The first time I had applied to enter into the Pastor training program, I was flat out rejected. This was odd because, for me, I had believed I heard the call of God. Others had affirmed it in me. I was encouraged that I would get in no problem. So, confidently walking in, I was sure that this would be the first step towards my call to the pastorate. Instead, my Bishop looked at me and told me the time wasn’t right and that I had to wrestle with my calling and truly consider whether I was called.
That night, I went on a prayer walk asking that question; “Can I do this?” As I walked around the neighborhood, the answer came to me in a still quiet voice. “No…” There I stopped. Confused. This was supposed to be my calling. I was sure of this? Wasn’t I good enough? And God continued “No. You can’t… but I can.”
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire? Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”
Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”
Not Good Enough
As a High Priest, Joshua would have known how he was required to stand before the Lord. The requirements of High Priests to approaching the Holy of Holies in Leviticus were nothing short of perfection. In the Hebrew of this particular verse, Joshua isn’t filthy but rather covered in excrement. Joshua, The High Priest, knowing the standards, was only able to approach God covered in this filth. His best was not good enough for the standards of Holy to approach God.
In the same way, we can only approach God in our filth. If we try and clean ourselves up to stand before God, we will find ourselves coming up shy of the standards of Holy. Even if I do good things, I cannot say that I have done enough to
merit eternity or holiness and frankly, my heart more than likely was in an unholy place doing it. Our actions speak to our great need for a Savior and our inability to save ourselves. We will never be able to do enough to earn our place before God, but that isn’t the point. God offers us a place regardless of our actions.
Approach God Anyway
As Joshua approached God in the best he knew how. Frankly speaking, God would have been justified in removing Joshua from His presence as Satan stood there spewing the accusations against Joshua. Yet God had other plans. God, seeing the state of Joshua, chose instead to remove the filth off of Joshua and dress him in righteousness. While Joshua may have not been good enough, and although Satan stood there accusing him, the love of God reigned supreme and Joshua was clothed in righteousness and perfection.
Satan may accuse us, and even may be right in the accusation, but that is never the point. God’s desire is not for our destruction. God’s desires that we should approach Him in our mess and filth and allow Him to clothe us in righteousness. Our lack of perfection has never been a hinderance to the love that God has for His beloved creation. We do not have to fear about not being good enough for God. Frankly put, we aren’t. But God’s clarion call commands us to run to Him in our imperfection to receive our salvation and righteousness. We are bid to come and receive the love of God, even if we are not holy. God will make us holy. The grace of God is that we are loved beyond our ability to earn it.