In Matthew 27 45-46 we read Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The poignancy of this moment in the overall salvation plan of our God cannot be overestimated. Here is the Lord laying upon Him the iniquity of us all.
What I am particularly concerned to dwell upon though, is the context of our Lord’s anguished cry. It was when there was darkness over all the land. It is easy to read over that statement and pass on to the immensity of our Lord’s utterance. And yet there is great associated significance in the land being covered over in darkness.
After all this was the land which was to be the place where the nation of Israel obtained blessing. It was the land of promise as stated to Abraham in Genesis 12:6-7: Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. This is the land promised as part of the covenant blessing to Abraham’s offspring. When we come to Deuteronomy we see the promise relentlessly focused upon as the people, on the verge of entering that promised land, are connected back to the promise and so we read And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers (Deut 6:23).
Everything about Deuteronomy is about preparing people to go and live a blessed life in the land. Everything in Joshua is about going in to settle that land. This is God’s special provision for His people. And what a rich provision it is; a milk and honey provision. Notice in this scripture how the land is a grace gift from God and it is rich in blessing: And you shall write on them all the words of this law, when you cross over to enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you (Deut. 27:3).
God always had a purpose to have His people to be for Him in His place. Alas that place was marred and desecrated by a rebellious and ungrateful people
Yet when we come to Calvary’s cross we see that land in darkness. The outworking of the history of the nation had been that of sin and rebellion. They lived so as disparage God’s gift. In the end that land is cast in darkness at midday as our Saviour gives Himself to propitiate the sin of His people. The place which should have been light and life to a blessed obedient people became darkness as the Saviour bore the curse and darkness of His people.
But praise be to the Lord that through Him taking our sin in that darkness it will be that the Lord’s people will be in His place to be for Him forever. This is to be fully known in a heavenly land with its imposing city where we will dwell forever and be for Him forever.