Text: Joshua 20 Theme: God provided cities of refuge for manslaughters. Key verses: “Then the Lord said to Joshua: Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses, so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood. When he flees to one of these cities, he is to stand in the entrance of the city gate and state his case before the elders of that city. Then they are to admit him into their city and give him a place to live with them.” (v. 1-4) “Any of the Israelites or any alien living among them who killed someone accidentally could flee to these designated ciities and not be killed by the avenger of blood prior to standing trial before the assembly.” (v. 9) What God said to me: Dwayne, there is much symbolism and application for modern-day sinners here. There is still a place to run and hide when you do wrong. The world is out to condemn you for failure, even when your actions were unintentional or careless. Back then in the promised land, literal physical cities were designated to protect from physical harm. I still grant physical protection through my power and my Holy Spirit. But the place you and others who sin must run is into my arms and spiritual sanctuary. Consider these specifics around this report in this chapter: There were certain cities that were designated. NotÂ just any place would do.Â The same is true today. Not just any sanctuary provides trueÂ protection, only me.Â The manslaughters had to choseÂ to come and then make their way to the cities of refuge. Same today: You must choose to run into my arms and then pickÂ up your spiritual feet and move in my direction. I am waiting but will not force you. Even aliens were welcome in the cities of refuge. Same now: You don’t to have certain creditials of citizenship and heritage to come to me. He who comes to me I will in no wise cast out – whether they be my children or lost, they are welcome to come and find refuge for their souls. I will adopt them, give them abundant life and forgive them of all their trespases – both unintentional as well as deliberate. Finally, notice that a trial still awaited for each of these people. Just because they were inside the refuge walls did not mean they would not face their actions and possible retribution. I will forgive any sin and protect your soul from the ultimate and evil avenger Satan. However, sin often brings with it physical, on this earth, consequences and scars. If you deserve punishment through your deliberate breaking of laws – be them man-made or spiritual lawsÂ -Â then judgement will befall you. That judgement and punishment will only be in this lifetime however and through the hands of other men. You are forgiven in my sight and will dwell forever in my greatest of all city of refuge, heaven itself. What I said to God: Thank You, Father, for helping me wake up enough this morning to concentrate and listen to hear Your still, small voice. Thank You for this powerful Word today. I praise You that my sins are gone and that You remember them no more. I accept that some sins will inevitably and rightfully carry with them physical consequences. If I offend or harm another person, I should expect retribution and punishment. Nonetheless, I know I can run into Your sanctuary for the greatest kind of refuge, for if God is for us, ultimately who can be against us?
30. October 2007 Joshua 0