Read Numbers 34 -- 36
In Today 's Reading:
Dividing the land of Canaan; inheritance of the Levites
Unlike the other tribes, the tribe of Levi, which included the priests, did not have a separate inheritance in the land. They were to depend on the people's tithes, as God had commanded. Forty-eight cities and pasturelands scattered throughout the other tribes were assigned to them as permanent residences (Joshua 21:1-42). Of their 48 cities, six were assigned as cities of refuge, which were easily accessible throughout the 12 tribes. For those suspected of manslaughter, these cities were vitally important as places of safety until a trial could determine their guilt or innocence (Numbers 35:11).
Our Creator demands that, when anyone strikes a person dead (intentionally), the murderer is to be murdered (executed) upon the word of witnesses. However, a lone witness is not sufficient testimony against a person to put him to death. Do not accept a ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of a capital crime. He must surely be put to death. . . . Do not defile the land you are in, because blood defiles the land and because for the land there can be no atonement from the blood that is shed in it except by the blood of the person who shed it (35:30-31,33).
When it was proven to the satisfaction of the congregation that the accused person was guilty of murder, he had to be put to death, regardless of age or whether it was a man or a woman. There was to be no consideration of being sentenced to time in prison, the possibility of parole, rehabilitation, or any kind of financial settlement.
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 order, the welfare of our society, and, most importantly, the approval of God. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying (Revelation 22:14-15).
By the city of refuge (Numbers 35). Christ is our Refuge from the judgment of God and the curse of the law (Philippians 3:9; Hebrews 6:18). As the inheritance of the children of Israel (Numbers 36:7). While they were given an inheritance of the land that will pass away, we have been given a greater inheritance, one that will not pass away. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you (I Peter 1:3-4).
Government Officials: Rep. Martin Sabo (MN) · Country: Senegal (10 million) in western Africa · Major language: French · Religious freedom · 92% Muslim; 4% animism and ancestor worship; 3% Roman Catholic; .1% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Cry out to God daily for mercy (Psalms 86:3).
Optional Reading: Luke 15
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:11