The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
I am not guilty of turning from my God.
All his laws are before me;
I have not turned away from his decrees.
I have been blameless before him
and have kept myself from sin.
The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
For many of us, we don’t know what to say.
We never come before the Lord and say, “You have dealt with me according to my righteousness … I have been blameless before You.” Most of us wouldn’t dream of it.
At the same time, we tremble to be among those who have said, “This is because of my sin. The Lord has seen me, and He is rewarding my evil deeds and my unjust thoughts.”
Some did, in Scripture, cringe with their words. From Adam and Eve forward, when we know we are naked before God, we hide ourselves. Others, like Saul to Samuel and Simon the Magician in Acts, have cried out to the righteous, “Pray for me!”, too guilt-ridden to lift up their own voices before the Lord.
If those for whom we pray, our Dear and Desperate Little Friends, could only say to the Him, “Here I am, unformed in Christ and unclean in my heart at times, unbelieving, uncertain, and even uncaring, but when I call, when I know I am in trouble, I have heard that You will help,” what might become of them? They do not all seem to be cowering, but pride and arrogance are the most commonly used fig leaves for our fears.
Our Father, our God, seems to me to be drawn to honesty. It attracts Him. Not a boasting honesty (“I am hard and un-feeling and I don’t care!”) but a genuine honesty which acknowledges at least the possibility that an Almighty God might be All Loving as well, that we have all seen good days and have had opportunity to feel good and do good things, if only we would. For every one of us, a beautiful sunrise, a full-blown cactus flower, a smiling child, a newborn infant, a mother’s love can touch our hearts with something extra-human, something divine, and we know it. To hold the door for a bent old lady is Christ, unless we attribute someone else.
We have, and others may have, a righteousness of which to boast. Those of us who do say so are not confused as to where we obtained that righteousness, not in and of ourselves, but ours it is, according to the Word of God.
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
1 Corinthians 1:30
Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption … ours, in Christ Jesus. Ours to reveal and to offer to others, in Him. The very reality that makes these our own comes with the reality that we desperately needed someone to clothe our nakedness. With these, any spiritual battle may be fought and won, if only we can say it and believe it in our need and in our hearts. Then shall we want it above all things for those we love.
Father God, we ask today in all the strength of the humility which brought us to Your Son and gave us His righteousness, give to those we love, those for whom we pray, to hunger and thirst for that very righteousness. We ask in fulness of hope, because when we hunger for You, as You Yourself have said, we will and they shall be fed. Amen.
Adam and Eve, entrance to Notre Dame Cathedral, photo by Jebulon,
by permission, Wikipedia