God’s Righteousness; September 18, 2017


Nehemiah 9:8 “You have kept your promise because you are righteous.”

Most of this chapter is a recounting of Israel’s history, and this statement to the Lord is at the foundation of it all. The Jews here are proclaiming that God is right in everything, and all fault is theirs. That’s a good attitude to have! We have a strong tendency to justify ourselves, to shift blame to someone or something else, but that is never healthy. We see that sick attitude expressed all around us. We find it sad or even disgusting in others, but we do it ourselves. We certainly aren’t going to get very far with God if we make Him out to be less than holy and righteous. God certainly never gives us worse than we deserve, and He generally gives us far better than we deserve. Often we fail to recognize that because we can’t see the end result of what He is allowing us to go through. Sometimes He disciplines us, but sometimes He’s just giving us a training course to strengthen us. My time in basic training and AIT in the US Army was certainly no picnic, but I came out of it in the best physical shape I’ve ever been in. In some ways God is like that strict drill instructor with a heart of gold, who pushes you until your muscles scream because he knows you’ll need the strength and skills later. The proper response to God is always, “Yes, Sir. You’re right.”

I’ve done my share of attempted blame-shifting, and it hasn’t done me any more good than it does anyone else. God has been incredibly gracious and forgiving toward me. The longer I live the more aware of that I become, particularly as I watch others who are younger in faith than I am, and realize that I made the same mistakes myself. The point for me, as it should be for every believer, is to walk in full humility and at the same time full assurance that God can and will do anything, even using me. Along with that, I need to remember that once something is confessed to God in repentance, it’s forgiven, period. The devil loves to get us to drag around past sins, when as far as God is concerned, they’re wiped off the books. I’m deeply grateful that God has taught me this, and I seek to lead others into the liberty that comes from this awareness. God’s righteous and I’m not, but in Christ I am the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Father, thank You for Your incredible, gracious plan of salvation. No human mind could have come up with it! Thank You for all You did here yesterday. It was truly beautiful, even though my part in it was less than stellar. Thank You for all that You are doing in and through each member of this church. May we all welcome Your Spirit and allow You to do in and through us all that You intend, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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