Wednesday, June 22, 2016

City of Refuge

Submitted by Lara Cook
On God my salvation and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.  Psalm 62:7-8
In the Old Testament there were six cities that were designated as cities of refuge.  They were part of the distribution of the Promised Land between the twelve tribes of Israel. The Mosaic Law stated that anyone who committed murder was to be put to death.  But if the death was unintentional, the murderer could flee to a city of refuge where he would be safe from the avenger (the family member charged with avenging the victim’s death) until the case could go to trial.  Then the people would judge whether or not the death was intentional.  If it was found to be an unintentional death, the murderer would be able to return to the city of refuge and live there safely for the rest of his life or until the death of the high priest who was in office at the time of the trial.  At that point he would be free to return to his own property but if he left the city before the death of the High Priest, the avenger would have the right to kill him.   
All that to say…
In Christ, sinners can find a refuge from the destroyer of our souls.  There we can escape the danger and only He can provide this refuge for us.  The cities of refuge were open to anyone who fled there for safety and Christ is open to anyone who will come to Him as well.  He does not discriminate.  He takes the worst of the worst.  He takes the sinners and gives forgiveness and mercy… and best of all, a sanctuary where we can find peace. 
When You Are Feeling Like You Are the Worst of the Worst…. A Sanctuary Awaits
Surely taking another’s life is the worst thing that a person could be guilty of.  They were the lowest of the low, the most horrible and most hated.  They were considered the scum of the earth.  I don’t know about you, but there are days when I feel like the worst of the worst and so undeserving of mercy and grace.  Even though I have not committed murder, I feel the weight and burden of the sins I carry like chains around my wrists and ankles.  Those days I am so thankful that I have my own private sanctuary in Christ.  I can hide away there and take refuge in Him, safely tucked away from the destroyer of my soul. Jesus is our High Priest who intercedes for us with His father, God, for our sins to be forgiven. He is the High Priest that will never die therefore we never have to leave the sanctuary of abiding in Him
The Holman Bible Dictionary said of the High Priest and his role in city of refuge:
The taking of a life imposed a guilt that could not be paid for by any means short of death. The death of the high priest, even as a result of natural causes, served to pay the price of the required penalty. One man died in place of another. During his life, one of the functions of a high priest was to bear the sins of the people (Exodus 28:38).
This sounds strangely familiar to me – The taking of a life imposed a guilt that could not be paid for by any means short of death. (The wages of sin is death…); One man died in place of another. (Christ paid the penalty for us with His life); During his life, one of the functions of a high priest was to bear the sins of the people. (Jesus bore our sins.)
The parallel is clear - Jesus is our refuge.  Run to Him and hide away and stay forever, safe within the asylum of His grace and mercy.
Scripture to Claim:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say[a] to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  Psalm 91:1-2

Devotional Archive