My first job was working as a farmhand for my grandparents, a position I held all through high school and the first year or two of college. The flexible hours made it a great gig for someone like me who always had something going on. Though I now cherish that experience, I hated it at the time. If you’ve never driven T-posts during a drought or thought you would surely die of thirst in the summer heat, count your blessings.
One day in particular stands out, however. It was a Friday morning. I know that because it was beauty shop day for Grandma, and one of my weekly tasks was to take her to her appointments. I LOVED beauty shop days because they were much easier (and cooler) than the manual labor on the farm. Depending on what else needed to be done, I would usually either wait there at the shop for her or run other errands in town until she finished. That day, however, Grandpa asked if I could come back out to the farm to help him with something.
When I got there, he had the grain drill out. In our family, fixing the equipment often takes as much time as doing whatever task you need the equipment for, and such was the case that day. We got busy working on the drill, and by the time we finished, I was covered from head to toe in dirt, grease and sweat. I looked and smelled atrocious. I had no time to clean up before I had to go get Grandma.
I’ve never turned so many heads as when I walked into the beauty shop that day. I knew I was filthy, but walking into that nice shop, a place focused on beauty, made me acutely aware of my own grotesque state. I clearly did not belong there, and there was nothing I could do to improve the situation.
I think that must be similar to how the high priest Joshua felt in Zechariah 3 as he was “standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments” (Zech. 3:3). One key difference between my condition and Joshua’s is that Joshua had an accuser at his right hand, standing ready to condemn him. I just had sideways glances and a few muttered comments from strangers.
What I love about Joshua’s story, though, is that his accuser is rebuked and silenced before he ever opens his mouth. Joshua’s condition was still the same, but the Lord soon changed that. Calling for them to remove Joshua’s filthy garments, He said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments” (Zech. 3:4).
Life is messy in a fallen world, and we all come to Christ clothed in filthy rags. The same accuser Joshua faced stands ready to condemn today. And the condemnation is deserved. But the Lord rebukes and silences him, removes our iniquity and clothes us in His righteousness. Transformed by His blood, we can approach the throne of God with confidence. I’ll take that over a beauty shop any day.