Whether one likes Donald Trump or not, it can safely be said that the Nov. 8, 2016, election of someone as president of the United States who never served in the military and never held any political office was a historic event. His "America First" policy positions, and appearance as a political outsider campaigning against and defeating seasoned politicians, generated the enthusiastic support of millions of Americans.
The "honeymoon period" describes a short period of time, typically a few months, when a newly elected leader is granted a great degree of latitude with respect to policy changes he wishes to make. It is during this time that the public, most media outlets and members of Congress tend to give the president the benefit of the doubt and treat him well.
But President Trump was not given such a honeymoon period. His political opposition in government and in the majority of mainstream news media organizations – disappointed and outraged that their preferred presidential candidate was defeated and determined not to accept the will of the people in the election results – did whatever they could to hinder, undermine and end his presidency.
Chief among this effort was the promotion of the narrative that President Trump colluded with Russia to influence the election in his favor. From the summer of 2016 to the spring of 2019, his political opponents acted as prosecutors against the president, constantly accusing him of getting the help of Russia to steal the election from their preferred candidate, or of being a Russian operative. This continual rhetoric along with sham Justice Department investigations made governance more difficult, and it caused the country to suffer.
Many of us, on a much smaller scale, can relate to situations in our lives where we were falsely accused or slandered by people seeking to damage us for personal gain. We can also recall occasions when our own errors or failings opened us up to accusations from others.
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Depending on the situation, considerable harm could be done to reputation, relationships with family and friends, and livelihood that takes a long period of time to repair. For believers in Jesus, this can make one's service to the Lord seemingly untenable.
Zechariah prophesied to the people of Judah around 520 B.C., soon after they had returned from their 70-year exile in Babylon. About 14 years earlier, Cyrus the Great had conquered Babylon and its territory was merged into his empire. A year later he issued a decree permitting the people of Judah to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple.
Zechariah described a vision given to him by God (Zechariah 3:1-5) where he saw Joshua the high priest standing before the Lord in his role as mediator for the remnant of Judah. But he was dressed not as someone befitting his position, but in filthy garments. It was revealed to Zechariah that not all of the returned remnant was fully sincere in their desire to serve God, and so Joshua – and the people he represented before God – were corrupted by their sins.
Beside Joshua, aware of this terrible spiritual state, was Satan accusing him before the Lord of his sins and shortcomings, probably arguing his lack of qualifications to serve the Lord.
But the Lord rebukes Satan and graciously forgives Joshua, removing his filthy garments and clothing him with clean, festive attire, and enabling him to serve the Lord on behalf of the people of Judah with a clear conscience.
Zechariah's message was one of encouragement as he counseled God's people to repent and wholeheartedly return to Him. He wanted them to be assured of the forgiveness of their sins and that the righteousness of God would clothe them and reconcile them with Him.
His vision provided a prefiguring of the righteous, all-sufficient sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that completely removes the iniquity of sinners who trust in Him alone and reconciles them to God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
While the accusations levied against President Trump regarding his collusion with Russia to manipulate the 2016 presidential election were proven to be false, similar to the woman caught in adultery and brought to Jesus by her accusers (John 8:1-11), we are truly guilty of our own sins against God and others. And Satan brings them up to accuse us before Him to argue against our worthiness (Revelation 12:10).
Sometimes, instead of believing God's love for us in Christ, we listen to Satan and hang our heads in shame, believing in our own condemnation and unworthiness to serve God.
But just as Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, forgiving her and telling her to go and sin no more (John 8:10-11), He does not condemn anyone who comes to Him in repentance and full trust in Him (Romans 8:1).
Just as God took away the sin of Joshua the high priest who mediated for the remnant of Judah and clothed him in the clean attire of His righteousness, the Lord Jesus stands as our perfect Mediator who always intercedes for us before God (Hebrews 7:23-27) and clothes us with His righteousness (Isaiah 61:10; Romans 3:21-28) because of His life, death on the cross for our sins, and resurrection from the dead.
In Christ, Satan's accusations and anyone else's are silenced! All who trust solely in the merits of Jesus are worthy before God not only for salvation, but for service to the Lord to the blessing of others and for His glory.
"Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame." (Romans 10:11)
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