It was Sunday morning and Randy Smith was in his office at the church building getting ready for the morning service. As he was going over his sermon notes one last time he was interrupted by the sound of crying coming from outside his office door. “I really don't have time to deal with another problem right now,” he thought to himself but decided he better see who it was.
As Randy stepped into the hallway he saw a sobbing Bernadette with what looked like some kind of pottery in her hand. “What's wrong, Bernadette?” He asked, “Why are you crying?” “I broke it?” came the reply through the mournful sobs. “I’ll probably get sent to my room for a week.”
“What did you break?” Randy asked, wondering if it was something belonging to the church. “Our best plate.” Bernadette said. “Your best plate?” Randy said, “How did that happen.” “Well,” Bernadette went on to explain between her sobs, “I was trying to get it down from the cupboard and it slipped out of my hand.”
“That is kind of sad.” Randy said trying to console her, “What were you going to use it for?” “To help you.” Bernadette said and burst in to a loud cry. “Help me?” Randy said “How?” “ I heard you were going to talk about the best plate this morning.” Bernadette said still crying. “Best plate!” Randy said, “I wasn’t going to talk about the best plate, I was going to talk about the breast plate.”
“What!?” Bernadette gasped, “They turn those into plates?” “No, Bernadette.” Randy said, “I’m talking about a piece of armor that covers the breast area.” “Oh” said Bernadette when she heard that. “This plate is made of righteousness.” Randy continued.
After a moment of silence, Bernadette asked, “When you get done with it can I have it? I need it to replace the one I broke.” “I don't think that will work.” Randy said shaking his head. “I didn’t think so.” Bernadette sighed, “Maybe I can use it to protect my self when I tell my Mom what happened to her plate.”
“You haven't told her yet?” Randy asked wondering if she was going to try and hide it from her mom. “Not yet.” Bernadette said. “I don't want to but I need to because it is the right thing to do.” Your right.” Randy said, “And you know what? That is the breast plate of righteousness at work.” “What?” Bernadette said. “You mean doing right helps protect us?”
“That's right.” Randy said. “Has anybody told Harold that?” Bernadette said almost laughing. “Maybe I can right him a letter and tell him. After all, doing the wrong thing never helped him at all.” “You can say that again.” Randy said in agreement to which Bernadette did and then left.
During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.
Exodus 2:23-25 (ESV)
Israel had been living in Egypt as invited guests but the times had changed, they were slaves in need of rescue. That was No problem, all God needed to do was send send Moses to Pharaoh to say “Let My people go.” and all will go … Well, maybe it was going to take some persuasion. Through Moses and Aaron, God performed one miracle after another for Pharaoh – a snake from a rod, blood, frogs, insects, cattle die, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, 1st born dead, pillars of fire, dividing the Red Sea. Time and time again, Pharaoh refused to do what God wanted him to do. Instead of doing what was right he hardened his heart and refused to let the people go. Soon after Israel was free, they tried to follow in Pharaoh's footsteps and refused to do what was right as well. (Exodus 7-14)
In the book of Ephesians, Paul, talking about the armor of God tells us in 6:14b to put on the breastplate of righteousness, (ESV) Righteousness basically means doing what is right and there is much about it in the Bible.
- Deuteronomy 6:18 And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers (ESV)
- Philippians 1:11 be filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (ESV)
- Philippians 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— (ESV)
We must also remember that the breastplate coves some very important organs – like the heart.
- Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. (ESV)
- Matthew 15:18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. (ESV)
- Luke 6:45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (ESV)
- Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (ESV)
Here's Something To Ponder
- Do you practice righteousness in what you do?
- Do you protect your heart?