ODJ: filthy garments

November 29, 2013 

READ: Zechariah 3:1-10 

He said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes” (v.4).

Can God use someone like me—a person with a bad past? This question was burning in the hearts of the returnees. The Israelites had come back from captivity—a result of their gross, persistent and unrepentant sins. The Promised Land laid in ruin, the temple destroyed. They realised that they had messed up big time. Can the holy God use us to reestablish the proper way to worship Him?

It’s not too difficult to identify with the Israelites. We too may be plagued by questions like, “Who am I to teach the Word of God?” “I’ve got to get my life together and start serving God!”

Not only does our conscience get pricked as the Holy Spirit convicts, but the tempter Satan heaps his accusations against us. And Satan has a good case. Like Jeshua the high priest whom Zechariah saw in his vision, we’re guilty as charged (Zechariah 3:1).

Jeshua was attempting to minister before the Lord in his priestly capacity, but he was clothed in “filthy clothes” (vv.1-4). The Hebrew word for “filthy” literally means “excrement covered”!

But thankfully the vision doesn’t stop there. For it’s revealed that God cleanses sinners on the basis of His grace, and makes them worthy to serve Him (vv.4-5).

Then, through the angel of the Lord, God gave Jeshua a charge and a promise. The charge: “Follow My ways and carefully serve Me” (v.7). The promise: “You will be given authority over My temple” (v.7).

It’s amazing grace that compels us to say along with the apostle Paul, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV). —Poh Fang Chia

Read Isaiah 6:1-8 for another example of the holy God cleansing and enabling a filthy sinner to serve Him. 
What actions or attitudes might disqualify a person from Christian service? How does God’s grace enable us to walk in purity and holiness with Him? 
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