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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

2019.03.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 20

Read Joshua 20
Questions for Littles: Who spoke in Joshua 20:1? To whom? And to whom did He tell him to speak (Joshua 20:2)? What did He tell him to tell them to appoint? Through whom had He said this before? What kind of slayer/killer could flee there (Joshua 20:3)? From whom would this be a refuge for him? Where would he stand when he flees to one of those cities (Joshua 20:4)? To whom would he declare his case? What would the elders of the city do if they agree with his case? When the avenger of blood arrives, what will the elders of the city do (Joshua 20:5)? How does verse 5 define manslaughter? What additional trial was he to have according to Joshua 20:6 (cf. end of Joshua 20:9)? And upon whose death could he return to his own city and his own house? Which cities were appointed in which tribes, in Joshua 20:7-8? Who had access to these cities of refuge (Joshua 20:9)?
In this week’s Old Testament reading, we read about the cities of refuge for someone who is not guilty of murder, but has accidentally killed someone. The deceased person’s relative has a duty to go and get vengeance, and so the manslayer needs a place to go where he can hide from vengeance. Finally, there is the death of the High Priest, which releases even the need for finding refuge. All three of these are a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ unto us.

First, Christ is our place of refuge. What’s wonderful about this is the many ways in which He is better than one of the cities in Joshua 20. He is a refuge for any sin and not just involuntary manslaughter. He is a refuge, even if we are guilty—which is important, because we are so frequently guilty! He is a refuge who is available everywhere, and who doesn’t take any time at all to get to—just imagine how important your cross-country running times would be if you ended up in one of these situations! Finally, He is a perfect judge and perfect defender. How very much, for the manslayer would depend upon the elders and congregation of the city to which he fled.

Second, Christ is our High Priest. He has already died, once for all. This is one of many reasons that the Mosaic civil law cannot still be in effect. It is directly tied to the ceremonial law, which has been replaced by Christ. And Christ, having already died, does accomplish not the same thing, but something better. When the High Priest died, the time for vengeance on the manslayer expired. So in Christ, we do not merely have a refuge in Whom we may hide from wrath; but we have the expiration of vengeance altogether. Indeed, the Lord Jesus does something that no other High Priest ever did. He rose again. So in Him, we have not only the expiration of wrath, but the desert of blessedness. No longer are we separated from home and inheritance; rather, we are now joint-heirs with Him in Whom everywhere is our home and rightful inheritance!

Third, Christ is our own avenger of blood. He is our close relative. He considers it a duty to get complete vengeance for whatever has been done to us. But again, He is so much better. There is nowhere our persecutors or enemies can flee from Him. Even if it should cost Jesus to suffer the full wrath of God Himself, He will make sure that all that is done against us is fully repaid.
Have you fled to Christ? Have you become a joint-inheritor with Him? In what situations do you need to hear that He will avenge all wrongs against you?
Suggested songs: ARP32 “What Blessedness” or TPH274 “Jesus, My Great High Priest”

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