Psalm 89:14 declares that “righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.” The psalmist, of course, was speaking of God’s throne. Righteousness and justice go hand in hand with God. They are almost inseparable characteristics of who God is. With all there is that we’ll never understand about God’s nature or how God works, we can affirm God’s righteousness and justice.
These are covenantal words relating to God’s promise to all God’s people. Be sure, God does not go back on his promises. So, we are certain of how God will always act. God will reign with righteousness and justice. No question.
That’s how God reigns. Now, let’s consider another. Today’s reading from Isaiah offers a glimpse into a future reign of earthly rulers. In years prior, the people of God endured oppressive regimes. A tumultuous war had brought havoc upon them. The temptation to align with outside alliances was too strong.
But the Lord promised new rulers would come. Notice how the prophet describes them: A king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule with justice. Yes, the new rulers will exercise their power with the same kind of qualities we know of God. As a result, the people will find protection. Things will be made right.
Many Christians read Isaiah 32 as a messianic text. That is, more than describing a kingdom of a contemporary king, Isaiah portrays an image of a future Christ. The church has interpreted upwards of forty passages of Isaiah that way.
Of course, what we can say about God’s nature, we affirm about Christ’s. Jesus was God in flesh. If we do read Isaiah 32 as a messianic promise, then, it stands to reason the church is a part of that promise.
Scripture often uses righteousness and justice together to describe God. Notice in Isaiah 32 that the king will reign in righteousness and the princes will rule with justice. It’s our communion with God that fully displays God’s attributes. Now, I’m not suggesting a part of God’s identity has been cut off or we are taking God’s place. God doesn’t need us. God chooses us. What I want to reflect on is how God invites the church alongside the Spirit to work out his redemptive will.
Indeed, we should have the good news to share.
We learn how God’s righteousness and justice work out his covenantal promise to us. How have those characteristics shaped who we are as God’s people? What do they mean about what God desires for us? In turn, we learn principles that shape what our lives look like together. And all that to say that you and I, God’s church, have the joy of presenting God’s faithfulness to the world. We do so by living and demonstrating the values of Gods’ righteousness and justice.