Dream word – REFUGE
“Lest innocent blood be shed in the midst of your land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and thus guilt of bloodshed be upon you. “But if anyone hates his neighbour, lies in wait for him, rises against him and strikes him mortally, so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities, then the elders of his city shall send and bring him from there, and deliver him over to the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with you.” NKJV
Refuge! Refuge! Refuge!
Blood. From Genesis onwards, from the time Cain slew able, when “innocent” blood was first spilt upon the ground, the outraged haemoglobin began and continues to burn, like a red emergency flare shot up into the very centre of the pupils of God! You see, God always has His attention drawn to the spilling of innocent blood, for blood is the emblem and carrier of a person’s life and innocent blood, stains the land upon which it is spilt. Heaven looks down upon it like a spreading purple wine stain on the green carpet of life. I wonder if there is left just one clean spot on the planet, you know, a place where this staining scream of innocent blood has not spread its burning arms to heaven? The problem with this kind of red and noisy, power packed pollution, this shedding of innocent blood, is that is causes a consequential reaction in the God of justice, for when the land is polluted, it calls forth His furious anger upon it. Only retribution can expiate such innocent blood, whose rich red flare burns in the watching eye ball of the Almighty. Spilt blood demands a clean up operation of almost catastrophic proportions and that my friends holds a very expensive price tag.
Only when punishment falls upon the originator of the offence or their substitute, can the puss of this pollution be pierced our from the putrid boil, thus allowing the land to be healed of its hideous infection. Yes, when retribution is visited upon the offender, then and only then, can reconciliation with God occur. Did you get that? It is God, who is ultimately alerted and offended at the shedding of innocent blood! It is God that has to be propitiated. It is God, that is thoroughly satisfied with the retribution being poured either upon the head of the offended or their innocent substitute. You might be offended here because you have forgotten that deeper law, that which “is written in letters deep as a spear is long on the fire-stones on the Secret Hill? That is engraved on the sceptre of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea?” – that speaks of a reckoning of the earth for all the innocent blood which has been shed causing the whole land to be overturned and perish in fire and water. It is as though God has made a silent covenant with the planet that allows the blood and the red stained earth to continually scream, until all the innocent blood shed upon its soil is finally expiated. Quieted. Yes, think not that this bright blue orb of ours hangs silently in the cold blackness of space, no, the earth weeps profusely, the dirge duet of an offended earth and innocent blood, joining her morning wanderings as she wanders lost amongst the stars and all the waiting watchers hear her broken heart. Selah.
Yet the ears of all the living have been plugged by Satan and his sick society of selfishness and death. For our nations are awash with the spilt blood of the innocent. For blood by the bucket loads, full of abortions, the off scouring of Satanic selfishness, thrown like old offal into the pigsty of pride, have spattered the walls of God’s universe with red and caused the very stars to stink! Yes, space is not silent, but full of the shrieks of crying babies, ripped from the womb, limb by limb, salted to death, millions upon millions of them united in life robbed anger, with all their crying accusations and shouts for vengeance, continuing to echo through the aeons, all being amplified through the red and sodden soil, of sad and singing, shocked and reeling, offended mother earth.
Our verse tonight finds itself in the context of the three major Levitical cities of refuge. At least one would be within a days journey of anywhere within Israel, the roads of refuge built to them straight and true and maintained and kept clear each spring. Indeed, when signs were needed, some say that over every bridge that crossed a ravine, that they would read very simply: refuge, refuge, refuge.
These cities of refuge, were built primarily as a place of protection for those folk guilty of manslaughter. Here they would stay, the city becoming for them an open prison, where they would be protected from the tribal avenger of blood, until either they were acquitted by their trial, or the death of the High Priest instigated their immediate release. Yes, the Holiness of the Office of High Priest, even then, meant their death was enough to cleanse the land of innocent blood and pronounce the guilty free to go.
Manslayers made it to the city of refuge. Murderers never did. This capital crime was dealt with by the avenger of blood out in the field, or by the Levitical court held at the city gate.
Christ however, makes no such distinction. For the great and ever holy, glorious and gracious High Priest of the universe, is become a city of refuge for both the manslayer and the murderer! His death cleanses all. His life justifies both the weakest and the worst. Yes, all roads of the Gospel lead to His overwhelming forgiveness and each turn, bridge and crossroads is marked with these three lit and neon words: refuge, refuge, refuge.
If you are a murdering mother tonight or a complicit father, then I beg you to flee to Jesus, for the land cries against you, no, not only that, the very voice of the children you have murdered cries out against you and seeks the judgement of God upon your very wicked heads. Flee to Jesus now and let Him your refuge be.
Listen: “And this is the case of the manslayer who flees there, that he may live” - Deuteronomy 19:4 NKJV.
Pray: Lord, the land cries out against us. O God stay your hand that Your people might have the time to proclaim Your city Jesus, as the great and only refuge of the sinner, even a sinner like me. Be satisfied with the blood of the great High priest, who we take now as our Saviour and who He takes even now as His blood bought children. So in Your anger remember mercy, and in your great and rich red grace, justify both the manslayer and the murderer together. We ask You this in Jesus name, amen.
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