Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mercy Speaks: That List of Accusations With Your Name On It

The book of Zechariah in the Bible is a very interesting one. The lessons from that story can almost be interpreted in so many ways but without loosing the core message. Not that it should be read in isolation to the other chapters but it captures so well God’s promise and restoration for Jerusalem. A promise, each and everyone of us can tap into for our present time.

Our focus today is on Zechariah Chapter 3 and how it expressly shows us grace and mercy in action.

Now, the chapter begins with prophet Zechariah explaining to us what he saw during the cleansing of the High Priest:
3: Then the angel showed me Jeshua[a] the high priest standing before the angel of theLord. The Accuser, Satan,[b] was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. 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.”
During the cleansing of the Priest Jeshua, the devil also came with his list of accusations. By all means he wanted to disqualify Jeshua from getting a fresh start with God. By all means, those accusations might have been right. As we see in verse 3:
3 Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel.
A High Priest with a filthy robe. Nothing is hidden from God. He sees all our imperfections and our struggles. The devil is always quick to pick out our filthiness. We don't have the full details of why the clothing of the priest was filthy but keep in mind that all have sinned and come short of God's glory. Even when we think we stand, we all have to be careful or else we fall. Our righteousness before God is like a filthy rag, the Bible says. It is never by our works of righteousness. Okay- enough of my babbling.

“Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel.” By normal standard, he did not deserve to even be standing there. The devil did not miss his chance to point that out. But mercy said no! The Lord rebuked the devil and granted Jeshua mercy.
4 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.”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.
Jeshua got a fresh start. He was cleansed. Renewed. But it did not end there. Jeshua must also commit and not return to the old ways. We are not to abuse God's mercy and grace. We must agree to walk carefully and follow God's ways. Here is how the Angel puts it to Jeshua the Priest:
6 Then the angel of the Lord spoke very solemnly to Jeshua and said, 7 “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.
8 “Listen to me, O Jeshua the high priest, and all you other priests. You are symbols of things to come. Soon I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 Now look at the jewel I have set before Jeshua, a single stone with seven facets.[c] I will engrave an inscription on it, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and I will remove the sins of this land in a single day.
10 “And on that day, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, each of you will invite your neighbor to sit with you peacefully under your own grapevine and fig tree.”

Like Jeshua, God is extending His mercy to us everyday. Do not let the list of accusations the devil is holding against you hold you down. We have all sinned. We are too much of a sinner to even knock on Heaven’s gate. Fear, pain, shame, greed, death, barrenness, failure and other baggage from the devil are hovering, waiting for permission to knock us out.

But mercy is saying no. 

Get up and embrace mercy! God is a God of a second, third chance and ever new chance! God's thoughts towards us are thoughts of good and not of evil. God wants to give us hope and a future. But we cannot enjoy these promises in its fulness if we continue to walk in the flesh and gravitate towards the pleasure of sin. We must take that bold step, fall before God's altar and surrender it all to Him and let His precious blood wash us and set of free from the grip of sin and death.

It does not matter how low we have fallen, what we have done with our past. Mercy still speaks. Yesterday ended last night. Today, lets choose to embrace mercy and choose to follow God. It is not by force or by strength, but God’s grace is ever sufficient for us!

We might stumble tomorrow but may God's mercy and grace never let us fail to return home. 

We are a symbol of things to come (Zech 3:8).

God's mercy still speaks. Listen up, embrace it and spread the word! 

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