Sunday Morning Podcast June 21, 2018. Bro. Dave Goble.

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TEXT: JOSHUA 20:1-9  

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.

4 And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.

5 And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime.

6 And he shall dwell in the city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.

7 And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphatil, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah.

8 And on the other side of Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh.

9 These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them, that whosever killeth any person at unawares might flee thither, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation.

The cities of refuge, were what God had provided for His people, Israel.  From one end of the land, to the other, God had provided these cities for a refuge to anyone that needed to flee certain danger from the avenger.  The avenger was anyone criminally affected, that was seeking revenge upon the one fleeing from the casualty they had caused to happen.  But sometimes those causalities had resulted without intention.   The avenger was the one seeking to get even for the crime committed, regardless of it being intentional or not.   The city of refuge provided a legal protection that was needed until a hearing where the case could be heard, and trial could take place to determine intentional guilt.  Then justice could be served rightfully.  The placement of these cities of refuge were by design placed strategically around the land of Israel, to be “evenly spaced” in giving different locations to escape to.  They were placed potentially a days journey from one another; this gave a more viable possibility, that a refuge realistically could be reached.  This was by design, a placement that showed mercy.

The City of Refuge, in this narrative, is a symbol of our experience with Jesus.   Each soul not yet seeking Christ’s pardon, is sentenced without His mercy.   All sin is condemned without pardon, if not repented of.  Some of them are named in this next scripture.  29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud,  boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection,  implacable, unmerciful:  32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.  Romans 1st chapter.  Every soul or person can find something in this passage that they in some measure, …have been guilty of.   God says any one of these are all worthy of death.   We all then, are included in a sentence of guilt.  But mercifully Jesus has made Himself our city of refuge!   Our safety is ensured when we repent and turn away from all sin, which only condemns us.

Religion, and good deeds, will not satisfy God.  Our “record” can only be cleared from guilt, when we choose to confess and repent of our sins.  Only then can His Blood be applied to our guilt, to cleanse and make us whole, and holy in His sight.  Redeemed and justified in His presence, …is to be in the city of refuge.  This is even more merciful than Israel had provided for those not intending to commit the crime.  We today on the other hand, have all been guilty by intent., for we have all sinned. (“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23)  Even so, Jesus in His mercy pardons all that have sinned, regardless, when they repent and forsake sin for Him.  For no one, or anything, can spiritually harm us while we dwell in The City of Refuge, …which is our Salvation from sin.  But we must remain in Salvation’s City of Refuge, …to remain safe from the curse of sin.

The City of Refuge….