Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
Whoever is discerning, let him know them.
For the ways of the Lord are right,
And the righteous will walk in them,
But transgressors will stumble in them. (Hosea 14:9)
When it comes to righteousness, let me clarify something right from the beginning. When the Bible speaks of righteousness, it doesn’t mean self-righteousness. Human self-righteousness is prideful and arrogant. It is about proving I am right and therefore you must be wrong. It is about flaunting my supposed moral superiority by pointing out the flaws of others. It is a false piety that is focused on self with little or no genuine concern for others.
In contrast, the perfect righteousness of God reaches to the very core of His being. His every action is right and good and springs from the purest of motives. He looks out not only for His own interests, but also for the interests of all Creation. His actions, therefore, are not only right for one or for Himself alone, but for all concerned. When God sets out to accomplish His purpose, every action He takes is right and good. He always knows the right thing to do and He always does what is right.
Although we may consider different aspects of God’s nature independently, the truth is we cannot separate one facet of His character from another. God’s righteousness is closely intertwined with His holiness and His justice. His lovingkindness, mercy, compassion and utter goodness guide His actions and His absolute knowledge, power, and authority guarantee that His purposes are accomplished.
The ways of the Lord are right. And the righteous follow in the footsteps of God’s ways. His ways set the standard for what is right because His righteousness is informed by complete knowledge and understanding, and tempered by pure motives. A man may do what is right in his own eyes, but when it comes to righteousness, the end does not justify the means. Therefore, the righteous refuse to compromise on integrity and justify it in the name of a desirable result. Doing what is right is not always easy, but it is always good.
Because of the righteousness of God, I can trust Him to do what is right and good, not only for me, but for my family and those around me. Because I know His ways are right, I can learn from Him and know that following in His ways will bring my situation to the best possible culmination, even if those ways bring me through some difficult and dark places along the way. In the words of the shepherd-king David, “He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me…” (Psalm 23:3-4)
If you want to know the right thing to do, seek the Lord God whose very nature defines what is right and good. If you want to walk on the right path, learn His ways. Anything worth learning takes effort and perseverance, but He is a patient teacher.
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Heb. 11:6)
From the Series: Nature of God