Sunday, April 27, 2008

swimming in a septic tank

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, with Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan: "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! May the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Isn't this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?"
Now Joshua was dressed with filthy clothes as he stood before the Angel. So He spoke to those standing before Him, "Take off his filthy clothes!" Then He said to him, "See, I have removed your guilt from you, and I will clothe you with splendid robes."

Zechariah 3:1-4, CSB

Note: The Hebrew term for "filthy" means his clothes were dripping with human waste, as if he had been swimming in a septic tank. There the high priest stood before God with the sight and smell of human waste covering his entire body. That is the disgusting reality of our sin in the eyes of God.


Oh Father, Yahweh, the personal and real, omniscient and omnipotent God who created and sustains everything, how amazing it is that you tolerate the awful sinfulness of mankind! Even Joshua, the high priest of Israel who helped rebuild the nation with Ezra and Nehemiah was a disgusting mess of sin in your eyes. Even the righteous acts of man are filth to you (Is 64:6). What hope can mankind have apart from you? None, there is no hope apart from you. May your people praise your name throughout the whole earth because you are merciful and gracious, loving and patient with us.

You did not leave Joshua, or your people, covered in such filth. But, through Jesus, you cleansed us--washed away all the sin leaving not a single toxic E. coli behind, and gave us heavenly clothing. You gave us the clothing of the priesthood and use as a nation of priests to minister to each other and to the lost and dying world.

I celebrate you God and your Servant, the Branch of David who you sent to be the propitiation for the sins of your people; you turned away your wrath from your people by the stone the builders rejected. And for others, the stone has become a stumbling block. Father, I pray that through your Spirit, people stumbling over Jesus right now would have their hearts opened and would hear the calling of their Shepherd. And I pray your people, as priests, would preach your good news and take your word to their neighbors and their enemies--making brothers and sisters out of both.

Bless your people and give us wisdom, strength, courage and love to turn the world upside down in your name, for your glory. Use us to bring justice and peace to our communities. May your people stand up and loudly reject the evils of our societies.

May your church serve as a witness to the preciousness of marriage; may our marriages serve as examples of love, forgiveness, faithfulness and godliness. May we recognize that what God has joined no man can separate.

May your church fight for justice and defend those who are oppressed. Father, I pray for Mohammed Maree and the political prisoners in Egypt and other repressive nations. Bring freedom and human dignity to those nations, but most importantly, bring your Spirit and your name to those nations; may the people in Egypt, North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq, and every nation in the world hear your truth and find freedom in you. Father, I especially pray for those prisoners who are suffering specifically for your name. Bless Li M and the prisoners of China; bless your church in China as that nations increases its injustices leading up to the Olympics. I pray for your missionaries in China and throughout Asia. I pray for M and the team working among the Muslim people. Continue to bless their ministry and bring fruit to their work. And I pray for those who have come to know your through their work; give them comfort as they battle the spiritual forces that rise against them when they give themselves to you. May your word fall on good soil and yield healthy crops.

Thank you for all you do for your people. You bless us in innumerable ways and forgive incalculable sins. May we rejoice always in your greatness.

I ask all this and praise you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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