Safe Cities

Today’s Reading:  Joshua 19:49-21:45. 1 Chronicles 6:54-81

safe-zoneA year ago a friend of mine preached his first sermon.  It was so good that I shared it as a post.  Here it is again as it bears repeating.  Thanks Elmer!

Joshua 20:1 – 9

1 The Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Now tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed Moses. 3 Anyone who kills another person accidentally and unintentionally can run to one of these cities; they will be places of refuge from relatives seeking revenge for the person who was killed.

4 “Upon reaching one of these cities, the one who caused the death will appear before the elders at the city gate and present his case. They must allow him to enter the city and give him a place to live among them. 5 If the relatives of the victim come to avenge the killing, the leaders must not release the slayer to them, for he killed the other person unintentionally and without previous hostility. 6 But the slayer must stay in that city and be tried by the local assembly, which will render a judgment. And he must continue to live in that city until the death of the high priest who was in office at the time of the accident. After that, he is free to return to his own home in the town from which he fled.”

7 The following cities were designated as cities of refuge: Kedesh of 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 On the east side of the Jordan River, across from Jericho, the following cities were designated: Bezer, in the wilderness plain of the tribe of Reuben; Ramoth in Gilead, in the territory of the tribe of Gad; and Golan in Bashan, in the land of the tribe of Manasseh. 9 These cities were set apart for all the Israelites as well as the foreigners living among them. Anyone who accidentally killed another person could take refuge in one of these cities. In this way, they could escape being killed in revenge prior to standing trial before the local assembly.

In the sermon we learned from the above scripture the following:

  • The cities of refuge provided protection in case of accidental killing vs 3.
  • The cities of refuge provided protection against ‘avenger of blood’ vs. 3.
  • That a person could stay safe in the city of refuge until death of high priest vs.  6.
  • That a person could be free after death of the high priest vs. 6.
  • That the cities of refuge were for Jews and for aliens.  vs. 9.

The sermon went on to compare the idea of the cities of refuge to Jesus. 

Hebrews 6:18-20 NLT:

18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. [19] This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. [20] Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Jesus is our refuge He is the city of refuge that we can flee to.

protection in case of accidental killing

1 John 1:7:

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

protection against ‘avenger of blood’

1 Peter 5:8b

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

John 3:16 NLT

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Safe in the city until death of high priest

Hebrews 7:23-24 NLT:

There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever.

Free after death of the high priest

Isaiah 53:5:

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

For Jews and for aliens

Galatians 3:28 NLT

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Having Jesus as our High Priest means that we can take refuge in the cities of refuge and never leave.  The High Priest lives eternally, never forcing us to leave His refuge.  Additionally, because Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we are free from the avenger and the guilt of our sin. 

Didn’t my friend make a great connection from an Old Testament teaching?  At first glance you would find it difficult to tie teachings about Jesus to a discussion of Cities of Refuge.  Remember all scripture is God breathed and profitable for us.

Romans 15:4:

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope

Special Thanks to Elmer A. for sharing his message with us in such a wonderful way.   What a fantastic way to start off a lifetime of preaching.

About plimtuna

I am just an average guy trying to find his way along this journey of life. I am definitely middle aged. I am definitely happily married with a wife and two children. Personally, I have a passion for things eternal. Professionally, I have a passion for things that are securely in control.
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