“Now tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed Moses.” - Joshua 20:2
God had told Moses to set aside six “cities of refuge” placed strategically throughout the land (Numbers 35:10-15). These cities belonged to the Levites, who were the guardians of the law. Refuge was offered to those who had caused accidental death (Joshua 20:3), not to those who had committed premeditated murder (Numbers 35:16-21). Once in the safe city, the man who had killed someone accidentally would stand trial by the community (Joshua 20:6). Those found innocent were given a place to live among the people there.
What a picture! There are things we do that we know are wrong, and there are sins we commit by accident. When this happens, God is our just judge. We may flee to him, for he has provided a “city of refuge” for us. Just before he died, Moses told Israel, “The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you” (Deuteronomy 33:27). Psalm 9:9 tells us “the Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” The prophet Nahum wrote, “The Lord is good. When trouble comes, he is a strong refuge” (Nahum 1:7).
Are you in trouble? Are you a victim of circumstances? Have you done something wrong by accident? Then flee to your “city of refuge.” God himself is that city, and God himself is your judge. Talk to him. He may want you to right a wrong, to settle a misunderstanding, or to simply wait patiently with him for the storm to pass.
For Further Study: Joshua 20:1-9
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
For more from Jill Briscoe, please visit tellingthetruth.org.