Sunday, 24 May 2015

The Lord Cleanses - Zechariah 3

Decades earlier the Israelite people had been taken into exile, because they had been unfaithful, they had not lived as God had required. From leadership down it had been a sorry story. Now Zechariah has a vision of a court room, where high priest Joshua is on trial with the Lord as judge.

'Satan' (or more simply the accuser/prosecutor) is ready with all the evidence, a litany of failure and inadequacy with which to condemn Joshua. Yet before the accuser can even make his opening speech the Lord says something unexpected: 'Shut up!'. Not one piece of evidence is admitted as the Lord cuts off the accusations and declares His sovereign choice.

Joshua is to be rescued, literally 'from the fire' the Babylonians set light to Jerusalem when they conquered the city). And more! change his clothes, give him a makeover ... God's initiative is shown here, to save, to wipe clean, to re-clothe.

And more! In v6-7 the angel gives Joshua this charge, a commissioning, a job to do: 'walk in obedience ... go in my ways'. Previous actions and behaviour had been wrong - they must change - because God has good things for him to do, something positive to achieve amongst the people. Joshua had a God given task of governing, of senior leadership, administering justice in his position of influence. Furthermore Joshua would be granted access to God's counsel, i.e. the prophetic voice to have God's direction for his leadership.

As with last time, this is symbolic of even more. v8 talks of a new branch, coming from the stunted line of King David (son of Jesse). This new king, from the same line, will be the coming one, the messiah to bring about God's purposes. It will be extraordinary, with the ability to see into peoples' hearts (the 'seven eyes' thing), and removing the sin of the land in a single day. In other words God will say 'Shut Up' to the accuser for a whole range of people, not just one individual.

Finally v10 has invitation again, neighbours able to come under the blessing, the God given resources. For us it raises the question of who we should be inviting, especially with our future Imagine events in mind. Who is God laying on our hearts?

Key Qn: [OUT] Which neighbour is God leading you to invite?
Challenge: Pray now into inviting for September Imagine

Remember that God equips the called - so although the person God leads us to invite may be the most surprising for us, His Spirit can equip us for the task. That is what happened at Pentecost, where the believers were suddenly able to speak out and witness to the risen Lord to all kinds of peoples around them. In fact Pentecost proved to be the new beginning after a great reversal, where an accused rag tag bunch of people were clothed with an incredible boldness to go out and see the purposes of God spoken and lived out. In that one day 3000 people were added.

The bottom line is that the Lord cleanses - and with that comes commissioning for His service.

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