City of Refuge

You shall give three cities beyond the Jordan, and three cities in the land of Canaan, to be cities of refuge. These six cities shall be for refuge for the people of Israel, and for the stranger and for the sojourner among them, that anyone who kills any person without intent may flee there.   Numbers 35:14-15

When the Promised Land was apportioned out for the Israelites, the Lord instructed that six towns be set aside as “cities of refuge.”  These were special cities in which a person could take refuge if they were guilty of manslaughter — killing a person without intent.

He also set aside 48 towns for the Levites, since they did not receive their own portion of land but served as His priests and caretakers of the temple. The interesting thing is that six of these 48 towns given to the Levites were also the six cities of refuge.

This means that the priests were living side-by-side with accused murderers.  Both kinds of people made their home within the city of refuge.

What a picture of God’s grace!  Within His grace, His refuge, priest and accused are the same — we are all residents within His refuge.  We are all covered by His blood.

So the question remains whether I will choose to live in that grace as a priest or as an accused sinner.

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