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Bible Commentaries

Philpot's Commentary on select texts of the Bible

Zechariah 3

Verse 1

Zec 3:1

"And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him." Zec 3:1

It is the object of Satan to keep those secure who are safe in his hands; nor does God see fit to disturb their quiet. But on the other hand, where Satan perceives a work of grace going on, where he sees the eyes sometimes filled with tears, where he hears the sobs heaving from the contrite heart, where he observes the knees often bent in secret prayer, where his listening ear often hears the poor penitent confess his sins, weaknesses, and backslidings before God, (for by these observations we have reason to believe Satan gains his intelligence,) wherever he sees this secret work going on in the soul, mad with wrath and filled with malice, he vents his hellish spleen against the objects of God’s love. Sometimes he tries to ensnare them into sin, sometimes to harass them with temptation, sometimes to stir up their wicked heart into desperate rebellion, sometimes to work upon their natural infidelity, and sometimes to plague them with many groundless doubts and fears as to their reality and sincerity before a heart-searching God.

So that while those who have no work of grace upon their hearts at all, are left secure, and free from doubt and fear, those in whom God is at work are exercised and troubled in their minds, and often cannot really believe that they are the people in whom God takes delight. The depths of human hypocrisy, the dreadful lengths to which profession may go, the deceit of the carnal heart, the snares spread for the unwary feet, the fearful danger of being deceived at the last—these traps and pitfalls are not objects of anxiety to those dead in sin. As long as they can pacify natural conscience, and do something to soothe any transient conviction, they are glad to be deceived.

But, on the other hand, he that has a conscience tender in God’s fear knows what a dreadful thing it is to be a hypocrite before God, to have "a lie in his right hand," and be deluded by the prince of darkness; and therefore, until God himself with his own blessed lips speaks with power to his conscience, and establishes him in a blessed assurance of his saving interest in Christ by "shedding abroad his love in his heart," he must be tried and exercised in his mind, he must have these various tossings to and fro, for this simple reason—because he cannot rest satisfied except in the personal manifestations of the mercy of God.

Verse 8

Zec 3:8

"Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you, and your fellows that sit before you—for they are men wondered at." Zec 3:8

A saved sinner is a spectacle for angels to contemplate. As the Apostle says, "We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels and to men." The ancients used to say that "a good man struggling with difficulties was a sight for the gods to look at." We may say, with all Christian truth, that the mysteries of redemption are "things the angels desire to look into;" and among the mysteries of redemption, what greater than a redeemed sinner? That a man who deserves, by sin original and sin actual, nothing but the eternal wrath of God, should be lifted out of perdition justly merited into salvation to which he can have no claim, must indeed ever be a holy wonder. And that you or I should ever have been fixed on in the electing love of God, ever have been given to Jesus to redeem, ever quickened by the Spirit to feel our lost, ruined state, ever blessed with any discovery of the Lord Jesus Christ and of his saving grace—this is and ever must be a matter of holy astonishment here, and will be a theme for endless praise hereafter.

To see a man altogether so different from what he once was; once so careless, carnal, ignorant, unconcerned; to see that man now upon his knees begging for mercy, the tears streaming down his face, his bosom heaving with convulsive sighs, his eyes looking upward that pardon may reach him in his desperate state—is not that a man to be looked at with wonder and admiration? To see a man preferring one smile from the face of Jesus, and one word from his peace-speaking lips to all the titles, honors, pleasures, and power that the world can bestow; why, surely if there be a wonder upon earth, that man is one.

Was not this the very feeling of the disciples when Saul first "preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God?" "All that heard him were amazed, and said, Is not this he that persecuted the Church of God?" So we look and wonder, and feel at times a holy joy that he who reigns at God’s right hand is ever adding trophies to his immortal crown. And whenever we see any of those near and dear to us in the flesh; be it husband, wife, sister, brother, child, relative, or friend, touched by the finger of this all-conquering Lord, subdued by his grace, and wrought upon by his Spirit, then not only do we look upon such with holy wonder, but with the tenderest affection, mingled with the tears of thankful praise to the God of all our mercies.

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Bibliographical Information
Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on Zechariah 3". Philpot's Commentary on select texts of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jcp/zechariah-3.html.