Summary: We can either trust in the Lord to give us the clean, fresh robes of righteousness, or we can put our selves through the wringer, in attempt to create our own self-righteousness and still be clothed in filthy rags.
ONCE MORE THROUGH THE WRINGER
I can still remember a little the old wringer type washing machine that my mother used to have when I was a child. I know, most of you would wonder how anyone could remember that far back. Wasn’t that before the days of radio? No, it wasn’t that far back, but it was before the days of 4 track and 8 track players, cassette, color TV (most couldn’t even afford a black and white TV), and long before the days of computers and the internet. It was during the early to mid-1950’s I suppose, when I remember seeing that old wringer washer sitting out on the back porch, which is now part of the kitchen since the first remodeling job on the house was done.
What a job washday must have been! I was too young to do much work but I do remember that mom would be worn out by the time the day had ended. I don’t know how much I helped but I’m certain that I was a drain on her energy level as she had to watch me also.
But there is one image about that old washing machine that is forever burned into my mind. That’s the image of those flat, pressed clothes as they came out of the wringer. In those days my thoughts were, I wonder if those clothes are in pain? I always was a little weird in my thinking, even as a little kid.
Now that I’ve grown much older, I still think of that wringer washer every once in a while and I often think of how much of our lives are spent going through that wringer, and I can definitely say that, yes, it does hurt when you’re going through.
It’s as though God has hold of the crank handle of your life and he is slowly, methodically, turning that crank and squeezing all the excess junk and sin out of your life. How many of you will agree with me that the wringing process is a really painful and dreaded process?
The problem is that if you didn’t send those clothes through the process of washing and wringing them out at regular intervals, then the clothes would become useless, or if you did wear them anyway, no one would want to be around you very much.
There used to be a commercial on the radio many years ago for a laundry detergent called Rinso. One of their favorite commercials began with a booming bass voice that simply said, “B-O”! That meant “body odor” and friend, nobody wants to have or be around anyone with “B-O”, so you had better get some Rinso, get out there and let that washing machine agitate the dirt out of your laundry and then run them through the wringer and hang them out to dry.
Now I don’t know about you, but I feel like my attitude and my spirit get to stinking every once in a while. I develop some “Stinkin’ Thinkin” and I need the proverbial ”Check Up From the Neck Up”. The effects of this sinful world that we live in will get all over you, grind it’s way into your life and sometimes even get down deep into your heart. That’s when you need to get washed out all over again.
So God takes you and plunges you into the hot water of life, agitates you with all sorts of problems, trials, tests and other means of scrubbing you down to get the filth out. Then he runs you through the wringer to squeeze the junk out of you and then you are left hanging in the “Son” to dry, all pure and white once again.
In the Old Testament book of the prophet, Zechariah 3:1-3 we read these words, "And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 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? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel."
At the end of the Babylonian captivity, Nehemiah and a number of Jews were released and sent back to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. Upon the completion of their work, one of the High Priests who ministered in that rebuilt temple was Joshua. This man, Joshua was typical of the priesthood and its condition in Israel at that time. He had little or no rule over his own house. His sons had married wives from Babylon and thus polluted the nation with idolatry. Because of Joshua’s own sin and the sin of his family, Zechariah was given a vision that spoke of Joshua’s life, but in a greater sense, that vision spoke of the condition of all of us.