Jeremiah 23:5-6-“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth…Now, this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. NKJV
I have found that I can read the Bible repeatedly and still miss important things that God says within a passage. Such is the case with the verses I have chosen to blog about today. This messianic passage is filled with so much hope and promises that it is a perfect verse for the Christmas season.
The Lord begins this verse by stating, “Behold, the days are coming!” It’s an announcement about the birth of Jesus! The prophet declared that the day was coming when a different kind of Shepherd would come onto the scene. Yes, it first refers to the wicked or bad shepherds of the land, but then it goes on to speak of a different kind of shepherd:
I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the Lord.Jeremiah 23:4 NKJV
God greatly loves His people, and our well-being is His top priority. So when He had enough of the people being destroyed, scattered, and abused, He took matters into His own hands and said:
Behold, the days are coming,”Jeremiah 23:5a NKJV
God promised that a new Shepherd was coming, and He would be different from all of the rest. This Shepherd would not only feed God’s sheep, but He would remove fear and dismay from among the people, and they would no longer have lack. This reminds me of the 23rd Psalm, where David spoke of the Shepherd:
The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need.Psalm 23:1 CSB
And again when David wrote:
Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me.Psalm 23:4 CSB
These are beautiful promises to the people of God that we can look forward to experiencing with the Shepherd. But the thing that jumped out to me in this verse is when God said:
In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.Jeremiah 23:6 NKJV
We understand that the Lord has many names which tell us of His character. In my previous post, we saw that He is called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. When God spoke to Joseph in a dream and told him to take Mary as his wife, God gave Him a different name, the name of Jesus!
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”Matthew 1:20-21 NKJV
Jesus is so amazing that only one name could not be used to identify Him. As Jesus, He is our Savior. Yet Jeremiah brings up a new name for our Shepherd, The Lord our Righteousness!
Jehovah or Yahweh Tsidqenu is one of the divine names of God. It is translated the Lord our Righteousness. In other words, God tells the people through Jeremiah the prophet that His Shepherd’s name would be Jehovah Tsidqenu, and He would impart righteousness to mankind.
Righteousness means to be in a right relationship with God the Father. It is believing and trusting in Him. The Strong’s concordance describes righteousness as a sense of rightness, justness, and what is right. When we come to Christ, there is a sense of rightness, of doing what is right to have fellowship with God.
The shepherds of the land were the opposite of righteous. They were cruel, divisive, and destructive. But God’s Shepherd was coming, and He would be called The Lord our Righteousness; because He would judge the people rightly and restore them to a right relationship with the Father.
Paul spoke of the work of Jesus’ righteousness in our lives:
God presented Him as the mercy seat by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. God presented Him to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.Romans 3:25-26 CSB
Jesus was born centuries ago, in the flesh, that He might one day give His life for our sins. It was through His blood that we were justified (declared righteous) in a legal sense. It’s not that we are righteous, but through His blood, we have been declared righteous so that when God looks at us, He sees the Blood of Jesus and His righteousness, not ours!
Peter helps us to get a better picture of this in his letter:
Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.1 Peter 2:24-25 NKJV
Jesus paid for our sins in His own body on the cross so that we could be made righteous and therefore live a righteous life. Paul wrote:
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
There was nothing wrong with Jesus. He had no sin and knew no sin, yet, for us, He was made sin so that we could be made righteous. What a sweet exchange! What an amazing gift of grace!
If Christmas is about gifts, it’s certainly not about the gifts under the tree. It’s about the Lord our Righteousness, Yahweh Tsidqenu, who came to die for our sins. He executed judgment, taught the sheep, removed fear, and gave us eternal life. These are true gifts, and He gives us more each day.
This holiday season is a great time to renew our minds about how we view Christmas. Am I saying that you shouldn’t give or receive gifts? Absolutely not! But the perspective of Christmas is not about what we can give and receive in this world, but about the greatest gift ever given to mankind, Jesus!
Yes! Behold, the days are coming…and they have come! For He was born, He lived, He died, then He rose from the dead to give us the gifts that keep on giving! Wonderful Jesus!