Sermon by: Dr. Todd Morris
Text: Joshua 20:1-9
Title: The Cities of Refuge (Joshua # 11)
Date: February 22, 2004
Introduction: The land of Canaan has now been possessed and subdued. The various tribes have been given their inheritance and things are starting to wind down as far as the conquest is concerned. However, there is still much work to be done by Joshua and the people in carrying out the commands given by God. This chapter deals with a command given in Numbers 35:1-34. God told them to appoint six cities that were to be known as “cities of refuge.” These cities were to be made available to someone who has killed someone by accident. They could flee to one of these cities and find safety and help.
It is these cities of refuge that I wish to consider this morning. They clearly represent for us a picture of the salvation that is to be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to share several truths with you this morning about the cities of refuge that will also show us the glorious salvation that is offered in the Lord Jesus.
I THE PURPOSE OF THESE CITIES (1-3)
A. They Were to Serve As a Refuge – God made no provision for law enforcement in His law. If a man were killed it was left to his kin to exact the punishment that was prescribed in God’s law.
Therefore, when a man accidentally killed someone he could flee to one of these cities, and if it was determined that his act had indeed been an accident, then he could find refuge from the “avenger of blood.”
B. They Were to Serve As a Reminder – For our sakes, these cities serve to point out certain facts about the salvation we enjoy in the Lord. Just as these are a place to which a man could flee in time of trouble, so Jesus is a place of safety.
We are born sinners, it really isn’t our fault, we are born that way, but even though it isn’t our fault we are born that way, it is our fault that we stay that way. As we grow older and reach an age when we can grow older and reach an age that we can make a choice regarding sin, we all choose sin. That makes it a double-edged sword. WE ARE GUILTY BY BIRTH AND PRACTICE!
Now since this is true we are in deep trouble. Just like there was a death sentence for all who took another life, there is also a death sentence for all born into the human race. But Jesus is our refuge!
II THE PROVISION OF THE CITIES (1)
A. They Were Provided By God
B. They Were Provided By Grace
So it is with our salvation:
1. God initiates it
2. God provided it
III THE POWER OF THE CITIES (4-6, 9)
A. They Had the Power to Save – Once a man was inside his case was heard by the elders, and if it was determined that the death had indeed been a accident he was given a place of safety in the city.
B. The Had the Power to Secure – As long as the man stayed within the city he was secure.
C. They Had Power that was Sufficient – There power was unquestioned in the land.
IV THE POSITION OF THE CITIES (7-9)
A. They Were Available to All
B. They Were Accessible to All
1. They were prominent – built on mountain tops for all to see.