Zechariah 3:3-4 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.”
Remember when you were a kid at the department store with your mom? She found some new clothes that she wanted to try on you. You were sure you liked them but she wanted to make sure that they fit. And right there in the middle of JC Penney’s, she starts taking your clothes off. Mom!!! Can’t we find a dressing room? This is embarrassing. “Just hush. Nobody’s looking.” Yes, being stripped down in public isn’t the most dignifying of things.
So here in Zechariah 3, he sees a vision of the priest Joshua (Yeshua) being stripped down. Let me back up a bit. The scene starts with Satan standing beside Joshua accusing him before God. Josh is standing there in filthy garments, representing his sin. And even though the Lord can look right at him and see the filth, he chooses not to condemn. Rather he chooses to restore. Right there, in the presence of God, the angel of the Lord strips old Josh down. No dressing room, no modesty screen, nothing. There he is, laid bare before the Lord, awaiting the clean garments he is about to receive. It’s a beautiful picture of God’s grace and redemptive work.
As I read this today, I am struck with the process of God’s restorative work. We would like to think that God holds a wand that magically swaps our clothes out. It’s like we stand before Him and “poof” – filthy clothes gone and clean ones on. It doesn’t work that way, does it? Removing the filth in our life requires that we take it off. It’s a choice we must make. It’s a choice that leads us to standing naked before God. But if we will make that choice, we will find clean clothes waiting for us.
*Do you have some dirty clothes you need to remove? Hand them over to God and get dressed in something new.