Tuesday, October 13, 2009

10/13 Jeremiah 23:5,6; Christ of David- Our Righteousness

(Folio museum of Condee Chantilly- David Imagins Christ Elevated Abobe Other Beings)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

Jeremiah 23:5.6
5 "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: 'The LORD Our Righteous Savior.'"

Calvin abridged: It would not have been enough for the Prophet to say, “I have promised pastors who will faithfully perform their duty,” unless the only true pastor had been brought up. Often when prophets spoke of salvation and hope they turned their attention to the coming of the messiah which is spoken of here, so that we would think on the promises of God. Here there is no doubt that the Prophet is speaking of Christ’s coming. He was basically saying, “Though you are unworthy of a Deliverer a hundred times over, yet David’s memory shall always be completely with me, as he was perfect and faithful in keeping my covenant." Here he is not speaking of many kings- especially when he says “a king shall reign.” Most of David’s successors were not worthy of being called “righteous branches.” Christ, the true righteous branch, was not only David’s successor, but also the Son of God (Psalm 138, 2, Hebrews 1:5). “Reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land”- This means Christ would be endowed with the spirit of wisdom as well as of uprightness and fairness so that he would possess all the qualities of a good king. Christ is different from the earthly kings who administer justice only by giving people what is rightfully theirs. Christ is able to give people wisdom and knowledge, regenerates us by the Spirit, and restrains evil. “In his days Judah would be saved”- We interpret this as meaning that when Christ came and descended from the Father, the Church would be saved. How long will it be saved? As long as the King reigns, and there is no end to his kingdom. The true reigning of the king is not physical but spiritual, and thus forever. “Israel will live in safety (peace)”- refers to the tranquility and peace we have in Christ (Romans 5:1). “This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior”- Here clearly the Prophet shows he is not just talking about other earthly kings, but of the Christ, our Savior. Christ is righteous as he is God, and the Son of David as he is man. He is called Jehovah (the Lord) because he is the only begotten Son of God of one and the same essence, glory, eternity and divinity with the Father. Salvation and righteousness can come only from God- eliminating sin and death; His humanity allows us to be friends with Him and have access to God by being united to Him. Christ is “our righteousness”- God has righteousness in himself, but apart from Christ his righteousness judges us. Christ came not to judge us, however, but to communicate to us his righteousness. If we desire to have God as our righteousness we must seek Christ, for God’s righteousness cannot be found except in him. Those who turn away from Christ, cannot find the righteousness of God (I Cor. 1:30).

Thought: Zedekiah meant “the Lord our righteousness” but king Zedekiah (the last king before the first temple was destroyed) did not live up to his name. However, there were many prophecies that speak of the coming messiah who will reign as a righteous king. By his righteousness, we are made better. Good rulers influence people for good. They may influence all the world distantly, but their own people they influence deeply. But Christ is an eternal ruler whose true goodness radiates to all the world, but is imputed to us who believe. Certainly the reign of Christ has done much to influence the world for good- eliminating cannibalism, cruelty, and much superstition and selfishness. Yet individuals who are believers testify of how much (more personally and deeply) Christ has made them into better people. In American culture we need to see more clearly that Christ is not just our Savior, but He is also our Lord and King. We are too quick to call Jesus our savior and God, but we do not let him rule in our lives.

Prayer: Lord, be our righteousness, our King. Thank you that your reign is forever.

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