Today’s thought “prepare the roads for yourself and divide for the way to peace with Cities of Refuge” (May 02)

Today’s thought

“prepare the roads for yourself and divide for the way to peace with Cities of Refuge”

(May 02)

Deuteronomy 19

Cities of Refuge To Be Appointed — vs. 1-3

God has given land to His chosen people.

City of Refuge - map
Six cities of refuge

Six cities of Refuge for the administration of Justice were to be appointed in accordance with the instruction of Numeri 35:1-34: three on each of the eastern and western sides of the Jordan. Already, the three cities on the east had been appointed; Deuteronomy 4:41 and the appointment of the three on the west awaited the conquest of the land by Joshua. (Jos 20)

These Cities of Refuge foreshadow the hope set before the believer in the Gospel, because people should know that God can’t break His Word. Everything He foretold or promised came out or shall become a reality. The Jews should know that too. They too should know that because God His word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. For that reason it is not so right for them to want to hasten things, because everything happens in the time of the Most High. Those who have run for their very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where the master teacher Jeshua (Jesus), running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

“18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us: 19 which we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and stedfast and entering into that which is within the veil; 20 whither as a forerunner Jesus entered for us, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Heb 6:18-20 ASV)

Each city is to be in a prominent place, as the Gospel is to be prominently displayed before all; and are appointed throughout the land so as to be convenient for any who may need their use, even as the word of faith is nigh those who need it. Moses was saying here that the word that saves is right here, as near as the tongue in our mouth, as close as the heart in our chest. It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This should also be the core of our preaching. (Ro 10:8)

To assist in the cause of Justice and Mercy, instructions in addition to those already given were now laid down, particularly the command to maintain the roads in such order as to make the cities so designated of easy access to all.

“When Yahweh thy God hath cut off the nations, whose land Yahweh thy God giveth thee, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their cities, and in their houses”

— One of the objects of Deuteronomy was to remind Israelites of any amendments of the Law already given that would need adjustment when the nation became a settled community in the land. See De 6:10 De 7:1-2 De 12:29.

“ And it shall be, when Jehovah thy God shall bring thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee, great and goodly cities, which thou buildest not,” (De 6:10 ASV)

“1  When Jehovah thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and shall {1 } cast out many nations before thee, the Hittite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; {1) Heb pluck off }2 and when Jehovah thy God shall deliver them up before thee, and thou shalt smite them; then thou shalt {1 } utterly destroy them: thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them; {1) Heb devote } (De 7:1-2 ASV)

“ When Jehovah thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest in to dispossess them, and thou dispossessest them, and dwellest in their land;” (De 12:29 ASV)

We must prepare ourselves to be ready to face the Land of promise and enter  the Kingdom of God. Though we should allow space for those who are fleeing for terror and for those who seek for asylum and let God decide which countries should be cut off.

As in the old times six cities were to be separated as Cities of Refuge, (Nu 35:11) three on each side of Jordan. Three had already been appointed on the east, (De 4:41) and the work was completed by Joshua. (Jos 20:1-9) The expression “in the midst of the land,” means in this Land of Canaan proper. There were provisions of the Law that it was not possible to implement whilst the Israelites were in the Wilderness (see, for example, Le 23:10). These are to be implemented when Israel occupies the Land. Israel has now the promised land and should remember that Law given by the Most High elohim.

“Thou shalt prepare thee a way”

Roads were to be properly constructed so as to give easy access to the Cities of Refuge. As the appointment of these Cities typed the Gospel, the “way” thereto, foreshadowed the “way of salvation.” This “way” had been opened to sinning humanity in Eden, when the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” was offered, and the “way of the Tree of Life” was “kept” or maintained by the presiding angel. (Ge 3:24) That “way” was corrupted by the antediluvians; (Ge 6:12) Moses requested greater illumination in regard to it; (Ex 33:13) the Psalmist prayed for greater understanding of it; (Ps 25:9) it is described as “the way of holiness,” (Isa 35:8) the Way of Jehovah God (lsa 40:3), the Way of Understanding; (Isa 40:14) the Way of the Ransomed; (Isa 51:10) the Way of Peace. (Isa 59:8) Christ declared,

“I am the way, the truth and the life,” (Joh 14:6)

and elsewhere the Gospel is likened to a City of Refuge. (Heb 6:18-20)

Jesus & City
The similarity between the O.T. cities of refuge, and the anointed sent one of God, Jeshua (Jesus) is striking, him being the only escape for the punishment of sin wherein all of us are guilty and deserve death and damnation When seen in the light of God’s perfection which is reflected in His law.

In the Acts of the Apostles, the Gospel is described as “this way,” (Ac 9:2) the “way of salvation,” (Ac 16:17) “that way” (Ac 19:9 Ac 19:23 Ac 22:4). In contrast, there is the “way of sinners”; (Ps 1:1) a “way that seemeth right but leads to death”; (Pr 14:12) the “way of Egypt”; (Jer 2:18) the “way of the heathen”; (Jer 10:2) the “way of Balaam”; (2Pe 2:15) the “way of Cain.” (Jud 1:11) Very important was the figurative teaching of the way to the Cities of Refuge. The roads had to be carefully maintained, foreshadowing that there should also be a careful inspection of what is taught as the Gospel message.

“And divide the coasts of thy land, which Yahweh thy God giveth thee to inherit into three parts”

— The “three parts” represented the whole, as in THE CITIES OF REFUGE.

They were conveniently placed, with easy access for the one fleeing for his life. See (Heb 6:18-20). The parable of the woman who hid leaven in three measures of meal. (Mt 13:33) The division of the land in such a way, and the placing of the Cities of Refuge therein would provide convenient access to any who through urgency of need required to get to a city quickly. So also with the Gospel. Paul wrote:

“The word is nigh thee …  that is the word of faith, which we preach.” (Ro 10:8)

“That every slayer may flee thither”  — See (Nu 15:15-24 De 4:42). Vengeance could be taken against any slayer showing the need to exercise the greatest care in case of accidents, for death itself no matter how it comes, is a negation of the purpose of the living God in creation. Sin in the flesh, or the lusts of the flesh, is a murderer, (Joh 8:44) and to give way to it, or to sow to it, is to court death. (Ga 6:8) Thus lawlessness, or rejection of Divine Law is a sin unto death (1Jo 3:4 1Jo 5:16), and one who hates his brother without proper cause is a murderer, for whom there is no City of Refuge. (1Jo 3:15) But there are sins not unto death, for which forgiveness will be granted (see 1Jo 1:9 1Jo 2:2 1Jo 5:16), and in the mercy of God most sins are forgivable (see Mt 12:31).

“ Therefore I say unto you, Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.” (Mt 12:31 ASV)

To obtain immunity from these killers, believers in the mercy and justice of Jehovah should seek protection in the Christ-City of Refuge, (Heb 6:18) moving thereto along the “living way” (Heb. 10:20).

“ that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us:” (Heb 6:18 ASV)

“ by the way which he dedicated for us, a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;” (Heb 10:20 ASV)

City of refuge

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3 thoughts on “Today’s thought “prepare the roads for yourself and divide for the way to peace with Cities of Refuge” (May 02)

  1. Very helpful. As America struggles with an invasion of quasi-refugees, many of them felons from foreign lands, these rules for refugees show God’s heart for man but also His strict guidance against sinful motives and deeds.

    Liked by 1 person

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