Tag: city of refuge
Scripture reading for February 20th: Numbers 34-36
This past week I counseled someone who has a relative who was involved in a murder. Murder is a terrible crime that causes grief, pain, and sometimes revenge and more violence. The thief, Satan, comes to steal, kill and destroy his victims. Murder is a sin that destroys a person who is made in the image of God. It robs the victim of fulfillment of his life and purpose here on earth. It robs God of any glory He would receive from that person fulfilling his destiny and purpose.
God knew that sin in the heart of His people would sometimes lead to this sin of murder. Sometimes it would be a willful act that deserved punishment. The penalty in the Old Testament for willfully taking the life of another human being was the forfeiting of the life of the murderer. (Numbers 21:16) A close relative could take it on themselves to be the avenger of blood and take the life of the one who had murdered. (Numbers 35:21)
Sometimes someone may kill another person accidentally, without premeditation or intention. There may be no witnesses, and anger may be provoked in a friend or relative to avenge this death. God provided 6 cities of refuge for this person who unintentionally killed someone. (Numbers 35:6) The person could flee to a city of refuge and was to be kept safe there from the avenger. Today we would call this “manslaughter” and our laws also recognize whether or not the murder or death was intentional or not.
Today we have something better than these Israelites. “God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) Jesus Christ is our refuge and we can run to Him. (Hebrews 6:17-20) He is our priest who will not only pray for us but who has paid the penalty for our sin and can give us freedom! We can be greatly encouraged today that any sin we commit, except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, has a remedy in Jesus Christ. (Matthew 12:31-32)
If you need a refuge today, turn to Jesus and confess your sin and need. Allow these truths to give you hope and encouragement. The New Jerusalem where Jesus Christ is the Lord and Light is the ultimate “City of Refuge.” (Revelation 21:2-5)
Scripture reading for February 20: Numbers 34-36
The God we serve knows everything! When He speaks, He speaks truth that we can take at face value. God told Moses in today’s reading about the boundaries of the land He was giving them and how to divide it when they took possession of it. (Numbers 34:2) They had yet to own any of it. These instructions were words to inspire faith in God’s people. They were to cast lots for their portion in the land. (Numbers 34:13) God decided by lot who would get what. “The lot is cast into the lap, but it’s every decision is from the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:33)
As the Israelites entered the land and took possession of it, God had Moses appoint a leader from each tribe to oversee the assignment of the inheritance. The only name that stands out in this list is Caleb. He and Joshua are the only ones left from the generation 20 years old and older who had not perished in the wilderness on the way to the promised land. These two are examples of the veracity of God’s promises. “God is not a man that he should lie.” (Numbers 23:19) God alone knows the end from the beginning and He speaks to His people to build their faith. This faith will inspire them to act on God’s Word and take what belongs to them.
In these last chapters of Numbers, we find provision for cities of refuge. God knew that his people would need mercy. Emotions get out of control and things happen. Revenge instincts are strong and sometimes violence that causes death erupts. The cities of refuge were scattered throughout the land and provided a place where someone who had killed another could flee from the avenger of blood. (Numbers 35:6) These cities were Levite cities. The Levites had no inheritance but were given cities and pastureland throughout the promised land to use and to minister to the people. Six of these forty eight towns were cities of refuge. They were to mediate these serious situations when someone came for refuge.
What lessons can we get from these final chapters of Numbers? First, our God does know everything and has good plans for us. (Jeremiah 29:11) He wants us to know those plans and walk by faith and claim our inheritance! He has provided a refuge for any who sin. We can flee to Jesus Christ, our rock and redeemer and find grace and help in time of need! (Hebrews 4:14-16) He mediates all our sins and provides refuge and mercy to those who repent! Take time today to ponder some of these promises and by faith possess those that you need today! Our God is on your side!
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32