April 23rd, 2017
Love’s Merciful Provision
Deuteronomy 4:41-43; 19:1-13
Aux. Text: 1 John 5:18
Call to Worship from Psalm 57
Bible Memory Verse for the Week: The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. — Proverbs 18:10
Summary statement: In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses told the Israelites to set apart cities of refuge for those who had accidentally killed somebody else, known as a manslayer. The manslayer could not be killed by the avenger of blood, who was the next of kin of the person accidentally killed, so long as he stayed within the walls of the city of refuge. However, if he left this city for even a minute, all of his protection was gone and he could be killed in a moment’s notice.
The questions to be answered are… What is a city of refuge and why does it have any matter in our own present-day lives?
Answer: The cities of refuge are a symbol for Christ. The qualities and meanings that they have point towards the living God. He is our ultimate refuge. If we can understand the importance of these cities, we will better be able to understand the importance of Christ being our personal refuge to this very day.
The Word for the Day is… Provision
What do we need to know in order to better understand the cities of refuge?
- There is a difference between a murderer and a manslayer, and only the manslayer was allowed the protection found within the cities of refuge.
- The avenger of blood was to bring justice by killing the person who had killed their relative. Death must be repaid with death.
- Christ is our avenger, but He took our place and let the vengeance fall on Himself.
Yet at the very moment when it appears that we are most without hope, we see that the provision of the gospel far exceeds the grace available under the Law. In the gospel, the heavenly Avenger has become our Redeemer. These two offices are fused in one, just as they were in the book of Numbers. In Jesus Christ, God Himself took on human flesh and became our kinsman, not to pursue us and condemn us but to deliver us. The Avenger comes after us, and we flee from him in fear; yet when he catches us, instead of killing us, he throws his arms around us and says ‘Come on home–your sin has been atoned for.’ The one we expected to be our judge and executioner was himself judged and executed in our place. Jesus Christ is God’s avenger of blood. He is protector of His family and charged with making sure justice is carried out against the one who sinned against God. However, instead of avenging God by killing us, He was sent to shed His own blood and die for us so that we wouldn’t have to. Instead of running away from the avenger of blood, we run TO Him because He shed His own blood instead of ours, eternally protecting us from death.
- Blood is of the utmost significance to God since He created all life on Earth. The shedding of blood will ultimately defile the land. Yet when Christ allowed His innocent and perfect blood to be shed, His blood cleansed the land over the entire Earth.
Worship Point: Worship the God of the Universe Who allowed for His Son to die for us because of His unending love and provision that we don’t deserve.
Gospel Application: Christ is our ultimate refuge and protection. He shed his holy blood in order to cleanse us of our sins. His blood still covers the Earth to this very day.
Spiritual Challenge: Do not look for refuge or solace in things of this Earth, because they will fade away. Instead, put your faith in the One Who is eternal, and Who will always provide for you.
So What?: Death waits for no man, it can find you at any given moment. Tomorrow is too late. Flee to the refuge of Christ today, and do not leave His protection.