August 10 - Righteousness and God’s Presence

God’s heart is to bless His people and the land they are living on; however, human sin and unrighteousness have always block His presence and blessings. Psalm 85 lists the blessings of God for His people: speaking peace to them, keeping them from turning back to folly, granting them salvation, gracing them with His glory, giving them what is good with the land yielding its increase. All these are possible when God is present, however, His way is a way of righteousness. The righteousness of His people opens up a way for God’s footsteps: whenever His people do the right things, God would be pleased to show up and bless.

The purpose of the solemn assembly called by Ezra was not just for the people to feel sorry for what they had done, they had to reverse the unrighteous act of taking foreign wives and turning them back along with the children born by them. This is the true meaning of repentance, not just asking for God’s forgiveness but also doing the opposite. Instead to taking the foreign wives, they had to send them and their children away. There could be no compromise although several leaders were in open opposition to this order from Ezra.

The Book of Proverbs further brings to us the importance of righteousness. To do the right things, to obey the Lord and to be in right relationships with God and others are more important than any religious activities such as the offering of sacrifice. God demands obedience over our sacrifices. To live the right kind of life is key to our relationship with the Lord.

Since we have been called righteous by God and are justified, we are not to go to the unrighteous unbelievers for judgment of grievances between Christian believers. To live a righteous life is not easy, we have to give up our rights of not suffering wrong or be defrauded, even by our own brothers. The unrighteous are not to inherit the Kingdom of God but we are to. We are to judge the world and the angels, both the seen and the unseen. The only right we have is to live the right kind of life, i.e. be righteous before the Lord.

Paul admonished the Corinthian believers to flee sexual immorality for it was not right in the eyes of God. Believers have the Holy Spirit and they do not own their bodies. Their bodies are for the Lord and not for sexual immorality. We have the freedom to do all things but not all things are edifying and we might fall into all kinds of addiction to the point that we lose our freedom. If we offer our bodies for God, He would heal our mortal bodies and raise us up by His power. We must be joined to Jesus only in purity and righteousness. In that case, blessing such as healing may come to us. Would you like that in your life?

Ps 85:8-13     Ezra 10:1-44     1 Cor 6:1-20     Prov 21:3

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