“And the Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?’” (Zech. 3:2).- Zechariah 3:1–5
The struggle to overcome sin and grow to spiritual maturity is not an easy one. Several obstacles stand in our way. In order for us to grow spiritually we must overcome both the world and the flesh. Today, we will look at the last general obstacle to be overcome: the Devil.
Regrettably, popular culture tends to trivialize this adversary. Often, he is depicted as a character with horns and a tail. Sometimes the media portrays him as one who is easily overcome by men. However, this is not how we find Satan depicted in the Bible. He is a lion who goes about seeking those whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). This fearful image depicts the strength of the Devil. The fact that he commands an army of demons (Eph. 6:11–12) and appears as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14) makes him even more intimidating.
Left to ourselves we are no match for the Devil. However, this is not true of God Almighty. No matter how strong the Devil may be, he is still only a creature. The Christian faith does not teach a dualism where God and the Devil are equal in power and strength. Instead, the Devil is subservient to the will of our Father in Heaven (Job 1-2).
The Bible tells us that one of Satan’s chief works is to tempt us to sin (Gen. 3:1–7). However, this is not his only work. He is also called the “accuser of the brethren” in Revelation 12:10.
Today’s passage illustrates Satan’s role as the accuser. In Zechariah 3:1–5, the Lord gives the prophet Zechariah a vision of Joshua the high priest. In verse one, Satan comes to accuse Joshua of his sin.
When we sin, Satan comes to accuse us. He tells us that we can in no way be forgiven by God. He tries to make us think that our dirtiness makes us of no use to the kingdom of God.
Verse two tells us what the Lord’s response is to such accusations. The Lord rebukes Satan in this verse, reminding the Devil that He has snatched Joshua from the fires of judgment.
The Lord then clothes Joshua with a clean robe (vv. 3–5), which points forward to God’s clothing of His people with the righteousness of Christ. As we live a life of repentance, we must not allow Satan’s accusations to keep us from fulfilling God’s purposes for us. Rather, we must be reminded that while we sin, we are in Christ and, so long as we confess our sin, no accusation can be leveled against us.
When we sin, both the Devil and the Holy Spirit come to us. The Devil accuses us in order to paralyze our growth. However, when the Spirit convicts us, He brings grace to restore us and to renew our fellowship with God. Go to the Lord in prayer, and ask Him to help you resist the paralysis that the accuser wants to create in you.
Passages for Further Study
1 Peter 5:8–9