Mighty God, Your will stands firm forever. Your truth endures from age to age. I give all praise to You.
Read Joshua 20
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I shall not be shaken” (Psa. 16:8). Truly our Lord Jesus Christ is our refuge.
The Lord told Joshua to designate six cities of refuge, as provided by his Law (Exod. 21:12,13) and as previously instructed (Num. 35:6–32). These cities were spread throughout the land for easy access and offered refuge to “anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally” (3). An accidental death could stir within the victim’s relative (“avenger of
blood”; 3) an emotional response that sought a life for a life. In this case, the man who caused the victim’s accidental death could flee to a city of refuge where he would be safe (4,5). He would be tried there to exclude guilt and would remain in the city until the high priest died, after which he was free to return home (6). The avenger would consider the high priest’s death as a substitute for the killer’s death.
Most of the cities of refuge were located on mountaintops and easily visible day and night. Extra-biblical sources indicate that there were clear road signs, indicating “Refuge,” pointing to these cities. This was to provide the accidental killer clear directions and easy access. These cities, however, did not provide refuge for actual murderers (Num. 35:16–31). They ensured that the Promised Land was a land of justice.
We can compare the cities of refuge to Jesus our ultimate Refuge. He is the hope for those who have fled (Heb. 6:18). He, in fact, is a far better refuge. The cities offered refuge for the innocent, but Jesus offers refuge for the guilty, which we all are. As our high priest, his death frees us and his risen life offers us eternal hope (Heb. 7:23–28). He is not far away but actually seeks us (Rev. 3:20) and will not reject anyone who comes to him in faith (John 6:37). He is our eternal Refuge.
Have you found refuge in Jesus? Do you think you and your church like the road signs that point to Jesus as God’s refuge offered to all (Israelites and aliens, 9)?
Heavenly Father, You are my refuge and my strength. I praise You for the assurance Jesus gives me.
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