Day 52: El Tsaddik

“For the Lord is God,
    and he created the heavens and earth
    and put everything in place.
He made the world to be lived in,
    not to be a place of empty chaos.
“I am the Lord,” he says,
    “and there is no other.
I publicly proclaim bold promises.
    I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner.
I would not have told the people of Israel[c] to seek me
    if I could not be found.
I, the Lord, speak only what is true
    and declare only what is right.”

Isaiah 45: 18-19

Consult together, argue your case.
    Get together and decide what to say.
Who made these things known so long ago?
    What idol ever told you they would happen?
Was it not I, the Lord?
    For there is no other God but me,
[El Tsaddik] and Savior.
    There is none but me.
Let all the world look to me for salvation!
    For I am God; there is no other.

Isaiah 45: 21-22

The people will declare,
    “The Lord is the source of all my righteousness and strength.”
And all who were angry with him
    will come to him and be ashamed.

Isaiah 45:24

El Tsaddik: The Righteous God

Of all the names of God, this is the one I have wrestled with the most. El Tsaddik. The righteous God. Righteous.

It is the weak hinge that I see break most often in others’ faith. The Righteous God.

It is the hinge I have felt barely hanging on in my own. The Righteous...

“El Tsaddik” means of all the souls in the universe, God’s is the one that is always – always – right. Just. Morally perfect. Innocent. Those are some of the words we use to define “righteous.”

But if we’re honest, truly, gut-wrenchingly honest… it doesn’t always seem that way sometimes, does it? Sometimes we expect El Tsaddik to act a certain way because He is El Tsaddik, and He defies our expectations. We know what the righteous do, and He did…otherwise. It’s the (we feel) cruelty He condones and sometimes commands in the Old Testament that we stumble over, or the horror stories we hear from others of things that happened in their own lives. It’s the things that twist our stomachs in disgust and terror, and we only human! It’s the things people are capable of doing to each other, it’s the natural things in this brutal, wild world that shock us, it’s that El Tsaddik would create such a world or even for a moment sustain it. (And yet, at the same moment, we’re grateful, surpassingly grateful, that He does!)

This world is so upside down, inside out, twisting, curving, coming fast – like we all have a bad case of the twisties when we try to figure out what’s right, like we can no longer tell which way is up or down until it slams into us hard. God bless Simone Biles for opening the world’s eyes to what that feels like, and the damage it can do.

It has crashed and broken many a strong and healthy-looking faith. But as Miss Biles so courageously pointed out to the world, health is more than the muscle and skill we see on the outside. True, full faith-health is founded on this one crucial, perfectly shaped Cornerstone: El Tsaddik, The Righteous God, is right.

When I don’t understand Him, He is right.

When I disagree with Him, He is right.

However I may feel, He is right!

Without this foundational belief to give shape to the rest, our faith will always be crooked, and crooked is weak, easily broken. What sits at the wrong angle to other things cannot give them its full support; if we do not believe in God’s rightness and righteousness over our own, our faith will never be strong enough. It will never land on its feet.

I believe God is right and does right.

Why is He right?

Because He is El Tsaddik, it is His very name, the exact, perfect standard on which the earth was made. When we can’t trust ourselves, we can trust Him. He never gets the twisties. 🙂

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