared innocent.” It appears here as Yahweh Tsidkenu, “The LORD Our Righteousness,” or “The LORD Our Righteous Savior.” In this prophecy of restoration, we catch a glimpse of “a righteous Branch … from David’s line,” the one through whom we are justified, declared innocent, made right with God.

Knowing that Jesus is your righteousness, live righteously today and always.

Righteous God, thank you for making us righteous through Jesus. Help us to live righteously for you. 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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