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Advent Readings: Day 9

For this Advent season we offer you a Bible reading for each day which points to the first coming of the Lord Jesus at Christmas and his return in glory!

Jeremiah 23:5-6

5"The days are coming," declared the LORD,
"when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.
6In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The LORD Our Righteous Saviour.

A few comments

If we are proud or nationalistic, these verses are easy to read. We might be the sort of people who think that a righteous God – a God who is upright, just and fair, would save us and give us safety. But if the light of humility breaks in, then these are strange words. We can understand David’s descendant being called ‘The Lord our Righteous Ruler’ or ‘The Lord our Righteous Judge’. We can imagine him being called ‘The Lord our Compassionate Saviour’. But what has righteousness to do with salvation?

Well, we’ve seen already, that starting in Genesis 3:15 and then in Genesis 12:1-3, God made promises that he would save his people and undo the damage of the curse of sin and death that brings misery to the world. The Lord would not be righteous if he failed to keep his word. That is true. But wouldn't the righteous God who saves his people (Judah and Israel) by judging their sinful oppressors fail to be righteous if he then ignored the very same sins in his people…? The Old Testament answered this dilemma with hints and shadows – glimmers of candle light in the darkness. But when the Son of God rose from the grave, the sun rose! God’s king is the righteous saviour because God’s king suffers the punishment for his people’s sin in our place. So God does not compromise his righteousness, his justice, his holiness, even as he forgives and saves his guilty people.

Point for Prayer

Thank and praise God that he is both utterly just and righteous and so can be relied on to keep his promises and judge all wickedness, and he is merciful in saving guilty sinners like you and me. Praise God for who he shows himself to be at the cross!