On the final day of lent we finish with the following promise: ‘so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.’
For the Israelites, righteousness meant living in line with the covenant between them and God through obedience to God’s law. And although there had been a handful of prophets and leaders who sought after God and actually tried to live and guide God’s people according to this law, the overarching narrative of Israel’s story is one of disinterest in pursuing God.
Israel was guilty of the same unjust, corrupt and idolising practices as the nations around it. But in His kindness and faithfulness to Israel, God brings hope. He says that He is going to make righteousness and praise spring up among His people. Where Israel had failed to live in line with God’s laws, God would step in and bring about righteousness Himself.
What this promise looks forward to is, of course, Jesus. God made flesh, through whom not just Israel but all humanity would be made right with God and invited to return to life with Him. This is good news! But it comes at unimaginable cost and sacrifice to God, as Peter puts it:
“Christ suffered for you…‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:21, 24-25
Righteousness is like the gateway we walk through to life with God in His kingdom. Through Jesus, God has made righteousness spring up over the past 2000 years as millions of people from all cultures and walks of life have put their faith in Him, have been washed clean, and have returned to life with God, their Shepherd and Overseer.
On this Easter weekend when people all across the world are reflecting on and celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus, why not take some time now to reflect on your own story. Let praise and worship to God spring up in you as you think about where God has brought you from and the life that you now have with Him through Jesus, who has made you righteous.