Friday, 9 November 2012

Modern Cities of Refuge - Joshua 20 (RBHW)

There was a time in a certain land when if there were an accident on the road involving someone being hit down by a motor vehicle the driver would immediately try to assist the victim (ambulances were few and far between).  Sadly however, things had changed.  Because instead of seeking to help, the driver had to make a desperate dash for the nearest police station and prays that he/she is not intercepted before reaching the station.  You see, throughout the land people had gotten frustrated with the many accidents and so decided to take matters into their own hands - in pursuit of justice.  A number of unsuspecting drivers have received the execution of this swift jungle justice and have not lived to tell the tale.  Depending on where you’re from you could probably relate to this story.

Change the car to a camel, move the time back a few centuries and allow the accidental death to be caused the camel bumping into a fragile structure that collapses on a victim who was inside.   You pretty much have the same story here.  It was during rush hour on the streets of… say Galilee.   It was a baby sleeping inside that perished and the family is furious and is seeking for fast revenge.   Or maybe the cause of death, as Numbers 35: 23 puts it, is that one is hit with a stone and dies, but was not seen and was not intentionally killed.  For his or her safety the accidental killer would want to make an immediate bid to reach a city of refuge – unless there was a death wish (because surely the revenger of blood is coming).

In the first story above a police station functions as a “city of refuge” as described in Joshua 20.  This was mentioned earlier in Numbers 35: 11, 14.  The citizenry in the above story act the part of the avenger of blood in Joshua 20.  But there is a much bigger story that is going on with the same plot.  And we are all involved.

I see the role of the Cities of Refuge being partly fulfilled by the Church, whose Head is Christ.  The Avenger of Blood is Satan, the accuser of the brethren whose intention is to constantly discredit us before God.  But praise the Lord God's response to Satan is, "The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem (you, me) rebuke thee; is not this a brand (you and me) plucked from the fire." Zach. 3:2.

As members of the Church, who have ourselves been rescued, we have the opportunity to function as Christ's representatives.  We should accept each new member as one of us, ensuring that they have a place (feel at home with us and utilized in the work).  Or we can otherwise act on behalf of the devil (the avenger of blood).

LORD, please help me to act with the heart of Christ today.  Amen.

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