And the LORD said to Satan, The LORD rebuke you, O Satan; even the LORD that has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you…
Here Satan is presented to our view as the accuser of the brethren. He does his work in the court of conscience; at the bar of public opinion; and before the Divine Judge. Here Satan accused Joshua to one who was his Advocate as well as his Judge. Christ rebukes Satan; alleges God's election; and points to Joshua as a trophy of power, guided by sovereign mercy.
I. A VIVID AND IMPRESSIVE DESCRIPTION OF JOSHUA'S ORIGINAL CHARACTER AS A SINNER. "A brand." A piece of wood which has been purposely prepared for burning. A sinner, as a brand, is one in every way fitted for destruction. The wicked have a suitableness to the place and the experience assigned to them by God. There is an adaptation of desert, and of character. Their experience results from their character. They have in themselves the causes of misery — a deranged system. They war with everything, and therefore are warred against by everything.
II. AN ACCOUNT OF THE SITUATION, UNDER LAW, AND IN ACTUAL EXPERIENCE, IN WHICH JOSHUA HAD BEEN. "In the fire."
1. The brand is one plucked out of the fire, then it must have been in it.
2. By fire, understand the destruction and misery which are the fruit of sin.
3. The sinner is already under condemnation; spiritually dead; he feels the elements of misery in his breast. He feels the oppressiveness of the thought of God. He draws pain from without. He already suffers as a sinner.
III. A DESCRIPTION OF THE CHARACTER WHICH JOSHUA NOW SUSTAINED. "A brand plucked out of the fire." Such a brand has on it the marks of burning. The believer retains marks of his once lost condition. In his conscience, which still accuses. In his heart, where are the remains of spiritual derangement and death. In his body, which is mortally affected. In his moral character, which is disfigured. In his very righteousness, which is imputed. In his life, which is derived. Brands plucked from the burning shall be the eternal character of believers.
IV. THE AGENCY THROUGH WHICH JOSHUA WAS DELIVERED. It was not by himself. The brand retains the burning flame. Salvation is wholly of God — of grace: in its origin; its purchaser; its application. Man takes offence at this, being self-righteous. The believer rejoices in this. God has thus the glory of salvation.
V. THE MANNER IN WHICH GOD RESCUED JOSHUA. He plucked him out of the fire. Indicative of haste — we thus rescue a precious manuscript, accidentally thrown into the fire. God is in haste, for man's guilt is increasing; his depravity is deepening; he is descending with time's flight; his fate is awful!
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?