“Then the angel showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Joshua. 2 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.”
3 Joshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. 4 So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Joshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.”
5 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 (New Living Translation, Zechariah 5:1-5).”
Zechariah had a vision of Joshua, the high priest, standing in the presence of “The Angel of the Lord” with Satan at his right hand. Satan was there making accusations about Joshua’s sin. The devil was there to throw Joshua’s past in his face, to remind him that his sin had made him “filthy,” and even though Joshua had a call on his life, the accuser wanted him to feel that he was no longer fit to stand in God’s presence.
This is a perfect example in scripture of the enemy’s tireless efforts to deceive the people of God, to discredit the redemptive work that God has done, and to hinder their desire to worship the Lord. We have all experience feelings of unworthiness because of our sin, but those feelings never come from God. Once we have repented, the Lord has snatched us from the fire and has made us clean.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (King James Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:17).”
In the man of God’s vision, Joshua is clothed in “filthy garments” which represent his sin, and the untiring accuser of the brethren was there to declare that his sin had disqualified him as a servant of God. Joshua was, “filthy,” and no acceptable sacrifice could be offered to make him clean. Satan is always quick to suggest to the God’s children that they might as well stop rebuilding, stop reinstituting genuine worship, and stop attempting to stir up revival, because it’s too late and their sins have taken them too far from God’s presence.
One of the things the devil still tries to get me with, nearly every Sunday, he whispers in my ear, “you better stop crying so much, they’re gonna think your back to your old ways preacher.”
It’s true, I cry a lot, but not because I’m convicted over sin, because we’ll sing a song, or the pastor will say something that reminds me how far I’ve come from where I had been, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for God’s mercy and His grace will remind me of His great love for me, and I break into tears at the thought of How good He has been to me – and I know I don’t deserve it!
Listen! It is important to note that the most important part of this passage reveals to us that the accuser’s efforts were in vain! The devil’s effort to discredit Joshua were a failure, in fact it says, that when he opened his mouth to accuse Joshua, the Lord rebuked him, God told the devil to shut his mouth!
He said, you tried to get him, but I snatched this one from the fire, you’re not getting this one devil, he repented, and the blood has made him clean! Then, the Lord ordered the “filthy garments” which represented Joshua’s sin, to be removed, and the Lord took away Joshua’s iniquity he and clothed him with “pure vestments” and a “clean turban” was placed on his head.
There is much that we can appropriate for ourselves from Zechariah’s vision as we too struggle with sin and Satan’s accusations daily. Sin can hinder revival if we allow the devil to deceive us and fail to repent and allow the Lord to purify our vestments.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation (1 Peter 2:9-12).”
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world (1 Peter 5:6-9).”
Our enemy, the devil, is still as persistent as ever to accuse and discourage us in our efforts to serve the Lord. He is always there standing ready to accuse us, but our Advocate, our Lord Jesus Christ, stands in our defense, and at the very moment the devil opens his lying mouth – The Lord says, “I Rebuke you,” or to be blunter, God tells the devil to shut his filthy lying mouth.
I John 2:1
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Our adversary is very real, he is not a myth, and we should take notice of an important fact mentioned in the text: the only reason he was there, was to accuse. He had no power, no authority, and no effect on the outcome of the redeeming work that God was doing for Joshua. And the same is true for us, if we walk uprightly before our God. Anyone that messes with God’s people, is messing with God.
“For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye (Zechariah 2:8).”
The devil is a lie! He wants to keep us out of God’s presence and he will try anything and everything to accomplish his goal. He wants to get us to the point where we want to just throw our hands in the air and surrender to defeat and step back from the Lord. But I come with a word of encouragement - Tell the devil to shut his mouth!
Yes, throw your hands in the air, while you open your mouth and begin to praise God! Stand strong in the Lord and know that God will give you strength to endure. The enemy knows that God has redeemed us from the fire, and that God’s burdens are light, so he will take the smallest things and place it them a microscope to make your circumstances and burdens appear to be bigger and heavier than what they are.
Since I started this blog, just a little over 2 years ago, I’ve had to battle the enemy. He tells me that I’m wasting my time. He reminds me that I lost my pulpit because of my sin, and tries to make me feel that this is just a consolation prize. It appears, once I told the Lord yes, the enemy has been working overtime to stop me. He is constantly reminding me of the failure of my past, and I must say, I don’t always dismiss his reminders so easily. I left the door wide open and Satan came in and stole from me what I should have been vigilant to protect. He is always saying things like, “No one cares what you have to say anymore, your sins have tainted your ministry and silenced your voice."
A few years ago, that may have been true, but now it is just another attempt of the enemy to keep me out of God’s presence, another attempt to silence the anointing that God has placed on my life through His Holy Spirit. My pastor spoke a word over me a few years back, “God is going to restore what Satan has taken from you.”
By the grace and mercy of my Jesus I have my voice back, I have the Holy Ghost’s presence and power back in my life, and I won’t let the lies of the enemy keep me from my calling. The devil is the one who should watch out because the wind has blown into my life and the dry bones have been restored. I am a born again, baptized in Jesus’ name, Holy Ghost filled, child of the Living God and a soldier in the Army of the Lord. No weapon formed against me can prosper and I’m on a mission to kick in the gates of hell! Who’s with me?