Scooping up the smallest children, a frantic maid raced out of the flaming house. As she ran, she called loudly to five-year-old Jacky.
But Jacky didn’t follow. Outside, a bystander reacted quickly, standing on the shoulders of a friend. Reaching into the upstairs window, he pulled Jacky to safety—just before the roof caved in. Little Jacky, said his mother Susanna, was “a brand [stick] plucked from the burning.” You might know that “brand” as the great traveling minister John Wesley (1703–1791).
Susanna Wesley was quoting Zechariah, a prophet who provides valuable insight into God’s character. Relating a vision he had, the prophet takes us into a courtroom scene where Satan is standing next to Joshua the high priest (3:1). Satan accuses Joshua, but the Lord rebukes the devil and says, “Is this not a brand [burning stick] plucked from the fire?” (v. 2
Then the Lord gave Joshua this challenge—and an opportunity: “If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house” (v. 7).
What a picture of the gift we receive from God through our faith in Jesus! He snatches us from the fire, cleans us up, and works in us as we follow His Spirit’s leading. You might call us God’s brands plucked from the fire.
Father, we give You our thanks for rescuing us and making us right with You. We humbly ask for Your Spirit’s guidance as we serve You today.
God rescues us because He loves us; then He equips us to share His love with others.
At the end of their Babylonian exile (Jeremiah 29:10), the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple (2 Chronicles 36:22–23). Only 50,000 returned (Ezra 2:64–65), led by Zerubbabel their governor and Joshua their high priest (Haggai 1:1). Because of opposition (Ezra 4:1–5) and economic hardships, coupled with low morale and spiritual lethargy (Haggai 1:2–11), the temple rebuilding stalled for twenty years (Ezra 4:24). God raised two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, to encourage the returnees to repent and complete the temple rebuilding (6:14–16). Zechariah was both a prophet (Ezra 5:1; Zechariah 1:1) and a priest (Nehemiah 12:16). Through eight visions, Zechariah reminded the Jews that God is faithful and would restore and bless the nation (Zechariah 1:7–6:15). This fourth vision (3:1–10) pictures a court scene involving Joshua, the high priest, signifying God would remove their guilt, cleanse them, and make them ready to serve Him (vv. 1–5).