Take Off Those Filthy Clothes!

Today’s Reading: Zechariah 3-6, Psalm 87 & 99

“Return to me and I will return to you” – God loved His people and longed to renew His relationship with them. When they were in captivity, He continued to watch over them. He allowed other nations to have dominion over them but only for a time and that time of exile was over. He was now ready to rebuild, renew, and restore His people.

“My love for Jerusalem is passionate and strong.” – Zechariah 1:14a

On the holy mountain stands the city founded by the Lord.
He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city in Israel.
O city of God, what glorious things are said of you!
– Psalm 87:1-3

The Lord says, “Shout and rejoice, O beautiful Jerusalem, for I am coming to live among you. Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on that day, and they, too, will be my people. I will live among you, and you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me to you. The land of Judah will be the Lord’s special possession in the holy land, and he will once again choose Jerusalem to be his own city. Be silent before the Lord, all humanity, for he is SPRINGING INTO ACTION from his holy dwelling.” – Zechariah 2:10-13

God chose two men to play an important role in the rebuilding of the Temple and the rebuilding of the nation. He placed Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel as governor of Judah (you’ll recognize him as a part of the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1) and Jeshua son of Jehozadak as high priest (Haggai 2:2).

The passage of Scripture in Zechariah chapter 3 describes beautifully how Jeshua was cleansed from his sins and called by God. Before you read the passage, I ask you to prepare your heart. Picture that this passage is about you. Satan is pointing out all the times you have sinned and revealing all your imperfections but the Lord is rejecting Satan’s accusations – saving you from the pit of hell and clothing you with redemption. Claim this Scripture today and rebuke Satan for the ways in which he tries to discourage you and tell you that you are not worthy or capable of what God has told you to do. Put yourself in place of Jeshua the high priest, coming out of exile and receiving his call from God.

Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. And the Lord said to Satan, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.”

Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.”

Then I said, “They should also place a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the Lord stood by.

Then the angel of the Lord spoke very solemnly to Jeshua and said, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: If you follow my ways and carefully serve me, then you will be given authority over my Temple and its courtyards. I will let you walk among these others standing here. – Zechariah 3:1-7

My love for you is passionate and strong. So take off the filthy clothes of your past. I have taken away your sins and I am giving you fine new clothes – priestly garments – garments that come with a calling. SO follow my ways and carefully serve me, for I am giving you a job to do.

When the accuser tells you that you cannot do what God has called you to do or that you cannot live the holy life that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies expects, remind him of the Lord’s words to Zerubbabel:

It is not by force nor by strength, but BY MY SPIRIT, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain for him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone at the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!” – Zechariah 4:6-7

God had commissioned Zerubbabel to rebuild the Temple – not an easy task. God had commissioned Jeshua to rebuild the Temple worship – also not an easy task. But He was not asking them to do it of their own strength. In that regard, the Accuser is right. We are not capable of doing what God is asking us to do, at least not of our own strength. But God equips us, He fills us, He works through us to accomplish His will. Where there seem to be mountains before us, God is capable of leveling the path ahead. And WHEN GOD IS IN IT, GOD WILL BLESS IT!

“…But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I AM WITH YOU, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do NOT be afraid.” – Haggai 2:4-5

Be strong! I have cleansed you and clothed you in new garments. I am the God of what is ahead. I am in the middle of what I am asking you to do and I will bless it. I am the God of your yesterdays and you have been forgiven, so flee from your captivity and stop wearing those filthy clothes. Do not be afraid. I am with you.