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Feb 16, 2020

Cities of Refuge

Cities of Refuge

Speaker: Dennis Gallaher

Category: Sunday Morning

Every one of us is looking for a refuge from an enemy seeking to destroy us - being stalked by an avenger. Jesus is here to provide that for each one of us today. 

Joshua 20:1-2 Then the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘Designate the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses'..." 

God has always intended that His kingdom would be set apart from anything the world system would value. The church needs to be the example of how to live in this present world and not to dumb down our calling. When the kingdom of God goes forward, it is light and truth. The light will dispel the darkness. We are to be different from the world. 

Deut 14:2 For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

I Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nationa people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Declare this every day. 

 1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world. We are set apart.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?

One of the striking differences that God's people would have was a demonstration of mercy, unlike anything the world had ever seen. As soon as the land was conquered, there was to be put in place a plan for refuge, specifically for the person who unintentionally took the life of another which was and is the most grievous of crimes from the Garden forward. The plan:

  • Six cities strategically chosen throughout the land
  • Each had gates that would remain open at all times to the person who was fleeing for their life
  • Roads to the cities were to be kept maintained at all times and have a 48-foot width
  • Obstructions were to be removed
  • Hills were to be removed and rivers bridged
  • A sign "Refuge. Refuge." was placed at every turn or crossroad with an arrow pointing the way to the city of refuge

The purpose of the six cities: Numbers 35:9-12 

With an avenger on the tail of manslayer, the manslayer collapses into the arms of the crowd and is brought into the fellowship of the city of refuge providing: 

  • Refuge of mercy, protection, purpose, grace, rest, friendship and relationships.
  • A place to call home
  • A trade
  • Released into the community 

And such is the call of the church of Jesus Christ:

  • We, as the church, are those who have received mercy, refuge, protection, purpose, grace, rest, friendship and relationships.
  • We, as the church, are the ones who are be found in the gate beaconing others to come in.
  • We, as the church, are the ones that are to take in the stranger and make a place next to us for those who seek refuge.

And one more thing:

Joshua 20:6 He shall dwell in that city until he stands before the congregation for judgment, until the death of the one who is high priest in those days. Then the manslayer shall return to his own city and to his own house, to the city from which he fled. 

Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.  

  • Our high priest has died and risen.
  • It is our great privilege to now go out from here and tell others of the mercy we've received. 
  • And these coming days are about our leaving this city of refuge and compelling others to come in.

How about we keep the road wide (simple)? How about we go out and compel them to come in? and keep obstacles out of the way? and be a living signpost of refuge to follow?

Every one of us is looking for a refuge from an enemy seeking to destroy us - being stalked by an avenger. Jesus is here to provide that for each one of us today. 


Make a choice to get right with God by praying: Dear Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I believe that on that cross You took my guilt, my sin, and my shame and You died for it. You faced hell for me, so I wouldn't have to. And You rose again to give me a place in Heaven, a purpose on Earth, and a relationship with Your Father. Today, Lord Jesus, I turn from my sins to be born again. And now, God is my Father, Jesus is my Savior, The Holy Spirit is my helper. And Heaven is my home. Amen

How does the church today compare to the cities of refuge? 

What can we do to prepare these roads today? obstacles removed? 

Are you already found in the city of mercy and refuge? Is there someone you want to beckon to come?