MLToday: [Joshua Chapter Twenty]: Cities of Refuge. Is your church a place of loving acceptance or judgment and expectation? Are we as Christians to accept everything and everybody or is there a standard to maintain? Does everyone have the right to open and equal access to the things of God or does personal choice come in? What do we do with those who openly and belligerently sin and demand we approve of them and accept them into our number? What about the LGBT community? Are we bigots if we fail to acknowledge their place in our churches? We all have people in our lives who live in defiance of biblical concepts of holiness and purity. What is our response to be? What of ourselves? When we are judged and rejected by other Christians what is our response to be?

Today: [Joshua Chapter Twenty]: Cities of Refuge. Is your church a place of loving acceptance or judgment and expectation? Are we as Christians to accept everything and everybody or is there a standard to maintain? Does everyone have the right to open and equal access to the things of God or does personal choice come in? What do we do with those who openly and belligerently sin and demand we approve of them and accept them into our number? What about the LGBT community? Are we bigots if we fail to acknowledge their place in our churches? We all have people in our lives who live in defiance of biblical concepts of holiness and purity. What is our response to be? What of ourselves? When we are judged and rejected by other Christians what is our response to be?

Today: [Joshua Chapter Twenty]

The chapter we study today is quite short which prompts a discussion of how the bible as we know it was divided into chapters and verses. In it’s current form the chapter divisions were originated by a 13th century bishop by the name of Stephen Langton. The verse divisions are attributed to Robert Stephens in 1550 who the story goes completed the task on horseback riding from Paris to Lyons. The first English bible divided into chapter and verse was the Geneva Bible in 1560. It must be pointed out that there is nothing inspired about the number of chapters or verses or in the division points between chapters and verses. Many writers suggest draw inspired conclusions based upon this but there is nothing God breathed about these divisions they simply facilitate reference specifications in the text.

[Jos 20:1-9 KJV] 1 The LORD also spake unto Joshua, saying, 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: 3 That the slayer that killeth [any] person unawares [and] unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood. 4 And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them. 5 And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime. 6 And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, [and] until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled. 7 And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjatharba, which [is] Hebron, in the mountain of Judah. 8 And on the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh. 9 These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them, that whosoever killeth [any] person at unawares might flee thither, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation.

The cities of refuge were places a person accused of wrongful death or murder could flee to escape the avenger of blood. Roads to these cities were marked with a sign that read “Refuge” and these roads were built at twice the regulation width to give the fugitive unhindered access in his flight. The elders were given responsibility to determine guilt or innocence when giving a fugitive refuge. In a way they functioned as an early form of penal institution as the accused could not leave the city for fear of death. This protection was only afforded those guilty of manslaughter and not what we would refer to as 2nd or 1st degree murder. These cities were held by the Levites who didn’t have any inheritance of land among the people. The connection with the priesthood made these communities sacred and suggest to us that they are a type of the city of God the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The cities of refuge were always centrally located and easily accessible perhaps suggesting the inspiration of Jesus in the gospel of Mark:

[Mat 5:14 KJV] 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

The idea of asylum in religious sanctuaries was not original with Hebrew culture. The right of sanctuary surfaces again during the reign of Solomon and subsequent kings when their enemies would flee to the temple and lay hold of the horns on the brazen altar claiming refuge. (In every case the soldiers entered the temple and slayed them on the spot).

Notice that when the high priest died the person was free to leave the city of refuge and was considered exonerated. This is a type of the atonement of Jesus our High Priest. He died for us and thereby exonerates us of our guilt. Note that they could not be punished and could leave the city without fear of reprisals. This speaks to the consequences of sin. Many times today you will hear someone say that God will forgive you but will not shield you from the consequences of your actions. This is contradicted in the chapter we study today. If God forgives but does not protect us from the consequences of sin then we would all still go to hell for our crimes against heaven. It is wrong to suggest that God will not intervene to lift off of you the brutal weight of consequences from your own wrongdoing and sin. It is contrary to the scriptural principle. Many people suffer and struggle with guilt and condemnation because of wrong thinking on this point.

There was an expectation of hospitality in these cities of refuge. A welcome was anticipated. It speaks to us of our own spiritual communities and churches as they should be. Unfortunately in Christian culture churches are often not hospitable to strangers and visitors. Offenders and those falling short of the local churches ideals are often shunned and made to feel uncomfortable or even turned out altogether. Compare that to the city of refuge as Jesus no doubt imagined it. We should as individuals and in our churches be prepared to show warmth and hospitality and forgiveness to those who come to us.

Apostle Don Matison who worked in the Jesus movement of the 60’s and 70’s tells the story of the long haired hippies giving their hearts to Jesus and the church members bringing the clippers to the altar to immediately cut their hair. This is typical of the harshness and inhospitality of Christian culture. On the other hand we cannot be so accepting that we make the error of the Corinthian church that Paul rebuked for priding itself of accepting a member who committed open and ongoing incest with his father’s wife.

[1Co 5:1-2 KJV] 1 It is reported commonly [that there is] fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

So where do we draw the line between loving acceptance and maintaining standards of purity and testimony? Paul goes on in the same chapter to establish the precedent:

[1Co 5:6-8 KJV] 6 Your glorying [is] not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth.

Leaven speaks of influence. If someone comes into our midst they may at first have very little influence. Consequently there may be things in their lives that are not godly even sinful by our standards. What do we do? The question is what is their influence? Are they influencing others or are the seeking to be influenced? In our culture newcomers react defensively and often demand that we accept them and in fact may demand special privileges and open acknowledgment of their lifestyle. We see this in the LGBT community that is demanding not only acceptance but institutional approval from even Evangelical churches. What are we to do?

[Gal 6:1 KJV] 1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

How do we restore such a one? By encouraging repentance. By what means? By the goodness of God which is the only path to true repentance:

[Rom 2:4 KJV] 4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

What if they belligerently refuse to repent?

[1Co 5:11-13 KJV] 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Belligerent and open sin is not to be tolerated. The idea of putting them away also suggests the idea of varying levels of access in Christian communities. Jesus had the 5000, the 70, the 12 and the 3 closest to him. This is repugnant to us because we who have been brought up in democracy think that everything must be fair, open and equal. That is not the case in scripture – yet in determining a basis of fellowship and relationship we must indeed hold forth a standard but also move in the fear of God “lest we also be tempted…”

NEW from Prophet Russ: Volume III The Father Says Today ***JUST PUBLISHED on Amazon*** – Click Here

Now Available as a Digital Download – 5 hours of Prophetic Soaking with Prophet Russ Walden and Grammy winning artist Dony Maguire – Click Here

The Next 50 Years: A Prophetic Perspective – in Paperback from Amazon.com – Click Here

ALSO – Enochian Walks with God from Amazon.com – Click Here

ALSO – Spiritual Meteorology: Understanding the 7 Spirits of God from Amazon.com – Click Here

ALSO – The Daily Prophetic Word in Paperback from Amazon.com – Click Here

Show your support for the Daily Prophetic Word::

With a One Time Donation:





Or You Can Partner with a a Monthly Donation



To Mail a Donation our Address is:
Father’s Heart Ministry
P.O. Box 1915
Branson, Missouri 65615

To Phone in a Donation or Speak to Contact Our Office: 417-593-9802

Leave a Reply