Confessions of a Church: City of Refuge

 The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Deuteronomy 19:1-12 “When the Lord your God cuts off the nations, whose land the Lord your God gives you, and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and in their houses, 2 you shall set aside three cities for yourself in the midst of your land, which the Lord your God gives you to possess. 3 You shall prepare the roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the Lord your God will give you as a possession, so that any manslayer may flee there. 4 “Now this is the case of the manslayer who may flee there and live: when he kills his friend unintentionally, not hating him previously— 5 as when a man goes into the forest with his friend to cut wood, and his hand swings the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron head slips off the handle and strikes his friend so that he dies—he may flee to one of these cities and live; 6 otherwise the avenger of blood might pursue the manslayer in the heat of his anger, and overtake him, because the way is long, and take his life, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated him previously. 7 Therefore, I command you, saying, ‘You shall set aside three cities for yourself.’ 8 “If the Lord your God enlarges your territory, just as He has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land which He promised to give your fathers— 9 if you carefully observe all this commandment which I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in His ways always—then you shall add three more cities for yourself, besides these three. 10 So innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, and bloodguiltiness be on you. 11 “But if there is a man who hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and rises up against him and strikes him so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities, 12 then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. 13 You
shall not pity him, but you shall purge the blood of the innocent from Israel, that it may go well with you.

This is the word of the Lord.
This Last week I was building my mom and dad a deck. There was a concrete step in the way so I started breaking it up with a sledge hammer. After a few good Mark McGuire swings the head of the hammer went flying across the yard. I told my dad that I was going to be speaking on this Sunday. He said “ are you going to make it float?” (Wrong passage) I said no but somebodys going to pay if I get injured. I called my brother Inlaw to warn him and he said “ yeah I know it flew off and hit me in the leg...what would have happened if it had killed somebody?

What kind of provisions have you made so that no one gets hurt at your place. And if they do what are you going to do about it? Notice the scriptures don’t say that if you obey my commandments the ax head will always stay in place. And it doesn’t say the innocent can carry on as if nothing happened. “I didn’t mean to.” Therefore I’m innocent of any type of restitution. And I’m certainly not going to fill out a police report.


What are we talking about? Sizing up your neighbor or isolating yourself from others?
It might mean don’t ever swing an axe around your buddy or how about instead of buying that new motorcycle with your children's inheritance or the two week all inclusive Tahiti vacation package, you buy the insurance policy that covers the giant tree hanging over your neighbors playground. Or maybe fence in the pet alligator.

The point is to plan for the future. Love your neighbor and delay your gratification until after you’ve built the city of refuge.


Did you see verse 3?
“You shall prepare the roads for yourself"

This Carries the idea that instead of building your luxury suite right away, you take time out to prepare for something that you don’t intend to happen. Like an accident.

God knows our heart. And He knows that when we are sinned against nothing less than swift justice is acceptable. But when we are the defendant. Slow down and let’s not be to hasty. After all patience and long suffering is the fruit of the spirit right? The cities for the individual fleeing the avenger of blood is actually a sign of growth and a sign of maturity. We need government.

If you’re able please kneel as we confess our sins to a just and holy God.


Our Father, we think we have our self government so disciplined that we don’t need anything or anyone telling us what to do. And we want to spend our resources on our current wants and desires. We would rather spend our time and energy on our immediate plans. Please forgive our rebellion and give us clean hearts that love our neighbors as ourselves. It’s in Jesus name we pray Amen.


Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to his church:

John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

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