Intro: Canaan has been taken over and ruled over. Since the various tribes have received their inheritances, the conquest of the land is beginning to slow down. Joshua and the Israelites, on the other hand, have a lot of work to do. They are carrying out a command Moses was first given in Numbers 35:1-34 in this chapter. Six cities were to be designated as "cities of refuge" by them. Someone who accidentally killed someone else was supposed to have access to these cities. They could seek safety and assistance by fleeing to any of these six cities.
I want to think about these refuge cities for a while this morning. They give us a clear picture of the only way to salvation that comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. This morning, I'd like to tell you a few things about the cities of refuge. I. V. 1-3 THE PURPOSE OF THESE CITIES A. They Were To Serve As A Refuge - These verses make it abundantly clear that the purpose of these cities was to safeguard the individual who had unintentionally killed another person. There was no provision made by the Lord for a police force when He gave Israel His Law. Depending on the nature of the offense, each crime against society was to be dealt with swiftly. For instance, if someone stole something, they were required to pay it back. 22:1-5. "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe," the punishments were always tailored to the offense. Ex 21:24-25. Num's closest relative could seek retribution for his deceased relative's death if the offense in question resulted in the death of another person. 35:19-21. Reading passages like Numbers 35, on the other hand, makes it abundantly clear that the Lord distinguishes between manslaughter and murder. As a result, if a man took another person's life by accident, he could flee to one of these six cities of refuge, where, if it was determined that the death was accidental, he could escape the "avenger of blood." As a result, these cities were built to provide a haven. B. Their purpose was to serve as a reminder. These cities are there to remind us of some facts about the salvation we have in Jesus Christ. Jesus is a place of safety this morning, just as these were places where a man could flee in a time of extreme need. You see, our issue is here. Rom says we are born sinners. 3:23, Rom. 5:12, Psa. 58:3. We simply inherit an old, sinful nature from our father Adam, so it is not our fault. However, it is our fault that we remain this way, despite the fact that it is not our fault that we were born in this manner! We all choose to sin when we reach a point in our lives when we are able to do so. Sin is thus a double-edged sword! Both by birth and practice, we are guilty. We are in serious trouble now that this is true! Every person who is born into the human race is also subject to the death penalty, just as those who kill another person do so. An Avenger of Blood is pursuing us all. Rom, death marks our flight's end. 6:23! Hell and all of its misery are the only things to look forward to after death, Psa. 9:17. We require a haven! We require a safe haven for our souls where we can flee! I thank God that the sinner can escape to a place where they can receive assistance and hope. a location where we can begin our new life. a place where the blood-sucker can never touch us! A man lives there. The name of that man is Jesus Christ. Pay attention to what these havens of safety teach us about Him. I. What These Cities Are Designed For II. V. 1: THE GIFT OF THESE CITIES A. God gave them to us; man didn't come up with the idea for them. God's mind and heart were the birthplace of this idea. He wanted to teach His people that bloodthirsty people had to pay for their actions, hence the name "the avenger of blood." However, He also desired to demonstrate to His people that there was a place of mercy for accident victims. As a result, God provided them with safe cities. (Ill. I'd like to remind you that Jesus Christ is a gift from God as well. Do you recall what John 3:16 of the Bible says about Him? Christianity and the way to salvation through Jesus' blood did not come from the heart of man. God alone came up with this idea! This activity that we are participating in this morning is the work of God from beginning to end! (Ill.) When man establishes a religion, he does so in a way that puts him in control. He sets it up as a plan of action and assigns himself the task of getting to whatever Heaven he wants. On the other hand, God does it in a way that leaves man out of it. Man does nothing but believe in Jesus as his Savior. And the Lord has even given him that faith, Eph. 2:8-9. You use, or salvation isn't real at all! B. They Were Given by Grace: God could have permitted the murderer to die in the same manner as any other person who had killed someone. But by His grace, He made a way for those who had accidentally killed someone else to get help and shelter. In the same way, God could have permitted all sinners to go to Hell. After all, in His eyes, we are guilty and deserving of nothing but Hellfire damnation! However, I praise the precious name of the Lord this morning for sending His Son, Isa, to die on the cross to pay for our sins. 53:6. Jesus paid the price for sinners like you and me to live through Him, and I praise God for that! (Ill.) The Bible teaches us that getting to heaven can only be accomplished through grace, regardless of what other people may say about it. People, everything is God from beginning to end! 1. John 6:44 says that he begins the process; Eph. 2:1. 2. Rom: He provides the means. 3:25; Acts 4:12 3. Acts 16:31 says that he saves those who believe. He keeps one pet among those he saves. 1:5 You and I cannot accomplish any of these things on our own. We would all end up in Hell if we were left alone to get to Heaven. God is all there!) I. What These Cities Are Designed For II. The Supply of These Cities, Third V. 4-6, 9 THE POWER OF THESE CITIES A. They Had the Power to Save - When the manslayer arrived in the city, his case was heard by the elders, and if it was determined that the death had been an accident, he was given a place within the city and shielded from the blood avenger. A man who would have died otherwise was able to live thanks to the city of refuge. (Ill. Jesus is the same way! He is the only one who can ensure that man's soul will be saved! A sinner who believes in Jesus Christ and accepts Him as Savior is immediately adopted into God's family. His sins are washed away forever, and the Lamb has written his name in the book of Heavenly life. He is saved forever by God's grace! That can't be said for any other religion! To be saved, you can try anything you want, but you can be sure that you will fail! However, you can be saved if you put your faith in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross, rose from the dead, and shed His blood! Guaranteed! Rom. Ill. 10:9-10; Rom. 10:13; John 5:24!) B. They Had the Power to Protect: The individual was protected as long as he remained within the city. The manslayer was safe to return home when the high priest passed away, and he could stay there until the day of judgment and as long as the high priest lived. (Ill.) We are also safe when we give our souls to Jesus Christ for salvation. We are unable to leave, in contrast to the refugee in the city! We can never leave our relationship with the all-powerful God! Take note of John 10:28–29! However, what about the day of reckoning? He was cast out if it was determined that the manslayer was guilty. What does my knowledge of my guilt say about my situation? It only enhances the glory! You see, the day that Jesus died on the cross was our day of judgment! That day is long gone, and we are now secure in the refugee city! As long as Jesus, my High Priest, lives, Heb., I will be secure. 7:25! Just knowing that we are saved for all time is such a glorious privilege! C. Their Power Was Enough—The cities of refuge would serve the needs of all those who sought refuge there. They met the need perfectly! (Ill. Again, I'm glad to be able to remind you today that Jesus Christ meets all of our spiritual needs! irrespective of the past you carry. regardless of how deeply you sinned. regardless of how hard your heart may be. Let me assure you that He is greater than everything you wish to name that you believe might prevent you from coming to Him! Because He is God, He can save your soul! John 6:37 says that he can't and won't turn anyone away! He has enough power for the job. There is no need to worry that it won't work for them! All who come will be saved by Jesus, as promised by God (Rev. 22:17). I. What These Cities Are Designed For II. The Supply of These Cities, Third The Fourth Power of These Cities V. 7-9 THE POSITION OF THESE CITIES A. They Were Open to Everyone—God provided six refugee cities. Three were located to the east of the Jordan and three to the west. They were positioned so that no tribe was too far from a refugee city. They were accessible to everyone, regardless of location or identity! There was a city of safety waiting for the manslayer, whether he was a stranger or a son. (Ill. Wow, what a picture! Jesus Christ is also available to everyone, just as those ancient cities were. Man must be a sinner in order to fulfill the single requirement of the salvation plan! If you are aware that you are a sinner; if you're willing to tell God that; You, my friend, can be saved if you know and believe that Jesus paid for your sins by dying on the cross and rising again from the dead. Today, you can be saved! You can be saved by God's grace by running to Jesus instead of running away from the bloodthirsty avenger for even a moment. Isa, Jesus is available to you right now. 55:6; 2 Cor. 6:2; Matt. 11:28; Rev. 3:20.) B. They Were Reachable to Everyone In the same way that these cities were spread out across the nation and were accessible to each and every Israelite, they were also reachable to each and every person. That is the case for a number of different reasons. 1. The majority of these cities were built on top of mountains, making them prominent. White limestone was used to construct the majority of ancient Israel's cities. These cities sparkled when the sun hit them. They would be visible even at night when illuminated by the moon. Even from a distance of many miles, they were easily visible. 2. They Were Prepared: Certain preparations were made in and around these cities to ensure that the manslayer would arrive at the city of refuge in safety. A. The Roads Were Never Obstructed: The priests made certain that the roads to these cities were always clear of obstacles and accessible to travelers. B. The City of Refuge's Gates Never Came Open: The city of refuge's gates never closed, day or night. C. There Were Never Any Mistakes: The city of refuge was marked on a series of signposts with the Hebrew word "Miklat" written on them. There was no need for anyone to misunderstand how to get there because that word means "Refuge." (Ill.) What a vivid representation of Jesus Christ's salvation these things provide for us. He is accessible to all, similar to the refuge cities. 1. He is visible to the tired traveler, like a hilltop city. 2. Every time, the path that leads to Him is clear. There are no obstacles on His side. Because He died for all sin when He died on the cross, sin cannot prevent you from coming to Him. He had unobstructed access! The only things that can prevent you from reaching Him are the obstacles you create for yourself. things like pride and doubt. 3. He can always be reached! Jesus Christ never closes his mouth. Anyone who comes to Him at any time will be accepted! He is awaiting your arrival! 4. It is easy to see how to get to Him. Thankfully, God has already provided the guidebook that we call the Bible. What it teaches us about Jesus Christ is clear. According to John 14:6, He is the only way to God. And that faith is required for our approach to Him. Is our faith in Jesus and Him alone the only question we need to answer?) (Ill. The Lord's children will benefit from this. You see, those of us who are aware of the refuge are supposed to go out into the highways and hedges and put up signs telling people how to get to Him. You see, our position ought to be unambiguous! At all times, we need to show others how to get to Jesus. Because of this, we must always convey a clear message and word. Men should be reminded of our blessed Savior by everything we do! I. What These Cities Are Designed For II. The Supply of These Cities, Third The Fourth Power of These Cities The Position Of These Cities V. V. 7-8 THE PICTURE IN THESE CITIES A. The Names of These Six Cities Paint a Wonderful Picture of the Provisions of God, Which Are Ours Through The Lord Jesus Christ 1. Isa's righteousness is Kadesh. 64:4; 2 Cor. 5:21 (Ill.) A haven for the filthy! 2. Shechem - Shoulder - Luke 15:3-7 (Ill.) A haven for the sinner who has wandered aimlessly in the wilderness. 3. Fellowship in Hebron, 1 John 1:7 (Il. A haven for sinners in need!) 4. Heb. - Bezer - Fortress 18:2 (Illinois) A haven for helpless sinners. 5. Eph. - Ramoth - Heights 2:6 (Ill.) A haven for wicked sinners! 6. A haven for the hopeless, Golan - Joy - 1 Peter 1:8 (Ill.) B. Their necessity paints a picture: many innocent people would have died without these cities. However, their very existence ensured that they would continue to delight in life. (Ill. My lost friend, you may not have noticed this this morning, but you require Jesus in your life! You will one day end up in Hell, lost forever in torment, without Him as your refuge from God's wrath! Even though you might not like that right now, the fact remains! Simply put, you require immediate salvation! Will you comply? Will you visit Jesus while He still has the power to save you? In this world, you can live without a lot, but you can't go to Heaven without Jesus! C. Their very natures paint a picture. These cities, by their very natures, spoke of God's grace and love for the poor. God cares, so they were there! (Ill. Jesus is the same way!) Because God cares about you, he is there for your salvation! 2 Pet, he doesn't want you to sin and go to Hell. 3:9. He desires your salvation! He showed His love for you by allowing His Son, Jesus, to suffer on the cross in your place, Rom, because He wants that so much. 5:8. Jesus has a place for you, friend! You can get inside the refuge and live there. Conc: The story in the book of 2 Samuel is interesting. Abner, who had previously served as Saul's commander-in-chief, is seen being pursued by Asahel in chapter 2. 2:18-24. Asahel continues to pursue Abner despite Abner's attempts to reason with him. Asahel appears to have struck Abner's spear and died as a result. Abner is later discovered at the city gates of Hebron. Keep in mind that Hebron was one of the six refugee cities. Joab, David's Commander-in-Chief, greets him there. Additionally, Joab is Asahel's older brother. To exact revenge for Asahel's death, 2 Sam, Joab captures Abner at the city of refuge's entrance and kills him. 3:27. The remarks that king David made as he was mourning Abner's passing in 2 Samuel are the most striking. 3:32-34. It's like David was telling Abner, "You died like a fool! You were standing at the refuge's entrance. You could just walk right in. You weren't tied down at all! Although you could have been saved, you perished foolishly!" Do not allow that to happen to you, friend! This morning, no one has you bound. To be saved, all you have to do is enter the refuge. Jesus, our refuge, is waiting for you! I would like to invite you to leave your seat and come to Jesus this morning if you are sick of running from your sins and feeling trapped in a hopeless situation. He will save your soul and take you to Heaven when you die if you come to Him and ask in faith. Isn't that really what you want? Are you not sick of days that end in failure and empty promises? Are you not getting sick of hearing that Hell is constantly growing and is waiting for you? Wouldn't it be nice to know for sure that when you die, you will go to Heaven? I invite you to immediately approach Jesus if you require His presence in your life and heart. He will sustain you!

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