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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - June 26, 2008

  • 2008 Jun 26
  • COMMENTS
 

Christ: Our Life-Long Refuge

Hebrews 6:17-20 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Let’s look at Joshua 20 again: "And they [assigned] Kedesh in Galilee in Mount Naphtali, and Shechem in Mount Ephraim, and Kirjath-arba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah. And on the other side [of the] 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. These were the cities assigned for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger who sojourneth among them, that whosoever killeth any person without intent might flee the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation." (Joshua 20:7-9)

  • KEDESH is not only a city name it also means a "holy place" or “righteousness”.
  • SHECHEM is not only a city name it also means “shoulder”.
  • HEBRON is not only a city name it also means “fellowship”.
  • BEZER is not only a city name it also means a "stronghold" or “fortress”
  • RAMOTH is not only a city name it also means "exalted" or “heights”
  • GOLAN is not only a city name it also means "separated."

Christ is Also Portrayed As Our Lifelong Refuge

To see the adequacy of Jesus Christ to meet our every need, consider the names of the cities. These six cities of refuge all point to Him, and enable us to sing with a restful, joyful heart, "God is our refuge and our strength."[1]

1. KEDESH means a "holy place" or “righteousness,” and this is our first need. When we come to Christ, He gives us His righteousness and forgives all our sins (2 Cor 5:21, Col. 2:13). Here was the refuge for the unclean. The holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only hope of the sinful. Only that which is clean can cleanse. The unrighteous can only find refuge in the righteousness of God. The finished work on the accursed tree affords a holy hiding-place, for only there are the unclean made holy. To that blest fountain of Thy blood, Incarnate God, I fly. There let me wash my spotted soul, From crimes of deepest dye. In wonder lost, with trembling joy We take the pardon of our God; Pardon for crimes of deepest dye, A pardon bought with Jesus' blood: Who is a pardoning God like thee? Or who has grace so rich and free?

So Jesus is the refuge for the unclean. There is no sin He can’t forgive; there is no stain He can’t remove; there is no failure He can’t forget. Remember this week these words from Christ's lips:

Mark 1:40-41 Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him,  “I am willing; be cleansed.”

2. SHECHEM means “shoulder,” and suggests that we find in Christ a resting place, a friend on whom we can lay our burdens. “Can I hold out?” is always the question a new believer asks. The answer is, “He will hold you!” Here was the refuge for the weary.  (Matt. 11:28; Luke 15:5) The Lord Jesus is the strong Savior. Most believers have found that they can find no rest in ruling themselves. But when faith comes, we lean not only on His merit, but also on His almightiness. A tired child finds refuge on the shoulder of its loving father. And the Lord Jesus has borne our burden upon His shoulder, even as the lost sheep found both safety and rest upon the shepherd's shoulders.

So Jesus is the refuge for the weary.  There is no sheep of His pasture that He doesn’t invite to find rest in Him. He seeks us, finds us, and offers to us His perfect rest. Remember this week these words from Christ's lips:

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

3. HEBRON means “fellowship,” suggesting our fellowship with God in Christ, and also our fellowship with other believers. You can have a house and not a home. But if you have a home you can be at home anywhere even if you have no house. Home is where you relax in the company of those you love and trust. So the Lord Jesus is the refuge for those who are alone and feel homeless. Like Noah's dove, man is spiritually a homeless wanderer. There was no rest, no safety, and no fellowship outside of that ark. The repentant homeless prodigal found a refuge in his father's house and in his father's fellowship. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only real Hebron for the soul. There is no fellowship with the Father except through Him, truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." (I John 1:3)

So Jesus is the refuge for the homeless..  Jesus promised to always be with us. He leads us through life, meets us at death, carries us to our eternal home, and is with us (Emmanuel) forever. Remember this week these words from Christ's lips:

  •  Matthew 28:20b “ and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”

4. BEZER means "stronghold" or “fortress,” suggesting the protection and victory we have in Christ. The safest place in the world is in the will of God.  Jesus Christ is the refuge for the helpless. We are not only sinners, but we are also helplessly sinful. In the case of the one guilty of second-degree murder, there was to be no such thing as self-protection. And so it is with us sinners. We are "without strength." "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." (Prov. 18: 10) When we flee from the justice of God into the mercy of God, we will find a stronghold that can never give way. No matter how helpless, here you are eternally safe. The Lord Jesus is the only Bezer. Any other hiding places will fail us, and fall like the walls of Jericho.

So Jesus is the refuge for the helpless. When we are weak He is strong; when we reach the end of all we are—He has just begun. Remember this week these words from Christ's lips:

  • Matthew 14:27-33 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

5. RAMOTH means "exalted" or “heights” and reminds us that believers are seated “together in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 2:4-10). Sin always leads a person down, but Christ lifts us up; and one day we shall be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air! And so our Lord is the refuge for the hopeless. By nature we are not only without strength, but also without hope in the world.(Eph. 2:12) Those who hope in this world system of politics and religion have no hope. The Lord Jesus is our hope, exalted at the Father's right hand, with a name which is above every name, high and lifted up. He is our Ramoth. When you are downcast, and feeling yourself hopeless in this world, look up. During Noah's flood, there was no mountain that could save. Only those who were lifted up by the ark were saved. Jesus Christ is the Ark of our hope and eternal security.

So Jesus is the refuge for the hopeless. When life is dark, no hope is in sight, and we don’t know where to turn Jesus reminds us—when there is no answer to all our problems, there is still Jesus. Remember this week these words from Christ's lips:

  • Mark 2:3-5 Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. 4 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic,  “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”

6. GOLAN means "separated." God has appointed His Son to be the refuge for those who are tempted. We are usually tempted much by the world when we tamper much with the world. We have not fled to the Lord Jesus as our city of separation. He separated Himself for our sakes-for He was separate from sinners-that He might aid those who are tempted. Golan is the last of the six cities which are mentioned. Most of us would have to confess that separation from worldly ambition, worldly pleasures, and worldly fame is just about the last refuge which we seek. 1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

So Jesus is the refuge for those who are tempted. Jesus knows our frame that we are dust. He is acquainted with all of our struggles and weaknesses. Remember this week these words from Christ's lips:

  • John 8:10-11 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her,  “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

(Romans 7; Psalm 32 and David; James 1:13-14)

Do you see--Christ is better because He is nearer than any city of refuge.  Christ is better because He offers only Permanent Refuge. And, Christ is better because He died only for the guilty.

 

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit  discoverthebook.org.

 

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