In the hour before dawn I awoke from a dream in which I had deceived a friend. First, I was glad it was just a dream. Then I started thinking about Joshua the priest in Zachariah and then of Alan Jackson’s song, “Gone Country,” of the letters Peter, a betrayer of Jesus, then of my new birth, new hope, and finally of an old hymn.
Now Joshua was standing before the angel clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And he said, “I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will cloth you with pure vestments.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So, they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. (Zechariah 3:3–5)
“Yeah, he’s gone country, a new kind of suit, a new kind of walk,
He’s gone country, a new kind of talk.
He’s gone country, look at them boots.” (rec. Alan Jackson by Bob McDill)
According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3–6)
“What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.“ (Robert Lowry)
One can see Joshua the priest standing alone, deep in shame and disgrace his soiled ragged clothes. Then his filthy clothes are taken away and he is given new, clean clothes, and a new turban. The failed protest singer has gone country. And Peter, who denied Jesus in his master’s worst hour could write “born again to a living hope—imperishable, undefiled and unfading—by God’s power guarded through faith.” It’s not that I changed my style, bought a new kind of suit and fancy boots, or changed the way I talk, but that God by his “great mercy” has changed me, forgiven me, given me a new suit of clothes and is guarding me until the day when he makes all things new.