“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach? How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception? Selah. But know that the LORD has set apart the godly man for Himself; The LORD hears when I call to Him. Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And trust in the LORD.”Psalms 4:1-5 NASB (New American Standard Bible)
The word “righteous” is rarely heard in this world. The first time I heard the word was when I watched “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” back in the 1980s, and even then I didn’t know what it meant. In the Webster’s Dictionary the word righteous has multiple meanings. The first meaning is one who acts according to divine or moral law. The second meaning is doing something out of a sense of justice. The third meaning is a slang for something that is genuine and excellent. For the sake of this discussion, we will use the first definition. So if righteousness is when one who does something in accordance to some law, whose law are they following?
The Lord is righteous and in Him alone are all people made right. In all the religions of the world, I believe there is no deity or religious leader who will make such a claim! Since He is righteous, all those who seek Him in their lives are set apart from the rest of humanity as God’s special people. This happens not because there is something about them that is special; in fact they are no different from any other person. It is because the Lord shows mercy upon them and chose them that makes them special.
Now what does a godly person look like? The one who is declared righteous by God is one who pursues to understand and then accepts the power and majesty of the Lord. Once that person has accepted Him, he fights daily to not sin against Him, this is an act of reverance to the Lord for God detests all manner of sin. Since God hates sin so much, it would be a fatal mistake to live in it.
The person who is righteous thinks on the Lord and rejoices daily because he knows Him. It is like thinking on one that you love (a spouse for example), you never stop thinking about them. With that in mind, love compels the righteous to perform acts of righteousness (based on God’s standard). He doesn’t seek attention to himself when he does these things, but wants the focus on the one that he loves and there is no greater joy that comes when you know that the One that you love (the Lord) looks good in the eyes of others.
So now that we know what it means to be righteous, what good is it to be righteous in the eyes of God? In this life all people are confronted with challenges that are overwhelming for them to handle. Whenever these hardships come upon the righteous however, they will not despair. Instead they will cry out to the Lord and He will answer them. As I mentioned in a previous post, God is bigger than any challenge that people face. If God is with us, who can be against us. Therefore, let us seek the righteousness of God and rejoice.