Today's devotion from Joshua 19 & 20.
Joshua 19 concludes the allotment of lands. So, with such a monumental task accomplished, what should be our next priority? Chapter 20 reveals that it is in establishing the cities of refuge. As I'm sure you'll remember, the cities of refuge were places to which those who accidentally killed a neighbor could escape to avoid capital punishment.
Why does this take precedent over other tasks that need to be accomplished? One commentator boiled it down to two words: mercy and worth. It is mercy in that God does not desire that anyone should lose their lives, especially for an accident or mistake. It also demonstrates the worth of life in that while the accidental killer would live, even an accidental death carried repercussions.
The person was to flee to the city of refuge. In doing so they left their family and friends, their lives and livelihood, their place in the land bearing their father's name, and would be bound to the city of refuge until the high priest died (Number 35:25, 28)
God's attention to this issue reveals a lot about Him. It also helps us to understand Christ's role as our refuge. Even if we never intentionally sinned, but were found to have accidental sin in our lives (and we would because no one is perfect except Christ), there would be repercussions. Where can we go to flee the wrath that we have incurred? We must cast everything aside and flee into the arms of Jesus.
Everything of our previous lives must be forfeited for the hope of everlasting life. Nothing must stand between us and the refuge of Christ if we are to survive. Next, a question arises as to when we may safely return. The simple answer is never. Christ, our High Priest, will never die. As long as He lives, we remain steadfastly in the refuge available only in Him.
This gives us a beautiful picture of the salvation Christ has secured and offered to us.