Psalm 119 The Righteousness of God

Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true.
Psalm 119:142 (NIV)

Read: Psalm 119:137-144

Consider: We’ve had a short break from Psalm 119, so it is now time to return to its final five sections over the next few posts. You may remember that Psalm 119 is made up of 22 sections corresponding to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each section consists of only eight verses and the psalmist draws on his knowledge of God to focus on some aspect of God’s grace and providence.

In today’s section the psalmist mentions God’s righteousness. I’ve written previously on the subject of personal righteousness, but here the emphasis is on God. Wayne Grudem in his book, Systematic Theology, says: God’s righteousness means that God always acts in accordance with what is right and is himself the final standard of what is right. So what the psalmist is talking about is an essential attribute of God’s character.

Elsewhere in the psalms it says: The LORD is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does (Psalm 145:17). This knowledge of the character of God is built on an understanding of how God interacted with his people over many hundreds of years. In a song of Moses recorded in Deuteronomy 32 it states: He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he (Deuteronomy 32:4). Think back to the dealings the people of Israel had with God during their wanderings in the desert. Think of the many blessings they received and the punishments that had been inflicted on them, yet through all of these Moses could say that God’s ‘… ways are just …’ and he ‘… does no wrong …’

In Romans 1:17 Paul says this: For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’ If you want to know if God is righteous and always does the right thing, you only have to look at the gospel. So what do we see in the gospel? We see that man has sinned and that sin deserves punishment. To ensure that the penalty for sin was fully met, God allowed his Son, Jesus Christ, to be crucified in our place, setting us free.

Maybe you haven’t fully realised the significance of the righteousness of God in bringing about your salvation. The psalmist ends this section of Psalm 119 with these words: Your statutes are always righteous; give me understanding that I may live (Psalm 119:144).

Pray: Father, give us understanding so that we can comprehend how a righteous God allowed his Son to die in our place to pay the price for our sin and to offer us salvation. Amen

Every blessing