Cities of Refuge (Joshua 20:2)
Joshua 20:2, Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses:
Years before the Israelites ever crossed the Jordan River to enter the promised land, God had instructed His people to make special provision for the person who committed accidental murder. He also charged His people to make special provision for the ministers of God. The six cities of refuge (Joshua 20:1-9), which Joshua appointed in the land of Canaan, were types of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even their names represent Him.
1. Kedesh means ‘holy’.
Christ is the holy one, both as God and as man. Being the holy God-man, He is abundantly qualified to be our Mediator, Saviour and Redeemer. Christ is made of God unto us righteousness and holiness, justification and sanctification (Psalm 16:10; Hebrews 7:26; I Corinthians 1:30).
2. Shechem means ‘the shoulder’.
Christ carried the enormous load of our sin upon the cross and put it away (Isaiah 53:6.) The government of the world in general, and of His church in particular, is upon His shoulder (Isaiah 9:6). And in conversion, He finds His lost sheep, lays it upon His shoulder and carries it home (Luke 15:4).
3. Hebron means ‘fellowship’.
Christ seeks continual fellowship with us. ‘…truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ’ (I John 1:3). In Christ we have access to and fellowship with God, and shall have uninterrupted communion with Him in heaven’s eternal glory (I Corinthians 1:9; Ephesians 2:18; John 17:24).
4. Bezer means ‘a fortified place’.
Christ is our refuge. What confidence the child of God can have knowing we are sheltered in the Lord’s care and protection! “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”’ (Psalm 91:2) “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10) Christ is the fortress and defense of His people, the stronghold in which the prisoners of hope are secured.
5. Ramoth means ‘exalted’.
Christ is our exalted Saviour. “…God also hath highly exalted him…” (Philippians 2:9) Christ is the one by whom we have been exalted from our low estate to sit among princes and to inherit the throne of glory (Ephesians 2:4-7). And Christ is the one we exalt, honor and magnify (Revelation 5:9-10).
6. Golan means ‘revealed’, or ‘manifested’.
Christ is God manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16). He is the one revealed to us, to whom we are called and by whom we are saved (Galatians 1:15-16). In Christ the glory of God is revealed (II Corinthians 4:6). And that revelation of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ is salvation.
Jesus Christ is our refuge, our protection from sin, death, and judgment to come. Scripture says that we have strong consolation because we "have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us" (Hebrews 6:18). Just as the murderer is guilty before God, so we are guilty of sin. But when we flee to Christ, we are accepted by Him and find refuge in His righteousness. Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Being found "in Christ" means that Christ is our sanctuary, our refuge from death and the coming judgment of God. If a person is to escape death and judgment, he must flee to Christ. Christ alone has been appointed by God to give refuge and safety from death and judgment.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, there are many times I have failed to flee to You when faced with the overwhelming circumstances of life, but I pray that from this day forward, I would live in total dependence on You. As I have trusted You with my soul, help me to live my life with complete dependence on You. In Jesus name, AMEN.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.