Thursday, June 24, 2010


The Israelites are on the border of the promised land and Moses is giving them some final instructions before they are allowed to enter. (Kind of like those last minute warnings parents give before they take their kids inside an amusement park... "If you hit your brother, we're going home. If I hear you whine or complain about one single thing, we'll get right back in this car. Don't even THINK about pulling Mickey's tail this year!". They're instructions were called Deuteronomy.)

Included in these instructions were three special cities. These places were to be marked off and set aside as safe havens for a particular group of people. Can you guess who? Yep, you got it. Killers.

If you were careless or slipped up in some dangerous activity and killed your next-door neighbor, you could pack your bags and head out to one of these three cities where you would be safe from vengeful friends and relatives.

It is a crazy kind of justice. One where God protects those who don't know any better. How crazy is that? It makes no sense. What about the victims? Where's their justice? Where's their peace?

There are a couple of things God is showing us here. He loves us even when we make mistakes. And in extension of this, should love others even when they are off course. Who are we to judge someone's sins? How can they know they're sinning if they don't understand the same moral code?

Motive matters. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus begins several statements with, "You've heard it said, but I tell you..." He's not rewriting or changing the law, he's getting to the motive. An accidental killer deserves a reprieve. Someone who's heart is filled with hate for his brother...

Confused, shaken people need sanctuary. They need a place that is free of condemnation to find their footing, recuperate and figure out how to fix things. God gives a command to set up three cities (and eventually three more) before his people enter the promised land. How many cities of refuge are we building? Are we providing sanctuary?

Location:Columbia Pkwy,Cincinnati,United States

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