Stand For Righteousness!
Good Morning! Last week I talked about throwing off our old selves and putting on our new Nature in Christ! We discussed the sin we are to let go of now that we are a New Creation. I was thinking a lot about how damaging sin is in the life of the church. Sin, of course is what separates us from God, it is what destroyed the perfect world God originally created and it is what destroys lives today. I was reminded that it has always been this way in the life of God’s People. When sin came into the camp of the Israelites it would stop their forward progress and bring swift consequences to not just the ones who committed the sin, but to the entire group of people. God is Jealous for the Love of His People. He will not share their devotion with the things of this world. I was remembering the powerful story of Phinehas found in Numbers 25. Phinehas was the grandson of Aaron, who was the High Priest. At this time some of the men of Israel had been enticed by the women of Moab to “commit harlotry” with them, which led to the people of Israel worshiping other gods. They made sacrifices to these gods and bowed down before them. They “joined themselves to Baal of Peor” and “The Anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.” God had shown Himself to these people in incredible, miraculous ways time and time again. He had created them to be a people for Himself. He had made a covenant with them. They were His beloved people and yet once again they turned away from Him in order to embrace the pleasures of sin. They did exactly what James warns us not to do. He tells us in James 4:4 that if you choose to become friends with this world you, in turn, make yourself an enemy of God. However, like an unfaithful spouse, Israel ran after the pleasures of this world. They continued to leave the God who loved them in order to chase the sinful desires of their flesh. God’s heart broke and His anger was aroused. The forward progress for these people stopped. God’s favor was removed and a plague came on the children of Israel. God told Moses what he was to do with all those who had sinned against Him. While the people were crying over this an Israelite man paraded a Moabite woman directly in front of Moses and led her straight into his tent to sleep with her. As the rest of Israel just stood there, Phinehas, FULL of zeal for God, immediately took a spear, went into the tent, and in one shot stabbed both the man and woman at the same time. God's favor was on Phinehas and He stopped the plague right away praising him to Moses. God promised Phinehas His covenant of Peace and an everlasting priesthood for his family. He did all this because in the midst of a culture of sin, this ONE man was “Zealous with the Zeal of God.” He cared MORE for God than what others would think of him, and he stood up for Righteousness! He said NO to sin! What they did not realize is that all along God has always had the very best in mind for His people. He has always desired for us to have an incredible, abundant Life in Him, and yet the allure of sin still tempts us to separate ourselves from Him. This has been so heavy on my heart because it is a topic that is not popular to discuss. It is a subject that often makes us uncomfortable, and yet I have found myself praying heavily about this! My prayer is that we would realize that when we say yes to Jesus, we are, in turn, saying NO to sin! That, like a marriage, when we enter into a covenant relationship with Jesus we are saying NO to anything else that would entice us away and we are saying YES to Him and to Him Alone! We now have the POWER of GOD IN US to be able to Say NO to the temptations and sins that once held us captive! We can stand up for Righteousness because the RIGHTEOUS ONE lives IN US! We are untied with HIM! We are a NEW Creation in HIM!! As I was praying about this, God led me to a certain verse in the Bible. It comes from Ezekiel 22:30. Leading up to this verse God is recounting for Israel the depth of their sin. That even the leaders are not making any distinction between what is holy and what is not. He says that they no longer teach His people what is clean and unclean. God says He has become dishonored among them. He then makes this statement that has pierced my soul. He says in Ezekiel 22:30, “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of Righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall…but I found NO ONE!” As I stared at those words I knew God could be and IS saying this to us right now in this current culture we live in. He is saying, “I am looking for SOMEONE to REBUILD the WALL of RIGHTEOUSNESS that GUARDS THIS LAND!” You see, Lives of Righteousness are the very wall that guard this land. Lives lived in complete devotion to Jesus Christ. People who are not afraid to STAND for RIGHTEOUSNESS in a culture overflowing with sin. It is not with actual stones that this wall is rebuilt. It is with the lives of faithful people who are united in their effort to resist evil. We are not called to cover up sin, but to eradicate it through the power of God. This wall of Righteousness is rebuilt when we Live in OBEDIENCE to God and apply the principles of HIS Word to our lives. This is how we “stand in the gap in the wall.” You see, our life lived in the Righteousness of Christ, a life that says NO to sin, is a life that rebuilds the wall of Righteousness. We can be THOSE PEOPLE who can REBUILD the Wall. We are created in the righteousness of Christ. It is time we said NO, through the Power of God, to every sin that has entangled us. We are a chosen people who are set apart. Oh may we be encouraged to be the ones who rebuild the wall that guard this land. May we join together to “stand in the gap!” May we STAND FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS!!!
Scriptures to pray over this week: Numbers 25, Ezekiel 22:30, James 4:4, Mt. 5:6