Read Numbers 34
Without hesitation, the "Master MapMaker" lays out the boundaries of the land that He gave His people. Look how He provides for those who dedicate their lives to His service. Be sure to read how God deals with manslaughter in these two chapters.
These are they whom the Lord commanded to divide the inheritance unto the children of Israel in the land of Canaan (Num. 34:29).
And among the cities which ye shall give unto the Levites there shall be six cities for refuge, which ye shall appoint for the manslayer (35:6). God provided cities of refuge to protect those who had unintentionally committed manslaughter until they could have a fair trial. If the manslayer could escape to one of these cities, he would be safe until the legal investigation had taken place.
If the crime was proven to be deliberate murder, the guilty person was handed over to the avenger. If the crime was justifiable or accidental homicide, he had to remain in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest. If he left the city before the death of the high priest, he could legally be put to death.
The laws of God demand the highest respect for human life. To spare the life of a guilty murderer would defile the nation, for a murderer has destroyed one for whom Christ died and has ruthlessly and forcefully taken from God His authority over every life. Therefore, the murderer shall surely be put to death (35:16).
Without a doubt, the prosecution and execution of criminals is an exceedingly painful situation that everyone would prefer to avoid; yet it is necessary to maintain justice and the welfare of our society for a criminal court. To ignore the Word of God and allow murderers to live is to defile the nation.
But Christ went beyond the old Law and gave a new Law of love. He expects us to love others even as He loves us (John 13:34). Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca (a term of contempt, such as, "you empty-headed idiot"), shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire (Matt. 5:21-22). Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him (I John 3:15).
Thought for Today:
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6:23).
By the cities of refuge (Num. 35:6). 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).
34:3 Salt Sea, Dead Sea; 34:5 fetch a compass, take a turn toward; 34:5 goings out, end; 34:6 Great Sea, Mediterranean Sea; 34:8 goings forth, boundary; 34:11 Chin'ne-reth, Galilee; 35:2 suburbs, open land; 35:11 unawares, unintentionally; 35:15 stranger, foreigner; sojourner, one who lived temporarily; 35:16 smite, strike; 35:20 thrust, maliciously shove; 35:26 come without, goes beyond; 35:31 satisfaction, ransom.
Pray for Staff: Ilene Wallace • Government Officials: Sec. Steven Chu (Dept. of Energy), and Gov. Togiola Tulafono (American Samoa) • Country: Swaziland (985,000) in southern Africa • Major languages: English and siSwati • Religious freedom • 67% Protestant; 19% animism, spirit-possession cults, and divination; 11% Roman Catholic; 3% Baha'i • Prayer Suggestion: Praise and thank the Lord that He can do exceedingly more than we ask or even think (Eph. 3:20).
Optional Reading: Luke 15
Memory Verse for the Week: Ephesians 3:20