«And the Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?’ » (Zechariah 3:2).
This question is given in the context of the fourth vision of the prophet Zechariah that, according to the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, had the purpose of showing how Christ defeated the enemy who accused the people of their sinfulness.
Joshua or Jeshua, the first high priest after the captivity, represented Israel in a trial before God. The people of Israel had suffered exile as a result of their estrangement from God, but many had repented. Here was a struggle that went beyond earthly nations, as is the case today. However, Joshua was a brand plucked from the fire, and divine rebuke did not go to his people, but to his accuser.
I met Ricardo when I came across his house on my journey as a colporteur. He was sitting outside, a little drunk. We talked a little bit, and he asked me to bring him a book that he never ended up paying for. I visited him every week to pray with him and remind him of his commitment, but his alcohol addiction consumed his meager income.
Ricardo might have been a brand; he could have accepted divine forgiveness and lived a new life, but he had been in depression because of a fire.
Many years before, he had been working. His wife, a woman with a bad life, was an addict and without much commitment to the education and care of his children. She had gone out to buy groceries and left his younger baby in the crib. She took several hours, during which time the house caught fire, and no one arrived in time to put out the fire. Everything was consumed to the ground, including the baby.
Ricardo was sad, and regret was etched on his face. Guilt, sown above all by our greatest enemy, had condemned him to that state of neglect and loneliness.
We all bear the consequences of sin, sometimes our own and sometimes those of others. However, in Christ in His Sanctuary, we are told, «Jesus does not excuse their sins, but shows their penitence and faith, and, claiming for them forgiveness, He lifts His wounded hands before the Father and the holy angels, saying: I know them by name. I have graven them on the palms of My hands» (ch. 9, p. 179).
We still have time to accept His forgiveness and live a new life.