12/13/M – Our Refuge

Zechariah 3:1-10; Revelation 13:11-18; Psalms 141:3-10; Proverbs 29:24-25

OT: “Then he showed me the high priest Joshua 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 the angel of the Lord spoke to those standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes!” Then he said to him, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with festive robes.” Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So a clean turban was placed on his head, and they clothed him in garments while the angel of the Lord was standing nearby.” (‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭3:1-5‬ ‭CSB‬)

Satan is known as the accuser, and that is what he does. He accuses God to us. He accuses us to God. He accuses us to one another. He does that to break down trust, sow doubt and destroy unity. In the prophetic vision that Zechariah had, he saw Joshua the high priest – the representative of the people of God – being accused by Satan before God. Judah was guilty of the most heinous of sins and Joshua stood there before the Lord clothed in filthy clothes… and Satan was accusing Joshua and the Jewish people of their obvious guilt. However, the Lord’s response to Satan’s accusations was quite amazing.

The Lord rebuked Satan, and then reiterated the fact that He had chosen Jerusalem and had rescued His people from the fire of exile. The Lord took off Joshua’s filthy clothes… and by taking off his filthy clothes, He was removing the people’s iniquity. Then Joshua was clothed with new clothes and a clean turban was placed on his head. That is what the Lord does for us when we repent from our sin and iniquity and place our faith and trust in Him. Though Satan accuses us of our guilt, The Lord removes the stain of sin, clothes us in white robes and gives us a new life in Him.

NT: “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf and compels the earth and those who live on it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. It also performs great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in front of people. It deceives those who live on the earth because of the signs that it is permitted to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who live on the earth to make an image of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. It was permitted to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could both speak and cause whoever would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And it makes everyone — small and great, rich and poor, free and slave — to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: the beast’s name or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: Let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, because it is the number of a person. Its number is 666.” (‭‭Revelation‬ ‭13:11-18‬ ‭CSB)

Not only is Satan the accuser, he is also a master counterfeiter and deceiver. He takes the good things of God, counterfeits them, and passes them off as the real thing. I often hear people talk about how the religions of the world are so similar… and that is by design. Satan takes bits and pieces of God’s truth and mixes it with lies of his own making to deceive people into thinking that there are many ways to God… many ways to find wholeness… many ways to find everlasting life and satisfaction.

Satan did the same thing with his beast from the sea and beast from the earth. With those two beasts, he created his own counterfeit trinity: Satan the father of lies, the Antichrist, and the counterfeit Holy Spirit known as the False Prophet. Just as the Holy Spirit glorifies Christ, leads us into all truth, and reminds us of the things Christ said, the beast from the sea – the False Prophet – glorifies the Antichrist, leads people into all deception, and convinces people to give their lives to the beast in worship. Just as the Holy Spirit empowers signs and wonders that testify to Christ, the False Prophet works with Satanic power to deceive people away from Christ and toward the Antichrist. Many will fall into the deception of the beast from the sea… and many of those who don’t will be killed for their faithfulness to the Lord. What do we do to remain faithful to the Lord and not receive the mark of the beast? Take refuge in the Lord, live by the blood of the Lamb, hold fast to our testimony, and not love our lives more than we love the Lord… even unto death. If we remain faithful to the Lord, even in death He will preserve us and make us white as snow.

Psalms: “Lord, set up a guard for my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips. Do not let my heart turn to any evil thing or perform wicked acts with evildoers. Do not let me feast on their delicacies… But my eyes look to you, Lord, my Lord. I seek refuge in you; do not let me die. Protect me from the trap they have set for me, and from the snares of evildoers. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by safely.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭141:3-4, 8-10‬ ‭CSB)

This prayer of David is a good prayer for us – especially as the days grow darker and more and more people give into the deception of the antichrist spirit. Instead of looking to the world for satisfaction, if we keep our eyes on the Lord – the author and finisher of our faith – He will be a refuge for us and will not let us die. For though we may die in the flesh, in Him we will live in the abundance of life for eternity.

Proverbs: “The fear of mankind is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭29:25‬ ‭CSB)

If we fear mankind more than we honor and respect the Lord, we will end up falling in a snare – a snare set by Satan himself. However, if we trust the Lord completely and place our faith fully on Him, we are ultimately protected.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You that in You, I am safe. As I remain in You through faith, I am safe from Satan’s accusations, safe from Satan’s deceptions, and safe from all the things he can threaten me with. For though he may be able to take my physical life, as I remain in You, he can never take my everlasting spiritual life. Help me to keep my eyes on You and to seek refuge in Your word, will and ways. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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