The Law a Refuge

Numbers 35

In Numbers 35 we read that when the nation comes into the Promised Land that six cities were to be set aside for the Levites as cities of refuge. These cities were a safe place for a person to run to if he had caused the death of another person whether it was murder or accidental.  When the person arrived in the city he was to be given a trial to determine if the death was accidental or if the person had committed murder. If it was determined that the death was accidental the person who committed the death was allowed to live in the city until the death of the High Priest. He was not to leave the city. If he did then the avenger of death could kill the person if he was found outside the city before the death of the high priest. If at the trial it was determined that the person did in fact commit murder then the person was handed over to the avenger of death.

The avenger of death was a man appointed by the victim’s family to avenge the death of the family member. It was more of an emotional response rather than true justice for if a person accidently killed another person he was treated as if he committed murder. Verse 31 indicates that a murderer could bribe the avenger of death if he had enough money by paying a ransom for his life resulting in a murderer going free. This was the way of the world at the time.

By establishing these cities of refuge God was bringing mercy and true justice to the world through the law. God does give guide lines to help determine if there was a murder committed or if the death was accidental but the most important guide is found in verse 30, “If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death at the evidence of witnesses, but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of just one witness.” NASB

 It is easy to get caught up in the emotion of an incident, and not just murder or death. In our culture today many arguments for or against an issue play to the emotions and the facts are overlooked. When we make a decision regarding what we hear or read we are making a judgment.  If we are going to make a judgment it is important that we make our judgment based on fact and not emotion. It is also important that we have a standard to go by and I believe that standard is the Word of God, but here is my fear. I have been a pastor for years now and I find very few people who actually have read, and more importantly, studied the Bible. I have found that much of the time the Bible people quote is what they have heard or read somewhere but is often corrupted by worldliness and the present culture. This is why I encourage reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. When one is done with Revelation then I recommend that they turn to Genesis and read the Bible again and take notes along the way. The Bible has stood the test of time. Man’s ideas come and go like sand dunes in the wind but the truth contained in the Bible is like a rock that remains generation after generation. You can’t go wrong reading the Word of God. You can’t go wrong following the Word of God.

Read and heed the Bible

Pastor Dave