JUSTICE FOR ALL
God, I give You praise for Your justice and love.
Read Joshua 20
Cities of Refuge
20 Then the Lord said to Joshua: 2 “Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses, 3 so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood. 4 When they flee to one of these cities, they are to stand in the entrance of the city gate and state their case before the elders of that city. Then the elders are to admit the fugitive into their city and provide a place to live among them. 5 If the avenger of blood comes in pursuit, the elders must not surrender the fugitive, because the fugitive killed their neighbor unintentionally and without malice aforethought. 6 They are to stay in that city until they have stood trial before the assembly and until the death of the high priest who is serving at that time. Then they may go back to their own home in the town from which they fled.”
7 So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. 8 East of the Jordan (on the other side from Jericho) they designated Bezer in the wilderness on the plateau in the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead in the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan in the tribe of Manasseh. 9 Any of the Israelites or any foreigner residing among them who killed someone accidentally could flee to these designated cities and not be killed by the avenger of blood prior to standing trial before the assembly.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIs God’s justice a thing to be concerned about or to celebrate?
In the ancient world justice was not easy to come by. There were no police investigators able to determine if a killing was deliberate or the result of an accident.
In light of this, God’s establishing of six refuge cities comes as an act of grace and mercy to this emerging nation. Their locations were carefully planned to enable easy access across the length and breadth of the country (7, 8). Careful instructions are given to ensure that the one who had committed manslaughter was protected until they could be properly tried (4).
The provision of these cities reflects God’s concern for both life and justice. A life is preserved from the vengeance of an aggrieved family. Yet justice is also recognized through a time of exile for the one who caused the unintentional death (6). Our God delights in providing justice (Psalm 9:9; Luke 1:52, 53).
Where in your local community is loving justice needed today? This week look out for an opportunity to act as an ambassador of God’s Good News, especially for those seeking refuge.
Father, I pray that Your justice and peace would prevail in the world.
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