Zechariah 3:Then he showed me the high priest Joshua standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this man a brand plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was dressed with filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And to him he said, “See, I have taken your guilt away from you, and I will clothe you with festal apparel.” 5 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 the apparel; and the angel of the Lord was standing by.
In this passage the Lord describes a scene in which his chosen, Joshua, is standing before the judgement seat of God. Satan is standing next to Joshua “to accuse him” (v.1) Satan is really good at accusing us because he knows the places where we fall short, where we are susceptible to sin. I hear the voice of the accuser all the time in my head, pointing out my sin and brokenness. It never stops.
Some people have asked, “How do you know when the voice in your head is the enemy and when it’s the Lord?” Great question. I can’t say what I’m about to share with you is true for everyone, but it’s certainly true for me and for many people I’ve known through the years. See if this makes sense to you or if it strikes you as true, then receive it or not – up to you.
It’s true that the Lord will point out our sin, but the WAY in which he goes about it is very different than the enemy. When the enemy accuses us we will often experience this as life-taking and belittling. We are made to feel small, like we matter very little. It’s a language that does violence on the inside, destructive. The voice will tell us there is no hope for us, or that we are a failure, a mistake, a pretender, not a real Christian at all. If we genuinely loved the Lord why would we do the things we do? Answer: because we don’t really love the Lord. And besides, we have sinned so much and so often there’s no way a holy God would call us his own. Who we kidding? Child of God? Don’t make me laugh. Our sin and brokenness have taken us so far from the Lord, we might as well quit pretending and give up.
God’s voice will be very different. Instead of accusing and belittling, it will sound more like an invitation to something better. Rather than simply pointing out our deficiencies, the Lord will reveal how we can be freed from the power of sin and death. The Lord may even show us a scripture to prove by his Word that, while he is indeed holy and just, he is also merciful and abounding in steadfast love for us. To the point of sending his own Son Jesus to live, die, and rise again that we might be freed from sin and death forever. There is hope in the voice of the Lord, encouragement. Let’s pray together.
Lord God, we know that you are continually speaking to your children – but so is the enemy. And if we’re honest we can sometimes find it easier to believe the word of the accuser than the word of hope from You. Give us grace to tune out the enemy and turn our hearts toward you. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.