“Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. And the Lord said to Satan, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.” Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.l” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.”
Jeshua was a priest who had returned from Captivity. He was unclean and unfit to help build the Lord’s temple. He was covered with sin and filth of the world and no one wanted to be around him, or so Satan wanted him to feel. But God stepped forward and rebuked Satan. God knew Satan’s ploy was to try to discourage Jeshua and thereby delaying the building of the temple.
God described Jeshua as “a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.” My husband loves to build fires in the fire-pit on our deck, and we love to hold sticks crammed full of marshmallows over the hot coals. As you turn the coals the outside gets all brown and crusty while the inside gets warm and gooey. Sometimes, if you don’t have the marshmallow all the way to the end of the stick, the end will get charred and a cinder will build up making it hard to get the marshmallow off without including some of the nasty tasting, burned stick along with the gooey goodness of the marshmallow. But if you take a minute and scrape that char away, you will find that there is a clean part of the stick that is not burned and the tasty morsel will just slide off into your mouth. Just like that burned stick, God knew there was good underneath the dirty, nasty filth on the outside and the angel started peeling away the layers to make Jeshua ready to serve God.
Our prodigals are also like that burned stick. Even after they become clean, they still look dirty to the world and Satan is ready and waiting to point this out to them. The devil will do anything to keep our loved ones from serving God, and a recovering addict is an easy target for his accusations. Our loved ones have literally been to Hell and back by the time they are through detox. Through rehab they have suffered, fallen back, been covered with hatred for themselves and vomited until there was nothing left inside. If our loved ones can go through this and make a commitment to stay sober, then we need to take the role of the angel and help them to start removing the dirt of the world. Speak the Word of God to them so that they don’t start believing the lies of Satan. It will be a slow process until our prodigal child will see that God loves them and is preparing them to serve Him. But with the help of those who have been there, and the support of us, the families, those layers of dirt will fall to the ground. Do you know that one testimony of a recovering addict to someone who has only just started can be just the encouragement that is needed for that day’s struggle?
It is hard for families to trust once trust is broken, but with God all things that make us stronger are possible. Every Prayers for Prodigals meeting that I attend has at least one family member asking how they can start to trust again. All I can say is that as long as our prodigal is living, there is hope. Along with that hope must come our strong faith in the God who sees beyond the dirt. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us in helping our loved ones to stay clean. For God’s sake and theirs.