Clean Cloths for Our Filthy Rags

Zechariah 3 / Psalm 25

By Melody Keena

October 17

Zechariah takes us into the Holy courtroom of heaven, in which Joshua is the defendant, God is the Judge, Satan (adversary of God’s people) is the prosecuting attorney, and Jesus Christ is the defense attorney.  Satan points out Joshua’s dirty cloths and insists that God punish him, thinking it an air tight case.  You see Joshua is God’s priest and is standing there to represent the nation of Israel that has just come out of captivity.  To "stand before the Lord" means to be in a place of service. Joshua is probably doing his best to serve and may not even know all the laws but Satan does.  Priests were commanded to keep themselves clean at all times, on penalty of death (Ex. 28:39-43; 30:17-21), Joshua's wearing filthy cloths would be a terrible embarrassment and broke God's law.  In addition, the Hebrew word translated "filthy" literally meant to be "excrement-covered."  This is how we come to God, filthy with sin and not fit for service in His Kingdom.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (Isaiah 64:6)

Wait! Jesus the defense attorney makes His case.  First, He says to the angel take off his filthy cloths and give him fine brand new garments.  This is a picture of forgiveness, a gift from God. Then He says I have taken away your sins. Jesus is both our High Priest interceding for us and our advocate, representing us before God.  Jesus took His wounds with Him to heaven as eternal proof that He already paid the prize for our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Jesus had already chosen the people of Israel to represent Him to the world. (Rom. 8:33-34 Rom. 3:25). Second, comes the turban on his head so that he is fully rode and ready to serve.  The priest’s turban had a gold plate on it that read “HOLINESS TO THE LORD”.  We have no righteousness of our own but He makes us holy before Him so we can serve Him.

With cleansing and restoration comes responsibility to be obedient and to serve. No probation but instead to have a place of service among the angels that obey God’s every command. "God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10).  Then if that is not enough, an announcement of the coming Messiah.  Jesus is called the Branch more than once in the prophets and it mirrors His roles in the gospels.

  • Branch of righteousness for David (Jer. 23:5; 33:15) —Matthew, Gospel of the King

  • My servant the Branch (Isa. 11:1-2) —Mark, Gospel of the Servant

  • The man whose name is the Branch (Zech. 6:12-13) —Luke, Gospel of the Son of Man

  • The Branch of the Lord (Zech.4:2) —John, Gospel of the Son of God

Jesus is also the Stone. Messiah is the cornerstone (Ps. 118:22-23; Matt. 21:42; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:7; see Zech. 10:4, NIV), a stone of stumbling (Isa. 8:14; 1 Peter 2:8; Rom. 9:32-33), the rejected stone (Ps. 118:22-23; Matt. 21:42), the smitten stone (Ex. 17:6; 1 Cor. 10:4), and the smiting stone (Dan. 2:34-35). Seven eyes refers to His omniscience. The stone is also engraved with “Lord Almighty” pointing to His divinity.  All of this tells us more about who He is and what He will do both in His first and second coming.

Finally, the key message is God did it (removed our sins) in a single day.  No waiting period, no penalty, no payment – it is done.  That is because Jesus finished the work of grace once and for all.  We just have to accept it. 

Then we can sit in peace and security, as the “under your own vine and fig tree” symbolizes.

It’s hard for us to Comprehend that God, has always had a plan,

His mercy is beyond our mind as to how He took sin from man.

God said, “ In one day it would happen, something man could not do himself,”

But Israel like us chose to ignore His word just pushing it back on a shelf.

God punished Judah through a fire of great trials,

He snatched them out in time just before they became a rubbish pile.

This chapter begins with the High Priest Joshua in a vision before the Lord,

With Satan at his right accusing him, as if he were the one that holds the sword.

Joshua was dressed in filthy rags, the Angel was told to take them away,

The Lord told Joshua sin no more , I have taken it and you didn’t have to pay.

Begin to walk in my ways, govern my house, take charge of my courts, always do what I say,

My mercy reins forever and I took your sin all in one day.

There are things to come I’ll send my “Branch” to remove the sin of the land,

Again this will happen all in one day, my Son will come and He will take His stand.

We can easily see that God has always had His plan,

We miss His mercy when we say in pride don’t need it, It is I that can.

There is nothing we can do to save ourselves, it’s all the Spirits job,

Nothing in your life will be lasting your destiny will be robbed.

Are you tired of trying and failing, feeling worthless and without a cause,

Take time on your knees it’s time to confess, you really need to pause.

The enemy will always say, a host of believable lies,

But if you give your life to Jesus, your view of yourself will surely die.

Then you can grow to fulfill God’s plan for your entire life,

His freedom, peace and patience will guide you, through any type of strife.

Most important!

To know the Savior in a personal way, we realize we serve a Risen King,

Then move out to tell others, that they all can have the same thing.

The moral today, no matter what happens, we have this promised hope,

That we can live this life with promises, He will never leave us alone to cope.

Poem By Sherry Nason

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