By Jarrod Belcher
We are thankful for the great and precious promises that God makes for his people. The Bible is full of God’s promises and we are assured that because God is great and powerful and also kind and loving he will fulfill all his promises to us. He is willing and able to do so. I’m reminded of how God fulfilled all his promises to his people Israel in the first few books of the Old Testament. The people had wondered around for forty years in the wilderness under Moses with all these promises that God had made to give them a land of their own full of houses they had never built and vineyards they had never planted. And under Joshua all these promises came to pass.
After the time of war was over Joshua had the entire nation of Israel gather together for a covenant renewal ceremony at Shechem. You can just imagine this awesome scene where over a million Israelites had gathered in the valley to honor Yahweh. And Joshua read from the book of the Law concerning God’s commands. He would have asked the people, “Will you do all these things?” And in unison the people would have thundered out their answer, “Yes, we will do all these things.” Joshua would have then read from the Law about all the blessings that God would give them for their obedience to him; blessings to be fruitful and successful and to have long life in the land.
But we find out that God makes other promises as well. If the Israelites failed to keep God’s law they would be cursed in the land and eventually driven from it. We are reminded that God not only makes promises for blessing but he makes promises for disobedience as well. And eventually Israel would be driven from their land for their sins.
Now we fast-forward over a thousand years later and the scene is not of a million Israelites. There is but one lone Israelite on a cross on a hill bearing the ultimate promise of separation from God for the sins of his people. And we are to understand that it is Jesus bearing the promises of curse for our sins so that we might receive blessing instead. That’s why we call it Good Friday.