Cities of Refuge –

Devotional Reading Psalm 59:10-17   -    ODB 08.01.14    -

In Joshua 20 and other places we learn much about the Cities of Refuge. Today’s Devotional reminds us that refuge can be found in Jesus, the Rock of Ages. Let us draw some parallels between the Old Testament Cities of Refuge and Jesus, our Refuge in the New Testament.

First, there were six Cities of Refuge. These were Kedesh, Shechem, Hebron, Bezer, Ramoth and Golan. Each of these Cities were controlled by the Levites from whom the Priests of Israel were selected. This is the first indication that the Cities of Refuge were a faint shadow that reflected the ultimate Refuge, our Eternal High Priest, not after the Levitical lineage but from that of Melchizedek.

Second, these six Cities, had to have good roads leading to them. They were strategically, geographically positioned so that anyone seeking refuge would not have to run very far while being hotly pursued by the avenger of the blood of the person killed. Jesus, our Refuge, is always easily accessible to all who would run to Him, regardless of where we are. He is always only a prayer away.

Third, the Cities of Refuge, though available to Israelite and foreigner, conspicuously catered only for persons who killed someone accidentally. Our Refuge is accessible by all who sin, regardless of the sin, and even in isolated instances where the sin is not accidental, but deliberate. However, the caution of the Apostle Paul rushes to my mind when I include those who deliberately sin. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we who are dead to sin, live any longer therein!”

Fourth, protection was available only while the refugee lived inside the city. To set one foot outside of the City could mean instant death. I will restrict myself by saying that for the Believer, protection is guaranteed only when we abide in Him. It is great to know that it is He who gives us the grace to abide in Him. How could we taste of the goodness and peace of Jesus and then want to leave His “City of Refuge”?

Fifth, full freedom of the refugee was contingent on two things. The first was a successful ‘court’ trial in which he is acquitted. The second was the death of the High Priest. It is possible that at trial he may not have been acquitted. That would be a problem. But even if he was acquitted, the reigning High Priest must die before he could be free. For the refugee, anxious to return to his family, the longevity of the High Priest was a problem. Aaron was ordained at age 83 and died at 123.

However in a twist of the analogy, Believers in Christ are doubly free. First we have been tried and found “not guilty” because we are covered by the blood of Jesus, and justified. Secondly, our High Priest, Jesus Christ, has already died, and so today, we are free.

To God be the glory!

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