Righteousness and Godliness

Leviticus 25&26


My own personal definition of Righteousness and Godliness is this. Righteousness is how man is to treat his fellow man based on his relationship and belief in God. Godliness is the goal of my relationship with God based on being obedient to God’s Word.

 In Chapter 25 God gives His Law regarding the treatment of another person who has become poor. In those days a person’s property, his family including his wife, could be sold to pay off a debt. The man might sell his children or even himself into slavery to pay off his debt. When a man fell to this level in life there was no hope of recovery, but that was simply the way of the world.

 Jesus told his disciples that the way of the world was to lord it over another, in other words, to strive to get an advantage over another person and take advantage of every opportunity to get ahead in order to gain wealth and power.  Jesus said that in the Kingdom of God one must become a servant to become great. Matthew 20:25&26  (for application to the Church 1 Peter 5:3)

 God is concerned about people and so the law includes several ways a man might become free and his land returned to him.  God reminds the people that God owns the land. They are to be stewards of the land they have received during the time they are on earth but when they depart this world the land and their possessions will be left to another. This perspective must be maintained if we desire to be righteous before God. Our concern for the welfare of others must be more important than our amassing possessions for ourselves by taking advantage of others.

 I was originally a Quaker pastor. One of the things that drew me to the Quakers was that they applied their relationship with God in their business conduct with others. In their stores there was no haggling over the price of an item. Haggling for the best price was how business was done in the early years of Quakers. The Quakers business owners sought to set a fair price for the items they sold and marked that price on each item. Even if offered more they would not take it. As this became known in the communities, their businesses flourished because they had a reputation for fair and honest businesses.  All of this came as a result of their desire to live Godly lives and seek to trust and glorify God. The result was that they lived righteous lives in relation to other people based on their desire to honor and glorify God. In other words, their faith affected how they lived every aspect of their lives. This brings us to Chapter 26.

 In Jude 21 we are told to, “Keep yourselves in the love of God…”  NASB

God is saying the same thing in the first 13 verses of Chapter 26. God is saying if you will obey Me I will bless you and when they obey He does bless, yet as we progress in our study we will see that as they prosper they drift away from their first love. (See Revelation 2:1-7)

 Starting at verse 14 we see warning after warning of what will happen to the people if they reject God. As we read of one warning after another, we can’t help but wonder how they would ever let things get this bad.  When a child of God loses sight of the God they loved and starts to love the things of the world the downward spiral begins. This leads to a hardening process similar to the one we saw in Pharaoh back in the book of Exodus. The more one resists God the harder the heart becomes. The harder the heart becomes the more pressure it is going to take to break that hardness.

  In an earlier study we saw how faith, hope, and love come together like a triangle. A triangle is a very strong structure.  It can withstand a lot of pressure, but if you remove just one of the three legs it won’t even support itself let alone any load. The devil’s attack against our faith is often targeted at our love or hope in God. If he can get us to move our love or hope from God to the world a crash will follow. This is because when one leg is moved in that faith, hope, and love triangle, the others eventually move as well. Soon that faith, hope, and love, triangle is no longer in God but in the things of the world, and that faith is strong. The heart is hardened against God and it is going to take a lot of pressure to overcome the resistance.

 Future studies will show that when God prospered His people the prosperity showed what they were truly loving, hoping, and putting their faith in. Prosperity is fertile ground for the devil to work. He appeals to the sin nature and plants his seeds. He has a multi-purpose fertilizer that feeds fear and insecurity, as well as false hope. The triangle shelter is built and the heart gets harder. We will read these blessings and warnings again as we journey through the Bible. God will not give up on His people but for us today, we would be wise to heed the warning!

 Keep the faith in place!

Pastor Dave