Reading through the Bible together

Friday, October 5, 2012

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Moses was commanded to establish six cities of refuge from the total of 48 cities given to the Levites. The cities of refuge were places to flee for a person who had accidentally killed another. The city provided asylum to the fugitive by sheltering and protecting him until a trial could be held to determine his guilt or innocence. If, in the judgment of the city elders, the death had occurred accidentally and without intent, the man was allowed to stay there without fear of harm or revenge by the dead man's relatives.

The cities of refuge are reflective of God Himself. In Psalm 46:1 it says, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." More than fifteen other times, the Psalms speak of God as our refuge.

Jesus, "God with us," is our real refuge. Both Jesus and the cities of cities of refuge were within reach and were open to all, and not just to the Israelite. But there is a crucial distinction between the cities of refuge and our refuge in Jesus. The ancient cities of refuge only helped the innocent—those who killed someone accidentally—but guilty people come to Jesus. And that applies to all of us, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

‘Dear God, we are guilty. We admit it. Thank you for being an accessible refuge that we can flee to. In you we seek pardon and cleansing." (I John 1:9)

John Ash
Chinese Union Mission
Hong Kong