Psalm 119:137-144 focuses on God’s Righteousness as the psalmist says he sees God’s character in His Word. 137 Righteous are you, O Lord, and right are your rules.
138 You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness. Later in verse 147 he points to the righteousness of God and His Word that is eternal. Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true.
Why is it important to know that God and His Word are righteous? Righteous is by definition being morally right, just, virtuous, and upright. If we do not have a holy and righteous God, we are lost without hope. In our sinful state, fallen and alienated by sin, there is no way for us to be made righteous. God, in His mercy, had a plan to redeem us and make us right with Him. Jesus was His answer to our sinfulness and through Him He made a way for us to put on God’s righteousness. Romans 3:22-23 ” 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” 1 Corinthians 1:30 “30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,” These are just a few of the many verses that speak of Jesus’ work on the cross that imputed God’s righteousness to us.
The psalmist knew that he was not righteous. He knew he was sinful and in verse 141 he says “Though I am lowly and despised, I do not forget your precepts.” He knew the truth of God’s righteousness and the truth of God’s Word as he ends this portion with verse 142, “Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true.” He knew that believing that he himself was righteous would lead to wrong thinking, pride, arrogance and self-boasting. Knowing we can rely upon the rightness of God’s Word, we can depend upon the direction and guidance we receive as we read and study His Word.
Today as you reflect on these verses, think about your own attitude towards righteousness. Do you assume you are a good person, righteous and worthy of praise from men? When I begin thinking like that, I am reminded in humility of Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 64:6 ” We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”
Praise be to Jesus, the one who saves and presents us in right standing before God! Praise be to God that His Word is eternally true and guides us to live as He desires.