In Zechariah 3:1-3, Satan, the accuser, is standing beside Joshua, the very human high priest who is sinful and clothed in filthy robes. He is ready to accuse Joshua for his sins, when the Lord intervenes and says,
“The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick SNATCHED from the FIRE?”
God planned to save and redeem Joshua--ultimately by sending Jesus (Jesus is the Greek version of the name Joshua) to be a perfect high priest and king. Satan was only there to hurl insults, shame, and accusations. He saw no value in Joshua. But God did. He deserved death, but God saved him by his grace, as a "burning stick snatched from the fire."
There is a great sermon illustration for this passage (or any other passage on God's grace and redemption) found in this story - JOHN WESLEY - A BRAND PLUCKED FROM THE FIRE! When he was five, John Wesley's house caught on fire. It was not until the last moment that he was saved from the fire. And John Wesley believed that, like Joshua the high priest, God had saved him for a purpose. He would go on to overcome fear and failure to preach thousands of sermons across the US, helping to usher in the First Great Awakening through his preaching, teaching, and church planting.
Who does this have application for? All who have been beaten down by Satan and the world and made to feel worthless--and all who have no hope for the future changing. It could apply to:
If God cared enough to save Joshua and John Wesley, does he not care enough to save when we need his salvation?
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Dr. James Nored (Doctor of Ministry, Fuller Theological Seminary) is a preacher, evangelist, church consultant, writer, and missional leader located in Fairfax, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C.
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