I’m just going to welcome everybody. Thanks for hanging out for a few minutes while we get all the the technical things sorted out. We’re going to begin with a song to kind of direct our hearts towards worship. And then Don will read some scripture and I’ll introduce our speaker for today, and we will get going.
If our words go out to the Lord in our song God’s Word in Scripture comes back to us. And I’m reading here from first Peter, Chapter two, picking up verse nine
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Thank you, Don. Really, Dr. Wolf needs no introduction. She is one of our beloved professors here at Carroll, the associate director for the counseling program. We have all benefited from her wisdom and her teaching. She has served as the director, I think continues to serve as a director for the South South Cliff Christian Counseling Center. She is trained and skilled and wise in counseling in areas such as trauma, depression, anxiety.
And also she has given talks and lessons and different kind of educational kind of services to two different counseling students and counselors on the subject of sex trafficking. And so her wisdom is something that we just honor, that we respect, and that we always want to be part of gleaning from her. So we’re really excited today to have Dr. Shannon Wolf with us to give a devotional.
And so welcome, Dr. Wolfe. And we are excited to hear from you this morning.
Thank you. Thank you so much. Goodness. Several years ago, I was reading through Zachariah and there was a passage that really caught my attention. It was it’s in the third chapter of Zachariah. And for those of you who aren’t really great with minor prophets, which would be nobody here, I’m sure all of you are very well versed with the minor prophets.
It’s the second to last book in the Old Testament. So Zachariah and I wanted to share with you something that I have been reminded of repeatedly throughout the years, and I want to give a little background to this story. We all remember that Israel went into exile, the Babylonian captivity and they had moved away from the Lord and God put them there for a season.
And Darius was the ruler during this time, and he allowed them to go back to Jerusalem and go back to Israel. And Zachariah actually was born in captivity. I thought that was really interesting. And he got to make that journey back to Israel. And I cannot even imagine what that must have been like and the joy that they must have felt during that.
Some of the other writers during that time were Ezra Hagai. So if you if you remember some of their writings, they were contemporaries, kind of seem very similar kind of things. Maybe their focus was a little bit different that, but same very similar kinds of things. One of the things that Zacharias focuses on is rebuilding the temple. Remember, Solomon had this amazing temple that he built for the Lord and and it was destroyed.
It was completely destroyed. And the people of Israel needed a place where they could gather more of reward. And the Lord said, okay, it’s time to rebuild the temple. This was going to be the same temple that Jesus would teach in, and he would observe some of the festivals in this temple. And so we needed it built. And it was only 500 years, about about 500 years before Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.
So this was this this was the setting. Joshua was the high priest. He was a leader not only of spiritual matters, but you’ll remember. And this in this culture, he would have had respond to abilities and authorities that that went beyond just spiritual leadership. So Joshua is one of the people that plays an important role in the story.
So I’m just going to read the first six verses of Chapter three and Zachariah. If you want to want to grab your Bible and follow along, then he showed me Joshua, the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord and Satan standing at his right hand accusing him. And the Lord said to Satan, The Lord rebuke you, Satan, Indeed the Lord who has chosen Israel, rebuke you?
Is this not a branch plucked from the fire? Now, Joshua was cloaked in filthy garments and standing before the angel, he spoke and said to those who were standing before him saying, Remove the filthy garments for me. Again, he said to him, See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and we’ll clothe you with festival robes. Then I said, Let them put a clean turban on his head.
So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments while the angel of the Lord was standing by. And the angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, Thus, says the Lord of hosts, If you will walk in my ways, and if you will perform my service, then you will also govern my house and also have charge of my courts.
And I will grant you free access among those who are standing here. Now, I found that to be encouraging. I don’t know how many times I had read this before, but this one particular time it really caught my attention. So let’s talk about who was there. I want you to imagine the council in heaven, and I usually don’t think about a council being in heaven.
I think about the Lord being on his throne. I think about angels surrounding the throne. But this is reminiscent of the first few chapters in Joe. And you’ll remember, Satan comes before the Lord and it talks about there being this Heavenly Council. And here we are again this the accuser is bringing Joshua in front of the Angel of the Lord in front of this council.
So Satan is there. The accuser, Joshua is there. The high priest Zachariah is there as a witness, and then the angels are there. So those are the players in this this scene that God has has allowed us to to have knowledge of. So let’s talk about what happens here then, because in my I call it my sanctified imagination, because I’m filling in the blanks, kind of imagining what this could look like.
And I think it looks like a courtroom. And I see God sitting on his throne and I see the accused are like the prosecutor. Joshua is the defendant. I see Zachariah and the Angels as being witnesses to what’s happening. And I see the Angel of the Lord being a defender. So in my mind, this is kind of the setup.
So what happens here is the accuser brings Joshua before the court, and the Bible says that Joshua is clothed in filth. And I looked up the works for filth, and that is excrement. One commentator even said it. It could have been human waste. So he was not just rolling around in a muddy field someplace. He was nasty, he was filthy.
He was contaminate any probably smelled horrible. And here he is standing before the Lord. And there’s nothing to indicate that Satan was lying about all the things that he was accusing. Joshua, I would even say was probably right. But we know the accuser and he’s not seeking justice, although I bet that’s probably what he was trying to appear to be wanting.
Just as Lord, you said this and they don’t do this and this is going to happen. And you should send Joshua way. You should condemn him. I can just imagine what that must have been like. And I wonder if Joshua even thought that he could even open his mouth before the Lord. He had no defense. No defense. So we see Jesus then the Angel of the Lord, which I believe is is Christ and reincarnate and he tells Satan, I rebuke you.
And just right after that I rebuke you. And my Bible actually has an exclamation point, which meant he was passionate about this. And we know in Scripture when the Lord says something twice, it’s pay attention. And what he’s telling Satan is, I see your intent here. Your intent is not for justice. Your intent is to destroy Joshua. Your intent is to destroy is real.
I see what you’re trying to do. And by the way, get out. Now, that again is my imagination. I think Jesus was incredibly firm in his defense of Joshua, who had no defense. He had no defense except the Angel of the Lord was there and he was protected. I even wonder again in my imagination, did he step in between the accuser and Joshua?
I like to think he did. It’s not in scripture, so I’m not going to say that that happened. But again, my imagination is it’s quite vivid at times. So in my imagination, that actually could have happened. But I think what Satan was trying to say is he is a lost cause. You should give up on him. I demand justice.
You said, God, that these were the rules. He broke the rules. Now we don’t know what Joshua did. I don’t know that we need to know what Joshua did. But I have to wonder, was Joshua tired? Was he overwhelmed? Did he have a little bit too much of that Babylonian culture in his worldview? I don’t know. Was he prideful?
Was he arrogant? Was he be an immoral? I don’t know. Again, we don’t need to know. I don’t think that’s the point here. The point is that the accuser was trying to tell Joshua he lost his calling. He was trying to argue before the Lord, you can’t use him anymore. And I think that resonates with a lot of people who were called by God.
When we feel maybe we we really messed up. I don’t know. I think it happens. And the question is, can God still use us? I don’t know what happened here, but the accusations are probably all true. I don’t doubt them. Just like when Satan accuses us. I don’t know that the accusations are necessarily false, but his intention is to destroy us, right?
It’s to remove us from our calling. It’s to make us believe that God can’t possibly use us anymore. And I just don’t think that’s true. Now, as a counselor, what I know is that we tend to function out of our sense of purpose, out of our sense of identity. And if we if we take a major blow to who we are in Christ, then that is going to directly impact how we function as a believer.
If we believe that somehow we have messed up so badly that God cannot uses anymore or He has removed our calling from us, then we are going to act out of that. If we believe we don’t have the right to to function. And that calling and that puts us in a place where we are ineffective. And I do believe that if you’ve been in ministry for any length of time, in whatever capacity your calling is in, I think we’ve all struggled or many of us have, maybe not all, but many of us have struggled with that sense of purpose, that sense of identity.
Who are we? That sense of calling? Lord, am I so called even when I mess up? And I think this passage, while written to a specific people at a specific time for a specific purpose, I think this passage shows us God’s character. I think it reminds us of God’s steadfastness to us, His faithfulness to us. And I think it is a reminder that he is quick to forgive, quick to cleanse, that he is quick to reinstate.
So I think about Peter on the beach. I think about Jesus in that conversation with him. Post Resurrection member Peter thought he had messed up so badly and quite frankly, he did. He messed up pretty bad. But it’s no different than any of us. We have our own ways of messing up and Jesus reinstates him. But I also want us to recognize that when when Peter thought he messed up, when he recognized that he really blew it, he went back to what he used to do.
He went fishing. He was going to fish again. That’s what he was going to do. But his heart was broken. His heart was repentant, but he didn’t know if Jesus could forgive that and if he was still can’t. But Jesus reinstated him as only Jesus can. And it’s a beautiful story. I love that story, but I think 500 years before that story, we have another one where we see Christ doing the very same thing to Joshua, the high priest.
He gave a recommissioning. He reminded Joshua of his calling. He put clean robes on him. He cleaned up. He put a turban, which was a symbol of dignity on his head. He restored him with degree. Eddie He didn’t say, Yeah. Joshua I’m just going to, like, not pay attention to what you did. I’m going to ignore what you did.
He addressed what Joshua was doing, and we know that it wasn’t just about Joshua. It was about Israel. Israel messing up. I know that. But I also think that there was a personal element in this about Joshua. So what I want is, if you would, maybe it’s not you, maybe it’s other people that you know that you have an opportunity to encourage it.
But I just want us to be aware that we all have seasons in our world, in our lives, where we fall short and we continue to fall short and sometimes in major ways. But when we fall short, when we are messing up, when we lose sight of our calling, God is there to remind us that He chose us to remind us what that calling was and to get us busy again.
Thank you so much for listening to my thoughts. I appreciate that. I know that that didn’t make you 15 minutes, Erin.
Thank you so much. What an encouragement that really is. And I think it’s something that it’s going to require us to kind of meditate and think on that as as we go out, you know, just today and the rest of this week, we got started a little bit later.
So I’m just going to pray and close this out so that you all will go to your staff meeting. And I hear there’s a really lovely lunch after that. So let me praying closes out this morning. Lord, I thank you for gathering us together, Lord, for letting us hear the words from Dr. Browning to hear how you are working in the calling of these chapels.
Chaplains lives. What an honor it was to take time. That was really a technical difficulty and to be encouraged to hear how your kingdom is is just growing and how you are using different people. Do it. As Dr. Wolfe encouraged us this morning to remember our calling, to not let the enemy discourage us and to try to put us off our path, but to know that you chose us for this purpose and that it’s for your kingdom, that we do these things.
So help us to be encouraged today to think about what it is you’ve asked us to do to in the hours with strength and perseverance to accomplish that calling. And we just ask you to to also let us think as a whole, as a seminary, what you’ve called B.H. Carroll to do, how that calling will align with you as we look at this merger.
But, Lord, we ask that you will give us wisdom most of all as we continue these days and we continue the tasks that are set before us and be with us today and keep us safe until we meet again. And it’s in your name that we pray. Amen.