November 18: Robert Murray M’Cheyne

The Lord Our Righteousness
by Rev. David T. Myers

Robert Murray McCheyne portraitWe have posted articles before on the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, the Scottish Presbyterian pastor and missionary who lived in the middle part of the nineteenth century. In the period of a short life on this earth, he accomplished much for the Lord Jesus, leaving his contemporaries much to ponder by his godly example as well as later saints of God to read and admire his life.

By his own testimony, accurately recorded by his contemporaries, like Andrew Bonar, as well as himself, he lived for the world, not heeding the call to receive Christ as Savior given often by his old Christian brother. But upon the death of that brother, whom he loved deeply, he laid aside his opposition to Christ and Him crucified, and received Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Soon afterwards, he was called into the gospel ministry.

One of his many gifts was that of gospel poetry, and many of them were put to music by writers in the hymnals of the day, as was the following hymn/poem. It tells the story of his own conversion in rhyme, and written on this day, November 18, 1834. It is called Jehovah Tsidkenu, The LORD my righteousness, which name is found in Jeremiah 23:6 and Jeremiah 33:16. It follows:

I once was a stranger to grace and to God,
I knew not my danger, and felt not my load;
Though friends spoke in rapture of Christ on the cross,
Jehovah Tsidkenu was nothing to me.

I oft read with pleasure, to soothe or engage,
Isaiah’s wild measure and John’s simple page;
But e’en when they pictured the blood-sprinkled tree
Jehovah Tsidkenu seemed nothing to me.

Like tears from the daughters of Zion that roll,
I wept when the waters went over His soul;
Yet thought not that my sins had nailed to the tree
Jehovah Tsidkenu – ’twas nothing to me.

When free grace awoke me, by light from on high,
Then legal fears shook me, I trembled to die;
No refuge, no safety in self could I see –
Jehovah Tsidkenu my Savior must be.

My terrors all vanished before the sweet name,
My guilty fears banished, with boldness I came
To drink at the Fountain, life-giving and free –
Jehovah Tsidkenu is all things to me.

Jehovah Tsidkenu! My treasure and boast,
Jehovah Tsidkenu! I ne’er can be lost;
In thee I shall conquer by flood and by field –
My cable, my anchor, my breastplate and shield!

Even treading the valley, the shadow of death,
This “watchword” shall rally my faltering breath;
For while from Life’s fever my God sets me free,
Jehovah Tsidkenu my death-song shall be.

Words to Live By:
Do not trust in any supposed righteousness found in yourself or your good works. They are all filthy rags in the Lord’s holy sight. We are only made righteous by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone. This is the blessed gospel. When that is done, then His perfect righteousness will be laid to your account. We will be able to stand and only stand alone by that divine righteousness. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB) Reader, have you received Jehovah Tsidkenu, or the Lord as your righteousness alone?

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