The word righteous in the modern era seems a bit archaic and even irrelevant. John Adams, the second President of the United States, spoke of the Constitution with these words: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
He combines the principles of morality and religion in a single sentence. Both the dictionary definition of righteous and its use in Scripture make that same connection.
From Dictionary.com: righteous (adjective)
- characterized by uprightness or morality: a righteous observance of the law.
- morally right or justifiable: righteous indignation.
- acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous: a righteous and godly person.
Paul, writing to Timothy says in I Timothy 1:9 “. . . knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners . . .”
One may conclude that a righteous man is one who does not need the law to force good and moral behavior but finds the inward strength to do so voluntarily. But what defines “good” behavior and “moral” behavior seems to be changing in our society.
The United States has always been diverse culturally and religiously. But laws and societal norms have been relatively consistent up until the 1960’s. The good citizen was one who obeyed the law, was patriotic, got an education, held a job if possible, cared for family, was honest and participated in the community.
Fast forward to 2016: We see a society that has been turned upside down, particularly in the last eight years. No further description of the change is needed other than that found in Scripture.
Isaiah 5:20 (NKJV)
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
Law enforcement has always been the righteous guarding the righteous and unrighteous alike. But now they are being denigrated as criminals themselves and hunted down and killed just because they are cops. The thin blue line is getting thinner and when it finally breaks what remains is chaos and anarchy.
Ezekiel 22:30 (NKJV)
“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”
Is it time for the righteous man to draw his sword? The righteous man is not just the law enforcement officer or the soldier or the judge or the civil servant. It is every man and every woman who is willing to lay it on the line to stand in the gap for our country.
Many years ago the standard exercise in typing class was “Now is the time for every good man to come to the aid of his country.” It had something to do with learning to type using both hands and all fingers.
Perhaps the typing exercise has become reality.