Righteous Rain

I encountered the following passage in Isaiah today, and found an unusual word-picture from God’s prophet.

“You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it.”   — Isaiah 45:8

I often picture righteousness as something to be striven for, or a goal off in the distance which requires deeds and a change of heart which I know I cannot make all by myself.  And I know that righteousness – true righteousness – was only ever lived out by God’s Son.  For me, to obtain righteousness, I must rely on God’s grace.  I can’t get there all on my own.

So I like the picture presented above.  Instead of righteousness being formed from within me (which I have said is simply not possible), the view given by Isaiah is righteousness being poured down on us like rain.  Note that it it doesn’t say that grace is poured down, but righteousness itself.  This is a difficult concept for me to grasp sometimes.  It’s like saying a bad student will receive an “A” in a class because the “A” flows from the teacher’s wisdom, not from the student’s efforts.  That seems backwards to me, but it is exactly the principle that God wants us to understand.  Righteousness comes down from above, and salvation springs up.


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