“Let grace be shown to the wicked,
Yet he will not learn righteousness;
In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly,
And will not behold the majesty of the Lord”
ISAIAH 26:10 (NKJV)
Righteousness is not the product of our environment nor is it the result of favor being shown to us. If everything was to go our way, and the blessings of all that this world has to offer were given to us, it would not help us to learn righteousness. For Righteousness is an issue of the heart not of our surroundings. The righteousness of God is known on the basis of Judgment, not favor. In the verse that precedes this one (which gives us the flow of God’s thought here) it states…
“…For when Your judgments are in the earth,
The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness”
The righteousness that is available to us in the New Covenant is because of the terrible Judgment that was poured out on our Blessed Savior. Men who fail to appreciate the reason for the cross are never really impacted by the corresponding grace that flows from Him. Righteousness is not only a gift it is a life that we LEARN by walking with Him. Men who take sin lightly will never learn righteousness; the change of whom and what they are is temporary and ethereal. Our environment and how we are treated will not change what we are in heart. Righteousness must be learned by walking and interacting with our God.
The true child of God knows of His discipline and His chastening. It is of necessity that we know of this in our lives. For it is in these things that we LEARN and GROW in righteousness.
“My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord,
nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth…”
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous,
but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth
the peaceable fruit of righteousness
unto them which are exercised thereby”
How good and right are His ways with us. As a loving Father with a child HE deals with us according to His plan and purposes. Joseph did not know that the path laid out for him was the means by which he was made ready to rule and reign. God waited and watched carefully over Joseph until the “Iron entered into his soul” and his word came!
“He sent a man before them, even Joseph,
who was sold for a servant:
Whose feet they hurt with fetters:
he was laid in iron:
(Hebrew “Iron hath entered his soul”)
Until the time that his word came:
the word of the LORD tried him.
The king sent and loosed him;
even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.
He made him lord of his house,
and ruler of all his substance:
To bind his princes at his pleasure;
and teach his senators wisdom”
His judgments are always meant to be remedial and redemptive in purpose. Men who spurn His discipline and harden their hearts toward Him pay the bitterest of prices. For it is those who are “exercised” by His chastening that receive the peaceable fruits of righteousness. May we be a people who are quick to submit ourselves to His dealings that we may grow in His righteousness and love. He knows the things that lie before us and His preparation work is that we may become “vessels of honor” unto His Glory in the days ahead.
“…Or despisest thou the riches
of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering;
not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart
treasurest up unto thyself wrath
against the day of wrath and revelation
of the righteous judgment of God”
“The steady discipline of intimate friendship with Jesus
results in men becoming like Him”
Harry Emerson Fosdick