Have you ever felt afraid because you knew a punishment was coming?
All throughout the Old Testament times the Israelites, God’s chosen people, looked forward to the day when God would come down to earth, judge all the bad sinners, and put his king in charge of everything. They called it the Day of the Lord. Listen to how the prophet Joel describes the Day of the Lord here:
Joel 2:1. Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near, 2a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Joel 3:14-16. 14 the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. 15The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. 16The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the Lord is a refuge to his people a stronghold to the people of Israel.
God’s people thought that on the Day of the Lord people would be judged by God for the good and bad things they did while alive on earth. If your good deeds added up to more than your bad deeds, then God would let you into heaven. But if your bad deeds outweighed your good deeds, then uh oh. No heaven for you.
At the cross, Jesus showed us that no one can actually survive the Day of the Lord. Jesus’ death on the cross for everyone proves that everyone deserves death. No one’s good will ever outweigh their bad. But Jesus’ cross also proves that God loves everyone enough to take our punishment for sin in our place. Now, just like Joel says, we can run to the Lord Jesus as our refuge, our fort (Joel 2:16). We can run to Jesus because he went through the judgment Day of the Lord and survived God’s darkness and gloom for us. Now we live in his light and happiness forever.
Because of Jesus we don’t have to be afraid of God’s judgment.
With Jesus we can always run to him as our fort of safety.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Play a game of Tag together. Have a home base where everyone is safe. Talk about how Jesus is our “home base.” With him we will never be “tagged out” for our sin.
Jesus, you are my fortress. With you I am always safe and will never be punished for my sin. Thank you for being punished in my place. Amen.