Character Vs Righteousness

“Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh” Colossians 3:23

Every four years in the USA, we are presented with men of great character to consider electing as our president. Some of these men have rags-to-riches stories that defy the odds. Others have shown great business success and leadership. Still others exemplify professionalism, and charisma that resounds with many Americans.

All of their accomplishments shew their character. Character is the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual. These people have all done something that sets them apart from the crowd. In an age that seeks to make everyone the same, character is noted, and revered. True character is severely lacking.

But because you CAN do something to stand out, should you? Opportunities are endless, and believers are the most aware and aggressive time managers in civilization. Always looking to set higher goals and push for greater statistics, sometimes moral excellence is sacrificed to get the job done. 

Take Jepthah, a judge of Israel, who was a mighty man of valour. Jepthah vowed to God that if He would deliver the Ammonites, his enemies, into his hand, that he would sacrifice(kill) the first living thing that met him when he returned home again. God did, and when Jepthah came home, his only daughter ran and danced to meet him at the front gate. What a predicament! As his little girl ran to give him a hug, he rent his clothes in grief- for he was NOT going to go back on his word. (See Judges 11)

Jepthah was a man of character. But his character usurped God’s will in three prideful ways: First, his character made him proudly think that God would trade for victory. God never barters with his blessings- He gives because He is good. He doesn’t need our offering for worship, WE need an offering to worship.
God never asked for a human sacrifice to satisfy his law, until, and never after, Jesus Christ.

Second, his character made him proudly think that his reputation was too important. Offering a mystery sacrifice is not worship- God described what he accepted perfectly in the law. Obviously, Jepthah knew the history of Israel, he just placed himself above it. He should have humbly admitted his mistake, instead of forcing his will on God.

Thirdly, his character made him proudly think that God would honor his character despite committing murder. Jepthah’s daughter spent two months preparing to die, two long months in which God would have taken MANY other animal sacrifices in her place, yet in the end, Jepthah kept his word, and took her life.

Don’t be blinded by the lure of accomplishment. Don’t be fooled into admiration of reputation and record. It really doesn’t matter WHAT men have done; it is HOW they have done it. Jepthah kept his word, but he killed his daughter. Righteousness is the crowning achievement, not a résumé.

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8)

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