Let’s suppose a young Israelite in his early 20s was chopping wood for the evening fire, and in his carelessness the ax flew out of his hand, killing a friend instantly. The father and brothers of the slain boy had a right to avenge the death of their beloved family member.
Security in an Insecure World
By Mark A. Finley
Let’s suppose a young Israelite in his early 20s was chopping wood for the evening fire, and in his carelessness the ax flew out of his hand, killing a friend instantly. The father and brothers of the slain boy had a right to avenge the death of their beloved family member. Murder was a crime punishable by death in ancient Israel.
But God made special provisions for accidental killings. Throughout Israel, on either side of the Jordan River, there were six cities of refuge (Num. 35:9-17). These cities were within a half day’s journey of the entire nation. The roads to each one of them were well kept and clearly marked with the word “refuge.”
In this month’s Bible lesson we will discover some amazing truths about these cities and also discover God’s eternal city of refuge for each one of us.
1. What was the purpose of these cities of refuge? Read Joshua 20:1-3.
2. What kind of acceptance did someone who was condemned find in these cities? Read Joshua 20:4.
In my imagination I see a man racing toward the gates of one of these cities. He is rapidly pursued by avengers. Panting furiously, his strength spent, he races to the gates of the city and, sobbing, presents his case to the elders of the city. The gates are open wide, and he is welcomed into that city as if he had been born there. He is accepted as a son of the soil. He is embraced as a long-lost child. These cities of refuge speak to us of a larger biblical truth.
3. Read Psalm 46:1; 62:8; 71:7. Whom did the psalmist David declare to be our everlasting refuge?
4. Read Hebrews 6:17-20. Where can we find refuge, security, and hope today in the stresses, worries, and anxieties of life?
Chased by anxiety, pursued by fear, harassed by guilt, and consumed with worry, we can by faith flee for refuge into the welcoming arms of our Savior in heaven’s sanctuary.
This passage in Hebrews mentions two “immutable” changeless things: God’s eternal covenant and His everlasting purpose. God will never break His covenant or alter His eternal purpose. In Him we are secure.
5. What divine invitation do we find in Hebrews 4:14-16?
The word “boldly” in verse 16 can also be translated confidently. Jesus invites us to confidently come to His sanctuary, a city of refuge for all of our anxieties. At the sanctuary we are welcomed into the security of His warm embrace.
6. As we come to heaven’s sanctuary—its city of refuge—what promise does our Lord graciously give us? Find this promise in Hebrews 7:25.
Jesus, our crucified Savior, is now our living high priest, ministering on our behalf in heaven’s sanctuary. He is able—fully able—to save all who come to Him in faith, and He invites us to come.
7. Where does all of heaven invite us to look continually, so that our hearts will daily be filled with joy? Read Hebrews 12:1, 2.
Where we look makes all the difference in our Christian lives. If we dwell on our past, we will often be filled with a sense of failure. If we look within our own hearts, we will often be filled with a sense of inadequacy. If we are overly concerned about the future, we may be filled with a sense of worry. Looking to Jesus in heaven’s eternal sanctuary, we discover our true sense of peace. By faith we rest in His love in heaven’s city of refuge. In His arms we are secure, now and forever.