Search This Blog

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Getting Dressed

Today in church our pastor said that he wants the church to embark on a month-long reading program of stories from the Old Testament. Ironically, I've been reading in the Old Testament now for quite a number of weeks. Each time I think I'm finished and ready to go (back to the New Testament), God catches my eye with something else.

I tell you, the Old Testament is so rich and full of profound stories. Granted, some of the Old Testament is a bit hard to read. Lists of people who beget and beget until the cows come home; very detailed directions for building a temple ... these are the things that try those of us with short attention spans. I suspect these seemingly dry places in the Old Testament can cause some of us to overlook some of its vast riches.

So I happened on one of these rich stories this week. It's found in the book of Zechariah 3:1-4. Here's what it says: "Then he showed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him." So the stage is set. There's Joshua, a most godly man, standing in front of God. Satan is there too ... to accuse him. Satan wants God to know what a filthy wretch Joshua is. Filled with sin, that Joshua. Tsk! Tsk!

The story continues, "The Lord said to Satan, 'The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?'" So God doesn't want to hear it from Satan. Notice how God doesn't even give Satan a chance to speak. He knows why Satan is there. But God points out to Satan that Joshua is His chosen one. God asks Satan if it isn't clear that Joshua has been "snatched from the fire" of condemnation and hell.

You might think God would at least want to consider the filthiness (sinfulness) of Joshua ... but He doesn't. He rebukes Satan, effectively telling Satan to just shut up! Can you just imagine?

Here's what happened then. "Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel (God). The angel (God) said to those (angels) who were standing with him, 'Take of his filthy clothes.' Then he (God) said to Joshua, 'See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.'"

Let's review this for a minute. Joshua is standing before God. Satan is there to accuse him and make sure God knows how sinful this supposedly godly main (a high priest) really is. God doesn't want to hear it and tells Satan to shut his trap. But as it happened, Joshua was a sinful man. Satan wasn't making stuff up about Joshua. The "father of lies" (as Satan is called) was telling the truth this time.

Joshua, the high priest who was supposed to be so holy, had sin in his life. But rather than listen to Satan talk about it, God simply cleans Joshua up. He removes the sin in his life. God tells His angels to take those filthy rags (sin) that Joshua is wearing. And God gives our friend Joshua new, rich garments (of righteousness). Now our high priest is righteous and holy. God took away the sin that condemned him, and replaced it with righteousness. Wow!

So what do you notice from stories like this? What can you learn? I see at least two important points. First, God does talk to Satan. But He's usually telling Satan how irrelevant (wrong) he is. Second, I notice that Satan doesn't argue with God. Apparently God would never put up with that! But the most important thing I see in this story is who Joshua is and who God is.

You see, even the most godly of men (or women) sin. In fact, other than Jesus, there has never been anyone who walked the face of this earth without sin. So even our pastor, or others that you may look up to as godly people, they sin. They need Jesus. But God looks at us, and He wipes that sin away in an instant. Then He dresses us in righteousness. He makes us holy.

God has been in the business of taking off those filthy clothes (sin) that we all wear, and replacing it with rich new garments (of righteousness) for thousands of years. One might even think it's God's favorite thing to do!

There's a TV show called, "What not to wear." They find someone who is poorly dressed, get rid of their sorry garments and re-dress them in smart, stylish new clothes. I have watched that show and thought of this story about Joshua. It's like God has His own "What not to wear" TV show!

So who's dressing you today? And what will YOU wear?

No comments:

Post a Comment