The Kingdom of Righteousness
1 See, a king will reign in righteousness
and rulers will rule with justice.
2 Each man will be like a shelter from the wind
and a refuge from the storm,
like streams of water in the desert
and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.
3 Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed,
and the ears of those who hear will listen.
4 The mind of the rash will know and understand,
and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.
5 No longer will the fool be called noble
nor the scoundrel be highly respected.
6 For the fool speaks folly,
his mind is busy with evil:
He practices ungodliness
and spreads error concerning the LORD;
the hungry he leaves empty
and from the thirsty he withholds water.
7 The scoundrel’s methods are wicked,
he makes up evil schemes
to destroy the poor with lies,
even when the plea of the needy is just.
8 But the noble man makes noble plans,
and by noble deeds he stands.
Who We Do
This passage references a lot of identities, doesn’t it? The rash, the fool, the scoundrel, the noble. And more than this, it also connects each of these identities to certain actions, and some of these identities will change, while others will remain the same. What an important issue this is for all of us, for whom among us doesn’t want to change our behavior at some point in time? How do we accomplish such changes?
Verse 8 is a great insight into this issue of identity and action, where it states that a noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands. There is a type of order to this, that a noble person (identity) will make noble plans (thought), which leads to noble deeds (action). But first in this process is the identity of this person, that they are a noble person who then does noble deeds.
I think this resonates with what Christ teaches and reveals in his ministry. Jesus teaches in Luke 6 that the words we speak don’t come out of a vacuum, but are the overflow of our heart. And so if we speak curses and anger at others, we simply cannot deny, as much as we would like, that we must have anger and hatred in our hearts. So when it comes to changing our behavior, it is helpful not just to focus on the actions that we perform, but the identity out of which these actions overflowed.
Too often, we spend a majority of our time and effort fruitlessly trying to change behavior, when in the end, deeper and harder questions of identity must be addressed. But we take heart and courage in knowing that the blood of Christ answered the deepest questions of identity by making us sons and daughters of God.
1. If you have a problem with lust, what is it about your identity, or past experiences, makes that a harder sin to resist and overcome?
2. If you have a problem with pride, what is it about your identity, or past experiences, makes that a harder sin to resist and overcome?
3. If you have a problem with jealousy, what is it about your identity, or past experiences, makes that a harder sin to resist and overcome?
4. If you have a problem with anger, what is it about your identity, or past experiences, makes that a harder sin to resist and overcome?