Doing Righteousness and Justice

Daily Reading – Genesis 18

In this passage, God shares with Abraham one of the purposes for which he has chosen him to become the father of a great nation.

Genesis 18:19

For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.

God has chosen Abraham that he may command his children, and their descendants after them, to honor God by “doing righteousness and justice.” After this, God says something that is very important. Abraham must command this of his descendants “so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised.”

Therefore, Abraham’s descendants must keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice for the promises of the Abrahamic covenant to come true. God places a huge condition on the greatest promise ever; “I will be God to you.” (Genesis 17:7)

The theme of “doing righteousness and justice” emerges again in the Psalms. Psalm 89 prophecies a coming Messiah whose throne God will establish forever as his steadfast love goes before him. Here we see God’s throne is founded on “righteousness and justice.”

Psalm 89:1-37

I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever;
    with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever;
    in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.”
You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
    I have sworn to David my servant:
‘I will establish your offspring forever,
    and build your throne for all generations.’” Selah

Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
    your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
    Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones,
    and awesome above all who are around him?
Lord God of hosts,
    who is mighty as you are, O Lord,
    with your faithfulness all around you?
You rule the raging of the sea;
    when its waves rise, you still them.
You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
    you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours;
    the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.
The north and the south, you have created them;
    Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
You have a mighty arm;
    strong is your hand, high your right hand.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
    steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
Blessed are the people who know the festal shout,
    who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face,
who exult in your name all the day
    and in your righteousness are exalted.
For you are the glory of their strength;
    by your favor our horn is exalted.
For our shield belongs to the Lord,
    our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said:
    “I have granted help to one who is mighty;
    I have exalted one chosen from the people.
I have found David, my servant;
    with my holy oil I have anointed him,
so that my hand shall be established with him;
    my arm also shall strengthen him.
The enemy shall not outwit him;
    the wicked shall not humble him.
I will crush his foes before him
    and strike down those who hate him.
My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him,
    and in my name shall his horn be exalted.
I will set his hand on the sea
    and his right hand on the rivers.
He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father,
    my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’
And I will make him the firstborn,
    the highest of the kings of the earth.
My steadfast love I will keep for him forever,
    and my covenant will stand firm for him.
I will establish his offspring forever
    and his throne as the days of the heavens.
If his children forsake my law
    and do not walk according to my rules,
if they violate my statutes
    and do not keep my commandments,
then I will punish their transgression with the rod
    and their iniquity with stripes,
but I will not remove from him my steadfast love
    or be false to my faithfulness.
I will not violate my covenant
    or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
Once for all I have sworn by my holiness;
    I will not lie to David.
His offspring shall endure forever,
    his throne as long as the sun before me.
Like the moon it shall be established forever,
    a faithful witness in the skies.” Selah

So the perfect execution of “righteousness and justice” is the foundation for God’s eternal throne and the condition for all the promises of the Abrahamic covenant to come true. This is a tall order for Abraham or any man, but as we have seen before, the promises were not made to Abraham alone. They were also made to his “Seed.”

Romans 4:13

For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

Galatians 3:16

Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.

In order to sit on God’s eternal throne and bring about the fulfillment of all the promises made to Abraham, one of his descendants had to keep the way of the Lord by doing “righteousness and justice.”

2 Corinthians 1:20

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

Without Christ and his faithfulness to perfect “righteousness and justice,” we would have no access to the Kingdom of God or the hope of a Promised Land.

The Emmaus Trail is a weekly devotional study that explores the theme of God reconciling himself to the world through the redemption of his Son which is found in all of Scripture. 

Luke 24

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 

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