Names Of God Series: God Is Yahweh Tsidkenu

Jeremiah 23:1-6 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. [2] Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. [3] And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. [4] And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. [5] Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. [6] In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

I used to never read the obituaries, but I do now … sometimes looking for my name. A few years ago – March 15, 1998 – I read an article written by a columnist that worked for the Indianapolis Star called Lori Borgman. The article was called “Death Of Common Sense”. The article has been plagiarized, rewritten, and attributed to many, but it is Lori Borgman’s work. She wrote (and I just quote in part. You can go to her website to read the full article):

“…. Common Sense, aka C.S., lived a long life, but died from heart failure at the brink of the millennium. No one really knows how old he was, his birth records were long ago entangled in miles and miles of bureaucratic red tape. Known affectionately to close friends as Horse Sense and Sound Thinking, he selflessly devoted himself to a life of service in homes, schools, hospitals and offices, helping folks get jobs done without a lot of fanfare, whooping and hollering. … A most reliable sage, he was credited with cultivating the ability to know when to come in out of the rain, the discovery that the early bird gets the worm and how to take the bitter with the sweet. C.S. also developed sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you earn), reliable parenting strategies (the adult is in charge, not the kid) and prudent dietary plans (offset eggs and bacon with a little fiber and orange juice). …. C.S.’s health began declining in the late 1960s when he became infected with the If-It-Feels-Good, Do-It virus. … C.S. was sapped of strength and the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, criminals received better treatment than victims and judges stuck their noses in everything from Boy Scouts to professional baseball and golf. His deterioration accelerated as schools implemented zero-tolerance policies. Reports of 6-year-old boys charged with sexual harassment for kissing classmates, a teen suspended for taking a swig of Scope mouthwash after lunch, girls suspended for possessing Midol and an honor student expelled for having a table knife in her school lunch were more than his heart could endure. … Finally, upon hearing about a government plan to ban inhalers from 14 million asthmatics due to a trace of a pollutant that may be harmful to the environment, C.S. breathed his last. Services will be at Whispering Pines Cemetery. C.S. was preceded in death by his wife, Discretion; one daughter, Responsibility; and one son, Reason. He is survived by two step-brothers, Half-Wit and Dim-Wit. …”

America lost her common sense, and has been losing ground morally each and every year since. What is necessary to get the country back in line is for God’s people to “speak the truth in love” (see Ephesians 4:15). America was founded by Christians and Christ friendly unbelievers. We were greatest as a nation when we as a people and our leaders were looking upward, not downward. The Bible says:

Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

In our text today we see a nation much like ours, a nation called Israel. The leaders of that nation were supposed to lead that nation as God led them. Rather than do this, those who should have been leaders did the opposite. That’s why God declared:

Jeremiah 23:1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. 

It was God Who formed Israel. The civil rulers and magistrates, the kings and princes of the land – the LEADERS – were supposed to remember as they were leading Israel that these were “the sheep of God’s pasture”. When the wicked kings Manasseh and Amon ruled Israel the nation suffered. But when the good king Josiah ruled the nation was blessed.

What established blessing or cursing on the nation was whether it’s LEADERSHIP did good in the eyes of God, or did evil in the eyes of God. It is interesting that in all our political debates we always question WHAT a candidate will do …. but never examine their CHARACTER. But Character matters to God. Character determines action. If a person is wicked, their actions will be wicked, and God will not be pleased.

Like America today, Israel had a few good rulers. But by and large these “Pastors” did not do what God called them to do. They were not honest in their dealings. God warned numerous times what would happen if bad leadership continued. God told Israel:

2 Kings 23:27 (ESV) And the LORD said, “I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and I will cast off this city that I have chosen, Jerusalem, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.”

The spiritual decline of a nation does not happen overnight. The people begin to drift from honoring God in small ways. Churches become more entertainment oriented than Bible oriented. The members stop reading their Bibles and stop bringing their Bibles to Church. Prayer becomes occasional, and not as the Scripture says “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Bible study is put to the side so television can be watched. Children are not taught the basic truths of God in the home, but schools focus on evolution, Darwinism, and the so called Fossil Records. Church attendance drops. Tithing becomes optional rather than a command of God. The light dims, the salt loses it’s savor,

Matthew 5:13 (NIV) …. if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

1 Mercy And Grace Are Free Gifts Of God … But Judgment Is Earned. Israel forgot God. When you forget God or make God a last resort in your life, things get rough – especially for a nation. The King of Israel (Southern Israel or Judah) at this time was King Zedekiah. His name, “Zedekiah”, is very interesting, because it means literally “The Lord is my Justice”. With a name like that you would think Zedekiah was a good king, but you’d be wrong. Every time someone called his name it was like saying “The Lord is my Justice”, but Zedekiah did not honor God. Zedekiah had been placed on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, after a siege of Jerusalem in 597 BCE, to succeed his nephew Jeconiah. Rather than totally destroy Jerusalem God moved Nebuchadnezzar to place Zedekiah in charge and to leave the city standing. How did Zedekiah repay God’s mercy? The Bible says:

2 Kings 24:19-20 (NIV) {Zedekiah} did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done. 20 It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.

Our God is so merciful! He is so very merciful. He is gracious and kind. The Bible says:

Psalm 103:8 (ESV) The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Psalm 145:8 (KJV) The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

Israel and her leaders had defied God time and time again, and yet, when conquered by Babylon God moved Nebuchadnezzar to let them keep their own king. Rather than destroy the Temple and the Holy City, God gave them one more chance. Oh, how good is our Great God, and His ways past finding out. We in America have aborted millions of innocent babies and called it legal, and yet God has been merciful. We have taken His concept of marriage and turned it into sexual convenience, and God has withheld His judgment. We have chosen frivolous leaders who have governed foolishly, and God has still loved. God is so compassionate, and does not destroy until it is absolutely necessary.

And yet, God will eventually judge. He warned of the flood for 120 years, then judgment came, and that without mercy. The Bible tells us:

2 Peter 3:9-10 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 BUT the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

Zedekiah and Israel were given one more chance by God, but Zedekiah did evil in God’s sight. So Zedekiah sent two of his “house priests” to the Prophet Jeremiah, saying:

Jeremiah 21:2 Enquire, I pray thee, of the LORD for us; for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon maketh war against us; if so be that the LORD will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, that he may go up from us.

Jeremiah, YOU pray for us. See if God will intervene on our behalf”. Zedekiah wasn’t about to repent nor to seek God’s face himself. He wanted JEREMIAH to do it for him. What reply did God send back through Jeremiah? God told Zedekiah:

Jeremiah 21:5-7 And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath. [6] And I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast: they shall die of a great pestilence. [7] And afterward, saith the LORD, I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and such as are left in this city from the pestilence, from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those that seek their life: and he shall smite them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy.

Oh, dearly Beloved, it is not a good place to be in to stand against God! The Bible declares:

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God! (Hebrews 10:31)

To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10)

God’s mercy and Grace are His gifts to us. But if His mercy and Grace are rejected, then justice and punishment are sure to follow. God warns of what is coming, but even then gives Zedekiah one more chance. In the next chapter God says:

Jeremiah 22:3-4 Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place. [4] For if ye do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people.

God said in essence “bring forth the fruit of repentance Zedekiah, and you and this nation shall be blessed”. This is the same thing John the Baptist preached, “Bring forth fruits meet for repentance”. A person who repents will ACT that way. How did Zedekiah act?

He imprisoned Jeremiah.

He rejected the mercy and Grace of God.

He clung to his sin.

And he would lose everything because of it.

2 Would Israel Be Utterly Destroyed Because Of Bad Leadership? Was this the end of Israel? Would God cast off the promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob because of Zedekiah’s evil? And what of the faithful? Not all of Israel was faithless. There were good and Godly people in that nation who loved the Lord and served Him with all their hearts. As Abraham asked God one time:

Genesis 18:25 Far be it from You {O Lord} to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”

God will punish the wicked. Israel will fall. But God is in control. The Prophet Jeremiah will not suffer the fate of King Zedekiah. The righteous will be protected. When Israel falls to Babylon God remembers His people Who are faithful to Him. God is in control!

Proverbs 11:21 (KJV) Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.

For those who “mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His prophets, the wrath of the Lord rose against them until there was no remedy (2 Chronicles 36:14-16). Yet the faithful were taken care of. God blessed His remnant, His people, His children. A young man named Daniel, with his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were taken into captivity and thrived. The Prophet Ezekiel preached for 20 years, thriving during the exile. The Prophets Zephaniah and Habakuk prospered. The exile was actually good for the people of Israel. J.B. Tidwell wrote in his book Introducing The Old Testament (page 178) that the captivity benefitted the faithful by:

  • Making them give up idolatry completely.
  • Causing them to return to the Word of God completely.
  • They repented of their sins, and became devoted to Yahweh.
  • Synagogues were created where people worshiped God while focusing on His Word, prayer and praise.
  • The faith became more personal and less ritualistic.
  • They longed for the Coming of the Messiah, and lived looking for Him.

It has been said that the greatest danger to God’s people has always been PROSPERITY, not adversity. Though God promised punishment to both Zedekiah and Israel, the Lord promised that this would not be forever. He said:

Jeremiah 23:3-4 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. [4] And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.

When God’s people got off of the throne of their lives and returned God to the Throne, He would regather the people. He would return them to their folds. And God would set up Shepherds (civil leaders, magistrates, kings and princes) over them “that shall feed them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall there be lacking”. This takes us back to the promise that Christ has made to us:

Luke 12:29-32 (KJV) 29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

God loves to bless His Children! When God is on the throne and we are not then He is free to bless us richly. God promised His Israel that not only would the day come when they would be restored, but He also promised that the Messiah would come through Israel.

Jeremiah 23:5-6 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. [6] In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

God promised that there would be a time when THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS would reign on the earth. Here He is referring to “The Lord our Righteousness”, one of the names given to the Messiah Jesus Christ. He is YAHWEH TSIDKENU, the Righteous Branch from the stock of King David.

Jesus Christ is the Lord our Righteousness. He is the Lord of His people. He is our Righteousness. Our own righteousness is as filthy rags:

Isaiah 64:6 (KJV) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

We all fall short. We all fail God. But though we are faithless, our God abides faithful. If we surrender to Him and give Him the throne of our lives, He in turn gives us His righteousness.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (KJV) … we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For {God the Father} hath made {Jesus Christ} to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that WE MIGHT BE MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM.

1 Corinthians 1:30 (KJV) But of {God} are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

God gave His Son for us.

In the midst of Israel’s greatest disobedience and God’s greatest punishment is the beautiful diamond promise of God. In the end Christ will rule. In the end God’s people shall inherit the earth. In the end The Lord our Righteousness would reign in our hearts and over the earth. There will come a day when sin will be completely destroyed.

And that will come only through Christ Jesus. The more Christ is on the Throne of our lives, the more He will be seen in us and in our actions. This is why the Apostle Paul said:

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”.

The Lord is our Righteousness. The Lord makes us right with God. The Lord will rule and reign.

Yahweh Tsidkenu. May God touch your hearts with His Word!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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