Saturday, May 19, 2012

Not Guilty - Part 1

Oh my goodness!  The Lord showed me something this morning that was the New Testament picture of one of my favorite Old Testament scenes!  I've known it to be true but it was like He took me back to envision it anew!  I couldn't wait to blog it!  Then I realized that I had never written about the original Old Testament scene!  So here goes... Old Testament is Part 1, New Testament will be Part 2!

One of my favorite "pictures" in Scripture is from Zechariah 3. I first noticed it as I was reading in the CEV (Contemporary English Version). It's a vision that the LORD gave to the prophet Zechariah. In the vision, he saw Joshua, the high priest, standing in front of the LORD's throne.
...This time Joshua the high priest was standing in front of the LORD's angel. And there was Satan, standing at Joshua's right side, ready to accuse him. But the LORD, said, "Satan, you are wrong. Jerusalem is my chosen city, and this man was rescued like a stick from a flaming fire." (Zechariah 3:1b-2)

What an opportunist! It strikes me that wherever we are, satan is standing ready to accuse us - but, glory to God, the LORD doesn't even let satan get a word in. He knows why satan is there.  He calls satan the "accuser of the bretheren" (Rev. 12:10) He immediately cuts satan off and tells him that he is WRONG!

I love that! For so many reasons, I love that! So why do I so often hear him out? When satan presents to me all of the reasons why the LORD must be ready to give up on me or how I'll never change, why do I listen to - and worse still - dwell on his accusations? But our accuser is clever. Sometimes his words sound like they come through our voice.

I love that it was Joshua the high priest. He was God's man and God had his back. And, I love that the LORD didn't give satan a chance to voice his case!  Satan was simply declared wrong.

The vision continues...

Joshua's clothes were filthy. So the angel told some of the people to remove Joshua's filthy clothes. Then he said to Joshua, "This means you are forgiven. Now, I will dress you in priestly clothes." (vs. 3-4)

How beautiful!  Even the high priest is shown in filthy rags yet receiving grace and robes of righteousness!  We are ALL in need of grace!  No matter how much "good" we have done (or try to do) it is all still filthy rags in comparison with God's perfection (Isaiah 64:6).  When we stand in the courtroom of heaven, they don't measure up!  They are not enough!  BUT GOD, made provision and is willing to redress us!
Now, there is more... something profound in verse 4 that isn't evident in this translation.  The English Standard Version reads this way...
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.” (emphasis mine)

Do you know what that word "behold" means?  It means to "advise oneself, behold certainly, consider, discern, (make to) enjoy, have experience, mark, perceive, gaze upon."  (Strongs # 7200, Hebrew)  Many consider this angel of the Lord to be the preincarnate Christ.  Awesome! Regardless, in the court of heaven, Joshua was being told to advise himself of this... his sins were forgiven.  An exchange was being made.  His unrighteousness for God's righteousness.  Mark this transaction!  Why?  I believe because the enemy of our souls will try and accuse us again and we need to know we're forgiven!

Read it for yourself!  The scene even continues from here and Joshua is told that if he will walk in the ways of the Lord, he'll have immediate access to the Throne Room of heaven!  That's what we have when we pray!

So where are you?  If you found yourself standing before the Holy God today, have you traded in your filthy, sinful garments for His robes of righteousness?  Have you ever let Him dress you with the robes that He provides?  Have you given Him your sin?  If not, today is the day!  We have no guarantee of tomorrow.

If you have already done that, are you living like it?  Are you living with the security and peace that comes from knowing the Lord does not condemn you?  Or are you listening to lies that leave you discouraged and shamed?  Behold...

O Holy God, Judge of the courtroom of heaven, thank You for the day that You took away my sin and gave me Your righteousness!  I can't fathom the depths of Your love for me - the depths that You went to to provide robes of righteousness for me but I gladly accept them!  Thank You for not even allowing satan to open his mouth against me!  Help me to do the same when he comes to throw my sin back in my face.  I'm forgiven!  I have marked that transaction - and it brings me great joy!  In the Name of Jesus, my Savior, Amen!

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