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Thursday, November 1, 2012

An Unusual Kind of "Brand"

I've been slowly studying my way through Zechariah and it's amazing (as the Word of God always is) how much "meat" is in this "minor" prophet's book. Zechariah 3:2 is one of those meaty verses in a small dish. It reads, "Is this not a brand plucked from the burning?"

You've seen a "brand" at a campfire or in a wood-burning fireplace. It's the piece of wood that is charred and almost completely burned to a crisp. But there's something left that if you wanted, you could pull out of the fire--but hope it doesn't just crumble into ashes.

In this verse, God--through Zechariah--is saying that the "brand" of Joshua (who represents Jerusalem), has been saved--and yet right before it crumbles into nothingness. 

That also refers to you and me because before sin completely disintegrated us into ashes, like a smoldering brand, God lifted us out of our fire pit and saved us. Regardless of how much or how little it seemed sin was "burning" us, we all are at the point of falling into eternal burning. And only salvation saves us.

David Guzik, a commentator whose writings are included at www.blueletterbible.org, gives this "brand" story:

"When John Wesley was only six years old, he was trapped in a burning house and was only rescued when one neighbor climbed on another’s shoulders and pulled him out of the window. A picture of the scene was drawn for Wesley and he kept the drawing until he died, and wrote under it Zechariah 3:2Is this not a brand plucked from the burning?"

John Wesley remembers a literal almost-burning and I'm sure he would also want us to think of the spiritual rescue from sin. And he used that picture to help him remember his salvation.

You and I need to remember what destruction we have been saved from, like a smoldering brand. What would your life be like without God's salvation? And if you haven't been "saved" out of the fire of your sin, how's sin working for you? No, Christians aren't perfect and never will be, but we have gained so much and we are saved from so much.

I love to read the posts at Tiffany's website, and was again blessed as she tells the story of their "new" Ethiopian son (who is a mid-teenager) who through a miracle is now safely in their home. One evening as they all cuddled on the couch, Habi spoke up and said, "I don't want to forget. Please, help me not to forget." (Read it here).

Tiffany explains that Habi was expressing: "he did not want to forget where he came from and what God had done for him in bringing him out of street life after so many years and into a family."

But he also didn't want to forget where he came from so that he could go back and help others.

That is our same challenge. To not forget the blessings of being delivered from our sin and not forgetting that there are others who need to be delivered also.

Won't you join me in thanking God right now for your undeserved blessings of no longer being consumed as a "brand" and also ask how the Lord can use you to share the good news of safety from destruction?

Maybe you'd like to make a comment of what you appreciate most about your salvation.

(Photo from plumbtite.com)

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