By Bonnie Scasta, Women’s Ministry Director
“1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?’ 3 Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4 And the angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Remove the filthy garments from him.’ And to him he said, ‘Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.’ 5 And I said, ‘Let them put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments….” Zechariah 3:1-6
This narrative begins with Joshua, the high priest, standing before the Lord. Satan enters ready to accuse God’s man. The passage does not indicate the specifics of the accusations that Satan intends to spew forth, but I am sure we can relate. What would the charges be if it were you or I standing before the Lord? Pride? Sexual immorality? Greed? Idolatry? Lust? Would the enemy say you are unloved? Unwanted, unseen, less than, or alone?
Most of us resonate with some if not all of these. We feel attack by charges like these all the time—charges which can be intensified by the harsh words or actions of others. What’s more, we believe these things to be true of ourselves and operate as if we were condemned.
God’s response to Joshua brings hope for anyone struggling under accusations like these. These verses show that God rebukes the enemy for us. He does not tell the enemy that Joshua has not sinned or that his good outweighs his bad. The Lord rebukes the enemy because He has chosen Jerusalem, chosen Joshua and plucked him from the fire. If our trust is in Jesus, then we too are chosen. We too are snatched from this destruction, protected from the attacks of the enemy.
Not only are we chosen and the accusations rebuked, but the Lord also makes us clean, as he made Joshua clean. The high priest is standing before the Lord and Satan, with filthy clothes that mirror the filth of his sin. Joshua, however, is not hiding in shame or trying to clean himself up on his own. He stands before the Lord as he is, and the Lord calls him clean. He commands the angels to take off those filthy clothes and replace them white robes that evidence his righteousness.
This is a picture of the gospel, reminding us that no matter how dark our deeds, thoughts, or desires may be, there is hope in Jesus, who took on all our sins on the cross. All the debt our sin incurred is paid for by Jesus’ death on the cross. There is no wrath or condemnation left for us. He snatched us up and chose us just like Joshua.
Faith in Him not only removes our guilt, but also places Christ’s perfection upon us. We too get clean robes through Jesus. Now when God looks at us, He sees, not the condemnation of Satan, but Christ’s obedience. As the Father looks on Christ with perfect delight, He now looks on believers with complete love. Because of this great love, we can and should walk in the freedom that we are no longer defined or tainted by our sin. We are no longer condemned. We are redeemed!
What accusations have you readily agreed with, rather than actively rebuking them? Are you hiding in shame because you know you stand before the Lord, filthy from your sin? Will you trust in Christ to remove these accusations, believing you are clean before him and walk in the freedom He provides?