Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
you who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut,
and to the quarry from which you were dug.
Look to Abraham your father,
and to Sarah who gave birth to you.
When I called him, he was only one;
I blessed him and made him many.
For the Lord will comfort Zion;
he will comfort all her waste places,
and he will make her wilderness like Eden,
and her desert like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and melodious song.
Pay attention to me, my people,
and listen to me, my nation;
for instruction will come from me,
and my justice for a light to the nations.
I will bring it about quickly.
My righteousness is near,
my salvation appears,
and my arms will bring justice to the nations.
The coasts and islands will put their hope in me,
and they will look to my strength.
Look up to the heavens,
and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment,
and its inhabitants will die like gnats.
But my salvation will last forever,
and my righteousness will never be shattered.
Listen to me, you who know righteousness,
the people in whose heart is my instruction:
do not fear disgrace by men,
and do not be shattered by their taunts.
For moths will devour them like a garment,
and worms will eat them like wool.
But my righteousness will last forever,
and my salvation for all generations.
God’s desire through Israel had been to raise up a nation that demonstrated His righteousness to all nations. As God well knew in advance, it didn’t work out that way at all times. Unrighteousness still persisted in and around the nation of Israel. Still, God also knew that there were people in the midst of even the worst situations that still pursued righteousness. He assures those people that His righteousness is eternal, in spite of the circumstances they see around them. And He encourages them that He is still building His righteous kingdom during these dark days.
God points the righteous back to the origins of Israel through Abraham and Sarah. Abraham and Sarah were very old and without children when God promised that He would make their descendants into a great nation. Still, out of this couple and their son Issac God had created the nation of Israel. This nation would extend beyond the nation-state of Israel and include all those from all people groups who are seeking righteousness through the servant He would send, Jesus. The people who embraced God’s righteousness would become the true descendants of Abraham who would number more than the stars or the grains of sand in any desert.
God speaks the same promise to those of us who seek righteousness and justice in the midst of a culture that seems less and less interested in what is right. In spite of what we see around us, God’s righteousness goes on forever. He continues to raise up a trans-cultural “nation” that seeks to follow His righteous ways. He also assures us that those who mock the righteousness of God will eventually disappear from the earth while His righteousness goes on.
- Where do you see the righteous of God at work in the world around you?