Today Pam is sharing with us her reflections from the Bible on “I believe in the communion (or fellowship), of the saints and the life everlasting.”
I have no idea what Pam will have to say but I found her first reading choice particularly intriguing:
Then he showed me the high priest Joshua standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this man a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was dressed with filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And to him he said, “See, I have taken your guilt away from you, and I will clothe you with festal apparel. 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 the apparel; and the angel of the LORD was standing by ((Zechariah 3:1-5).
Now this is a musing, not a technical study, so just a few thoughts off the top of my head.
Firstly, the passage is the fourth of a series of visions. These were not things Zechariah was expecting. They were completely unexpected and not necessarily welcome or understood. It is so important for us to be attentive to what is happening. Write things down that strike you. Reflect on them. Ask if your wondering is in the Bible? If you don’t know, include someone else. This is how we hear, see and experience God in action. The Bible part is vital because God will never contradict himself, so scripture is always the measure.
Secondly, this fascinating picture of Joshua and Satan. Joshua doesn’t look like much. He is dishevelled and guilty. Satan stands there and accuses him before God. In Revelation 12 we read that Satan pours out bile against you day and night before God’s throne. He is THE accuser of Christians. Do you listen to his accusations? – ponder them, chew on them, savour them at every meal? You absolutely should not. He is not only a liar and the one who seeks to rob, kill an destroy, but he is defeated! Jesus has defeated Satan and his lies, and God is not listening to him. So why are you?
Thirdly, “Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?” the voice in the vision asks. Isn’t that all of us? “No one is righteous, no not even one,” Isaiah reminds us. Right here, in the Old Testament, we see that it has always been salvation by grace, by free gift, not by some effort or specialness drummed up by ourselves.
Finally, it is how God sees you that matters, not even how you see yourself. He reclothes Joshua in this beautiful picture of grace. He has done everything for Joshua – chosen him, called him, adopted him, declared him righteous and made him a significant player in the divine drama. Joshua did nothing.
That’s you and me. It makes me want to be better, kinder, more generous. But above all it makes me want to see what God is up to wherever I am so I can celebrate, commiserate and join in.