The Righteousness of the Saints
The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth. (Isaiah 26:7) Please note that, as this passage declares, it is God who makes the way of righteous level and smooth. None of us will ever stand before a holy God by our own efforts or religious merit. Let us not boast therefore about how much better we are than those poor, lost sinners all around us. Are we any more deserving of the grace of God than they are? We stand in right relationship with God only by the continual working of the grace of God—as we die daily to our old selves and our old lives. No human righteousness will stand in the judgment day, only the righteousness we receive from Jesus Christ. In Spurgeon’s words, “All true religion is the work of God…It is a sin of the greatest magnitude to suppose that there is aught in the heart which can be acceptable unto God, save that which God himself has first created there.” (Spurgeon, Spiritual Revival the Want of the Church)
The New King James Version translates verse 7 with a fascinating difference: “The way of the just is uprightness; O Most Upright, You weigh the path of the just.” In this translation, verse 7 seems to contradict itself because it states that the way of the just is upright, but then declares, “You weigh the path of the just.” The righteous may think that they are fine, that there is nothing more that needs to be done in their lives. It is those sinners out there in the world who need to change! But the Bible reveals that revival begins in the house of God, and that judgment begins in the house of God, also. The righteous are the very ones whose ways God weighs! God looks at the paths of His people, and searches out what is in their hearts. Remember that the Father is seeking a Bride for His Son who will be a “radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:27-28) That is a high calling indeed!
God was searching the heart of King Hezekiah when the Babylonian emissaries came to view all his treasures, and this godly man failed the test. How tragic were the consequences for his descendants, in whose time all those treasures that Hezekiah was so proud of were carried off to Babylon! In one way or another, he failed to fully appreciate the greatest treasure of all—his relationship with the Living God. He also failed to pass on that treasure to his children, to their fearful loss. His son, Manasseh, was the most wicked king Judah ever had, committing more sins and atrocities than the Canaanites whom Israel had replaced. (2 Kings 21:11) Yes, we are our brother’s and our children’s keepers! We will either leave a heritage that blesses or deprives those who come after us.
Many of us in this nation are deeply concerned about the heritage being left for our descendants. We are genuinely seeking God for revival in this generation, realizing the great need of our own hearts and of those all around us. Like Isaiah, we plead with the Lord, “Awake, awake! Clothe yourself with strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in days gone by, as in generations of old.” (Isaiah 51:9) We are standing and waiting in front of a door, knocking and asking God to open it, pleading with Him to show His power in our time. We pray as Habakkuk did, “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” (Habakkuk 3:2) But here comes the hard part! While we are knocking, God is searching our hearts.