Deuteronomy 19:3–5: “You shall prepare roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, that any manslayer may flee there. And this is the case of the manslayer who flees there, that he may live: Whoever kills his neighbor unintentionally, not having hated him in time past—as when a man goes to the woods with his neighbor to cut timber, and his hand swings a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies—he shall flee to one of these cities and live.”

December 3rd, 2019 by Pastor Ed in devotional

The 6 cities of refuge are named in Joshua 20:7–9. There were 3 on the west side of the Jordan River and 3 on the east side. All 6 were Levitical cities from among the 48 cities set aside for the tribe of Levi, according to Numbers 35:6–8. They were not places to escape justice, but rather places where justice was upheld. Safe places set aside where someone who had accidentally killed another person could flee to escape the vengeance of outraged relatives or friends. Once there, they could safely await a fair trial by the city elders, determining their guilt or innocence.

These cities of refuge are a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ. Just as the manslayer, in danger of losing his life, could run to the city of refuge and hide safely; so the sinner in danger of eternal punishment can flee to Jesus Christ and find safety. As Paul the Apostle wrote in Colossians, “your life is hid with Christ in God” (3:3). Jesus is like a city of refuge that goes out seeking the weary and broken wherever they are. He shines out like a brightly-lit city in the darkness of sin where there is no light. His gates are always opened wide, waiting to provide shelter for all who run in.

Is there an adversary closing in on you, nipping at your heals? Are you desperately searching for a safe shelter from your enemies? No one needs to look any farther than Jesus, the city of refuge who already waits for us. We can flee into His gates with gratitude because our case has already been decided. The verdict is in and we have been found innocent because of the blood of the Lamb of God, who came to take away the sins of the world. There is no difficult journey required; we need only run into the waiting arms of our Savior.

“LORD, we run again into the safety of Your presence. Thank You for forgiving our sins again this day.”