Read Numbers 34
The "Master Map Maker" lays out the boundaries of the land He gave His people after they fought to conquer it. He provides for those dedicated to His service. God reveals how to deal with manslaughter and murder.
God provided cities of refuge to protect those who had unintentionally killed someone. Among the cities which ye shall give unto the Levites there shall be six cities for refuge, which ye shall appoint for the manslayer (Num. 35:6).
Even if the act was proven to be accidental, the manslayer was to remain in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest. As long as he was there, he was protected from the avenger (the nearest male relative of the victim). But if he left the city before the high priest died, the avenger could legally put him to death. The death of the high priest "atoned" for the manslayer and pictured Christ's death to atone for our sins. The manslayer could then leave as a free person with no fear of being put to death.
However, if the incident was proven to be deliberate murder, the murderer shall be put to death. . . . ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death. . . . so ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit (35:30-34). There was to be no consideration of time in prison, the possibility of reform, or a financial settlement. The guilty person was immediately delivered to the avenger of blood to be put to death. God said that to spare the life of a guilty murderer would defile the nation, for the murderer not only had destroyed one who was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27), but he also had intentionally taken from God His authority over that life.
Murder does not mean the taking of another's life in self-defense or in time of war. The Lord often commanded the Israelites to defend their country and themselves, and directed them to bring judgment on ungodly nations through war.
In the New Testament, Christ revealed that hate and anger are sinful since they often lead to murder (Matt. 5:21-22). God expects more from His followers, who have been saved by the blood of His Son, than merely refraining from murder. God demands the highest respect for human life, for man was created in His image.He commanded: Love one another; as I have loved you (John 13:34).
Thought for Today:
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows (Luke 12:7).
By the cities of refuge. Christ is our Refuge from the judgment of God and the curse of the Law. We . . . have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the Hope set before us . . . even Jesus (Heb. 6:18,20).
34:5 fetch a compass take a turn, goings out and; 35:15 unawares unintentionally; 35:26 come without go outside; 36:4 jubile refers to every fiftieth year, when all debts were canceled (Lev. 25:10-12,28).
Pray for Staff: Ilene Wallace • Bible Pathway Printer: Ambrose Printing Staff, Nashville TN • Government Officials: (28) Sec. Steven Chu (Dept. of Energy), Gov. Togiola Tulafono (American Samoa), and (29) Rep. Bart Stupak (MI) • Country: United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, & Wales) (59.4 million) off the coast of western Europe • Major languages: English and Welsh • Religious freedom • 55% Anglican; 16% Catholic; 6% Other Protestant; 2% Muslim; .9% Sikh; .8% Hindu; .6% Jewish; .2% Buddhist; 10.5% Other; 5% Unaffiliated • Prayer Suggestion: Pray diligently with other believers and God will answer (Acts 12:5-10).
Optional Reading: Luke 15
Memory Verse for the Week: Exodus 20