Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Thursday, March 3, 2016
“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; Even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.” (Zechariah 3:1–5).
I just love how God uses symbols and people’s testimonies to get His point across to people like us. He makes it so easy, even when the subject matter is a tad complex, if we will submit to Him and pay attention to the details.
In this story, we have depicted Joshua, a high priest. The first detail that commands our attention is his name. Joshua and Jesus are the same name in Hebrew. Joshua is a high priest. Jesus is our eternal High Priest. Then, predictably, the devil comes into the scene to oppose the high priest and the angel of the Lord. Does that sound familiar? Does the devil stand to oppose all that is holy, including God’s work in our lives? The answer is obvious. Just take a moment and look at your own life. Does the enemy dog your every step?
Notice what happens here. The devil is on scene to oppose Joshua and the angel and gets rebuked in the name, and under the authority of the Lord. Our Lord rebuked the devil, established His love and advocacy of Joshua, took away his filthiness, and set His seal of approval on his life. What does this indicate about Satan’s opposition in this instance? Based upon the rebuke of Satan and restoration of Joshua, Satan’s only purpose was to remind God and Joshua of Joshua’s sins. He is indeed the accuser of our brethren. So when God did all that we described here, He was announcing to all that when any of His children are accused and condemned by Satan, if we fall upon God’s mercy, surrender our lives to Him, and repent by the power of His Spirit, He will handle that ol’ serpent, Satan. Did you notice that Joshua never said a word to the devil? God stood up and took care of everything. When God stands for you, the enemy must fall back. And in this case, the Bible says that Joshua was clothed in God’s righteousness and the angel continued to stand by.
What a wonderful lesson indeed. God used the life of an earthly high priest who needed the help of his eternal High Priest to illustrate that we can flee into God’s presence where no enemy can wrest us from His care. No sin, guilt, or shame can stand in judgment against one whom the Lord cleanses. If we ultimately surrender to God’s will in our lives, no sin is too much for Him to forgive. No sin is too much for Him to cleanse. And the end result of our Great High Priest’s ministry in our lives is that the devil will be rebuked, God will be glorified, and heaven will see us as though we had never sinned. How is this possible? As we said earlier this week, the righteous character of Jesus is superimposed upon the life of those who surrender to Him. Thus, His gleaming character replaces our soiled record of past sins. The key is that we must remain in right relationship with God, confessing and forsaking all known sins, and He will make us holy.