June 16 | Waking with The Word | Joshua 20: 1 & 2
Joshua 20:1 The LORD also spake unto Joshua, saying, :2 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses: :3 That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.
Chapter 20 gives the details of the cities of refuge. The cities of refuge were Kadesh, Hebron, Shechem, Golan, Ramath-Gilead and Bezer. I've included a map to show you the locations of these cities. Notice how central these cities were, each one a similar distance apart, so at any where within Canaan Land you could reach a city of refuge if the need every arose. These cities where for people who by accident killed someone. The details of the rules applying to certain cases are contained in Numbers chapter 35. God tells Moses all the details of what is acceptable and is not. Joshua is simply carrying out the commandment of God in setting up these cities of refuge. See it was lawful for the next of kin to avenge the death of their kin. So if you killed someone their family could come and kill you but God made a provision within the law for accidental deaths and as long as you were within the walls of a city of refuge you were safe from the avenger of blood but there was no protection outside the walls of the city. You were to stay in that city until the death of the high priest, at which point they could return to their home safely.
Now I'm sure you've probably heard some teaching or preaching on these cities because they are such a demonstration and illustration of Gods mercy and love. I want to learn a lesson from these cities about the condition man is in. These cities are a foreshadowing of Christ and the refuge we find in Him. You say, "Ah, but brother I've never killed anyone by accident and especially not on purpose." While that may be true of you and me as well, the other and more relevant truth is this, that the wages of sin is death. We know that that there isn't one of of us that can say we are without sin and if we are all sinners then we all have death knocking at our door, waiting to avenge the laws that we have broken. The Law says we shouldn't steal, curse, lie, covet and on and on and on. Have you every broken one of these laws? The answer undoubtedly is yes. Therefore death is coming for you, we don't know when, we don't know where but we can be sure that death is coming for us.
Imagine now you lived in the days of Joshua and you found yourself in the position of one of these people who killed someone unintentionally. Can you imagine the fear you would live in knowing that death was coming, also imagine the rest that you would experience when you reached that city of refuge. No more running, no more hiding, no more looking over your shoulder. Sure death was still coming but it wouldn't be at the hands of the avenger. So is the lot of men, outside of Christ there is no rest for the soul, there is no refuge, no shelter, no forgiveness, outside of Christ you will face the consequence of your sin without mercy. You will receive the wages of your sin, which is death. Now the death of this body is not what people fear. It is the death of our souls that is and should be feared. Death and Hell will be cast into the lake of fire and this is the second death. We won't escape the death of this body but there is a city of refuge to run to, to escape the death of our souls. The broken law is coming for you and if you're found outside Christ there won't be any mercy. Run now to Christ, you'll find no rest until you do. In Christ there is peace and refuge, there is rest and assurance that the avenger of blood cannot and will not reach you there.
Consider the positioning of these cities, how they were easily reachable from anywhere in the land. Christ has made himself available, He is not hiding him self from anyone, despite the beliefs of some, He has made a way and a clear way at that. Notice how the instruction of salvation is clear in the scripture, not like other doctrines that are not easily understood or grasped. The matter of salvation is so simply that even a child can understand and believe. Some people despise the simplicity of the great truth, that salvation is by grace through faith. He placed salvation on a level that all could see it and reach it and believe it. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come unto repentance. He makes Himself available and all that will come unto Him, He will in no wise cast out.
Run to Jesus!!
Onward Christian Soldier!!