Here stands this powerful man of God before the Angel of the Lord, perhaps not even fully aware of what he was fighting within. There were so many troubling things that could not be understood. Why do I struggle with feeling guilty, or even filthy, yet I know I am not? I am a servant of the Most High God. I feel this sense of shame, and yet I know I am doing well. I am not aware of any sin in my life, yet I feel as though I am a sinner. Could it be that my ideas and expectations of a spiritual life exceed what true spirituality really is? Is there anything good within me? Can I even expect God to understand and help me when I am so needy? We can only imagine the thoughts this prophet of God may have contended with. Paul expressed similar experiences to us in his writings. 1 Corinthians 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 2 Corinthians 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair. V. 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. Many questions seemed to pervade these men, an apostle, and a prophet of God, as they continued in their faithfulness to the burden and calling upon their life.
Zechariah 3:3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and stood before the angel. V. 4 And he answered and spoke unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with rich apparel. The unseen truth that stands as absolute reality is unveiled here, and we see how God addressed this issue with His servant. Joshua was about to discover a startling reality. There was an enemy that had soiled his garments. Zechariah 3:1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. Satan stood on his right hand as an accuser, resisting him in all that he did for Almighty God and His people. This evil presence had positioned itself as an influence within the mantle that he carried. It made him appear as a guilty, filthy man. This influence was present while Joshua was in the very presence of God and in the midst of his calling as he prevailed in faithfulness. Joshua was called by God for service and ministry as a high priest in the ancient days. It was the highest of callings on this man—a spiritual battle warrior, minister, and priest to the King of heaven and earth. Now this man of God finds himself clothed with filthy garments as he stands before the Holy Angel from Heaven. Was he filthy with sin issues? No, he was one of God’s saints and chiefly laden with purpose and responsibility. Joshua was called to higher purposes and heavenly duties. But as the task lay before him, there was a resister that stood on his right hand and the effects of a filthy, enemy-tainted influence upon him that felt completely ungodly.
There are many genuinely blood-washed saints today walking in the power of the full provision of Christ who yet wrestle with this mind-set. But they wrestle not against flesh and blood. The attacks of Satan can make the saint look as un-saintly as the filth of the enemy himself. This is the story of so many true children of God. When the enemy pursues the demise of these children he tries to taint them with filthy influences and dominate them through feelings of defeat and corruption. He does this because he knows they are the saints of God. When these true children of God see themselves as filthy, they become almost frozen in their duties. It causes great defeat in their walk with God. They fight discouragement and live in a state of crisis, feeling their relationship with Christ to be disjointed. They are tempted to think that perhaps God is their enemy.
In my 33 years of ministry I have never witnessed an outpouring of this unholy mess of dismay upon God’s people as I have in these last years. It seems to be the tool of the hour for discouraging the true children of God. These people are not wicked, but that is exactly how they feel about themselves. They are not hiding sin or justifying sin but living a life of purity and holiness before God. However, they become dismayed by a filth that has been cast upon them by the enemy. They are not sinners, yet they feel as though they are. They are not adulterers, yet they feel like they are. They are not liars, yet they feel like they are. They are told lies by an evil influence, and they carry around this complex, diminishing all hope and joy that they could rightly have.
The Lord said to the angel that stood before Joshua, ‘take the garments from him, and give him a change of raiment’. May God allow you dear people to see the spotless garments He has provided for you. In Heaven they will be clearly seen as the holy garments they are—clean, pure, and white!
Revelation 7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? They came from earth and out of great tribulation, having blood-washed robes. And that is us, my dear friends.