What Does It Mean to be Righteous - Part 1
Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, and drive out demons in Your name, and perform many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’” Matthew 7:22-23 TLV
This has got to be one of the scariest verses in the Bible. This verse tells us that we can do many good things and even perform miracles all in the name of Yeshua and yet be totally lost. This means we can easily fool ourselves into believing that we are saved when, in fact, we aren’t. We think we’re going to heaven and, yet, we’re on a road that goes to a very warm place reserved for sinners.
Many of the Pharisees fell into this category. They followed the “rules” and did good deeds, yet they didn’t know God ... even when He stood in their midst. In Matthew 3:7, John the Baptist referred to them as a brood of vipers. Although the Pharisees “appeared” righteous, they were dishonest, legalistic (excessively followed the law and expected everyone else to do the same) and hypocritical (said one thing and did something else).
But Noah found favor in Adonai’s eyes. Genesis 6:8
So ... what was it about Noah that made him holy and righteous?
When God told Noah to build an ark, what did he do? Did he question God about the rain? After all, it had never rained before and he really didn’t know what it meant for water to fall from the sky. Did he question God about building an ark in the middle of nowhere without a large body of water in sight?
No. Noah didn’t question God about any of this. He went about completing the task that God had laid out for him. It would take a righteous man – someone in right standing with God – to do all that God had commanded him to do.
Can you imagine what his neighbors said when they saw him building a boat on dry land out in the middle of nowhere? And not just any boat. The ark was a huge boat that would be too heavy to move once the building of it was complete. Can you imagine how much fun they made of him? Would you be willing to do something God asked you to do knowing that other people were going to constantly make fun of you for doing it? It would be hard, wouldn’t it?
But, sometimes, that’s exactly what God requires. He wants you to be willing to obey Him, no matter what. He wants you to turn away from evil and sin and become the person He created you to be. He wants you to set aside your own interests so that you can accomplish His. He also wants you to do it all without complaining.
Noah did all this. He believed God would do just as He said. He obeyed God and built the ark just like God told him to, even though it took him 120 years to finish it! The ungodly people who lived around him made fun of Noah when they saw him building the ark. When God saw Noah’s pure obedience, He called Noah a righteous man. His neighbors called him a fool. Are you willing to be called a fool, so that you may be called righteous by God?
Job, too, is another example of a righteous person for us to imitate. When all of his possessions and children were taken from him, Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return there. Adonai gave and Adonai has taken away; blessed be the Name of Adonai.” (Job 1:21 TLV) He didn’t complain, even when he was in great pain and his body was covered with sores. Instead, he cursed the day of his birth.
Noah and Job did what was right even when things were hard. Noah and Job choose to do what was right even though it would have been easier to say, “The heck with it,” and walk away. It’s easy to see that both men were set apart and willing to do whatever it took to stay that way. How about you?
Are you willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish and maintain your right standing before God? Why or why not?
Heavenly Father, I want to have the faith it requires to be made righteous in your sight. I want to be willing to obey, no matter what you may ask of me. I pray that You will guide my steps and help me to run from sin and run towards the righteousness of Yeshua. Give me a heart that is willing to hear and obey, even when it is hard.
I was asked to create a set of devotionals for the youth in my congregation. If you enjoyed this devotional and want to read more, click here.
I use the name, Yeshua, because that is the name my congregation uses. You may better know Him as Jesus.
© 2020 Cindy Murdoch