This morning I woke up at 5 AM, made myself a steaming cup of coffee, headed downstairs to let the dog out and promptly sat down to do my morning bible study. For the past couple months I’ve been doing Beth Moore’s James study. Yes, I am aware that this is only a seven week study and I am on week three after two months in, but we’re talking about an hour and a half of homework for this study each time I sit down… there just HAS to be some grace for going at my own pace!
As I got started, the passage being focused on for the day was James 1: 22-25. It says:
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
Now I wish I could say that this is what this blog post is centered on because I think this is one of the most important lessons for believers to learn today, however, I will save that blog post for another day. As I wrote this passage in my journal and turned the page, the next instruction was to read Zechariah 3:1-7. Now, although this is a Bible study on James, I was not surprised when instructed to flip to another part of the Bible. One of the things I have appreciated most about this study is the way Mrs. Moore is able to string together completely different passages of the bible to make one point, so I quickly glanced at the table of contents (yes, I admit to not being familiar with where the book Zechariah was *as all the kids who grew up doing bible drill gasp in horror*) and then flipped to Zechariah 3. As I began to read, the story was vaguely familiar and as it continued, I knew the Lord was downloading something in me like never before. This is what I read:
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.
And the angel of the Lord solemnly assured Joshua, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here.”
OKAY. You cannot tell me that this passage didn’t just rock your world, and if you can tell me that, you need to take a minute and go back and read it again. I read this and was absolutely floored. THEN, the next question I read is, “Does anything about Joshua the priest in Zechariah 3 remind you of your own experience?” Wow, what a question. I barely had words to answer at this point. So here they are, raw and straight from the pages of my journal: (There are two things to keep in mind before you read the following paragraph: 1- do not get used to me posting excerpts from my journal online, I do not intend on it being something that happens on a regular basis. 2- keep in mind that this is my journal, Jesus may say things to me differently than he says them to you. This is just a little more modern and put in terms I can identify with.)
“E V E R Y T H I N G about Joshua here reminds me of me! Joshua was the high priest, to everyone around him they must have thought he had it all together, but when he came before the Lord, not even Joshua was clean. Satan still had PLENTY to accuse him of!! And yet, the Lord stripped all of his dirt and filthiness away anyway. The Lord rebuked Satan on his behalf! The Lord gave him authority over His house and His courts! Jesus did the same for me! Jesus stripped me of my dirt and filthiness! Jesus looked at the enemy and said, “Screw you, Satan. When it comes to Elles you LOSE.” It is because of Jesus that I am an heir to God’s inheritance. It is because of Jesus that I can approach the throne boldly and with AUTHORITY.”
I was obviously worked up, hints the excessive explanation points, but this is something seriously awesome and humbling to be worked up about. Here is the thing, Satan is the accuser. He entices us to sin through our own fleshly desires and as soon as we give in, he is standing there on behalf of us just to point his finger at us. He will stand before the Lord and point out every single stain upon our clothing, as if they already didn’t stand out in contrast to God’s perfect glory. BUT JESUS steps in. He takes our stains upon himself. He gives us pure vestments. He makes us WHITE AS SNOW. He rebukes Satan on our behalf with more authority than Satan ever had to accuse us with. He gives us authority. He trusts us to bring his kingdom to earth. He gives us a right to His inheritance. THIS IS SOMETHING TO BE WORKED UP ABOUT.
This is not something I deserve. I have messed up. I have paraded around in my filthy garments. I have been a bad steward of the name of Jesus Christ. BUT JESUS has given me grace. BUT JESUS has restored me and made me clean. BUT JESUS will always stand in on my behalf. This is not because of anything I have done, but solely because this is who Jesus is. He is the one who stands in the gap in the middle of the throne room for me while Satan screams my name and my iniquities. He is the one who makes me blameless.