Immediately after prophesying of the destruction of the wicked and the gathering of Israel, Isaiah proclaims the coming of the Messiah:
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:Isaiah 11:1, 2 Nephi 21:1
Isaiah often writes in synonymous parallelisms, saying the same thing twice using different words. Jesus Christ was a descendant of Jesse (the father of King David), and so He was like a rod growing from Jesse’s stem or a branch growing from Jesse’s roots.
Isaiah goes on to say that the Savior would be knowledgeable and wise, and that He would judge accurately, not just according to what we see and hear. Then, He summarized the Savior’s character with the following statement:
And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins,
and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.Isaiah 11:6, 2 Nephi 21:6
Righteousness and faithfulness are like the belt around His waist: always present, connected to Him, almost a part of Him. The Savior is not only righteous when it is convenient, or in certain circumstances. His righteousness is always with Him.
Nephi quotes fourteen chapters of Isaiah, including this passage. He subsequently quotes this passage again, as he elaborates on the events preceding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. (See 2 Nephi 30:10-11.)
In 1831, the Lord used this same metaphor to describe what He expects from His disciples: “I will…that every man should take righteousness in his hands and faithfulness upon his loins” (Doctrine and Covenants 63:36-37).
We should follow the Savior’s example of constant righteousness. Faithfulness to God’s commandments should become habitual for us, as intuitive as wearing clothes. We should carry our righteousness with us wherever we go, and we shouldn’t have to think twice about keeping the covenants we’ve made or upholding the standards we’ve agreed to live by.
Today, I will wear righteousness like I wear my clothes. I will consider righteousness to be an essential part of who I am, constantly with me in every situation throughout the day.