February 28, 2006

Read Numbers 34

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. It was 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 35:6-7,11,13).

Our Creator demands that whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness (accuser) shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction (ransom) 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 (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; and yet, it is necessary to maintain justice and order, the welfare of our society, and, most importantly, the approval of God. Blessed are they that do His Commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For outside are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie (Revelation 22:14-15).

Word Studies:

34:5 fetch a compass = take a turn toward, goings out = end; 35:15 unawares = unintentionally; 35:26 come without = go outside; ; 36:4 jubile = refers to every fiftieth year, when all debts were canceled (Leviticus 25:10-12,28).

Christ Revealed:

By the cities of refuge (Numbers 35). 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: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul . . . even Jesus (Hebrews 6:18-20). As the inheritance of the children of Israel (Numbers 36:7). Christ . . . In whom also we have obtained an inheritance (Ephesians 1:10-11).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Dr. & Mrs. John Hash · Staff: Rebecca Hooper · Government Officials: 28th Rep. Martin Sabo (MN) and Gov. Togiola Tulafono (American Samoa); 29th Rep. Bart Stupak (MI) · Country: Latvia (3 million) eastern coast of Baltic Sea in northeastern Europe · Major languages: Latvian and Russian · Religious freedom · 20% Protestant; 20% Roman Catholic; 15% Russian Orthodox; 1% Jewish · Prayer Suggestion: Keep your mind on the Lord and trust Him; He will give you peace (Isaiah 26:3).

Optional Reading: Luke 14

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 13:10