The name “Jeshurun” appears four times in the Bible, all in the book of Deuteronomy. It is used as a poetic name for Israel. Understanding the meaning and significance of this name can shed light on God’s relationship with His people.
The Hebrew word “Jeshurun” literally means “upright one” or “righteous one.” It is derived from the root word “yashar” which means straight, right, or upright. As a term for Israel, it highlights God’s ideal for His people – that they would live righteously and walk uprightly before Him (Deuteronomy 32:15).
By referring to Himself as the God of Jeshurun, God is declaring His special relationship with Israel. He has chosen them and set His affection on them. He wants them to live up to the righteous, upright status conveyed by this name. He desires for them to be His treasured possession, a holy nation, reflecting His character to the world (Deuteronomy 7:6-8).
The name Jeshurun also connects back to Israel’s forefather Jacob. After wrestling with God, Jacob was given the name “Israel” which means “one who struggles with God” (Genesis 32:28). It represented Jacob’s character at that time. However, by calling Israel “Jeshurun,” God looks beyond their present failings to what they can become by His grace – righteous and upright.
God affirms His unconditional love and acceptance of Israel by calling them Jeshurun despite their shortcomings. He sees them through eyes of grace according to His eternal purposes. God often shows this same patient, transforming love toward His wayward people throughout Scripture. When we stray, He draws us back through grace and transforms us increasingly into the righteous people we were created to be.
The God of Jeshurun also disciplines the people He loves. Deuteronomy 8:5 states, “Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you.” God allowed Israel to hunger in the wilderness to humble and test them (Deuteronomy 8:3). His loving discipline aims to refine their faith and shape their hearts toward greater obedience. His followers still experience such refinement today (Hebrews 12:7-11).
As the God of Jeshurun, the Lord fulfills His promises to the nation of Israel. Despite their grumbling and rebellion in the wilderness, He sustained them miraculously and brought them into the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 8). Much later, He restored the Jewish exiles to their homeland after the Babylonian captivity, just as He had promised through the prophets (Jeremiah 30:3).
God’s covenants with His chosen people culminate in the coming of the Messiah. Jesus is the ultimate “Jeshurun” – completely righteous and perfectly obedient to the will of God. Through His atoning sacrifice, Jesus makes possible the righteousness and spiritual rebirth of all who put their faith in Him (Romans 3:21-26).
As the God of Jeshurun, the Lord calls His followers to holiness and spiritual growth. He wants His people to live up to the righteous name He has bestowed. This requires maintaining a close relationship with God, allowing Him to refine our hearts and transform us progressively into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:12-18).
The name Jeshurun is a perpetual reminder that righteousness comes through God’s grace, not our own merit. No matter how often we may stumble, He remains faithful to transform and restore us to upright walking if we humbly depend on Him. His divine purpose is to present all His people – Jewish and Gentile believers alike – blameless and holy before Him through the sanctifying work of Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
In summary, God calling Himself the God of Jeshurun expresses His tender love for His people Israel. It encapsulates His ideals, promises, discipline, and gracious provision for them. This name remains relevant today, reminding all followers of Christ that our God sees us as righteous in Christ and is still in the process of making us upright in character through His transforming grace.
Here are key verses related to the name Jeshurun and its meaning:
Deuteronomy 32:15 – But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked; you grew fat, stout, and sleek; then he forsook God who made him and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.
Deuteronomy 33:5 – Thus the Lord became king in Jeshurun when the heads of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Israel together.
Deuteronomy 33:26 – “There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty.
Isaiah 44:2 – Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
In conclusion, the God of Jeshurun is a God who chooses, forms, loves, disciplines, provides for, and patiently transforms His people. As we walk uprightly in humble faith, allowing Him to refine us, we live out the righteous identity He intended for us, bringing glory to His name.