Summary: The 11th in a 12 part series from Joshua concerning Victorious Christian Living

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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.


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!


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


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.


A. They Were Available to All

B. They Were Accessible to All

1. They were prominent – built on mountain tops for all to see.

2. They were prepared – They were constantly looking for the offenders to come.

a. The roads were not clogged

b. The gates were never closed

c. The direction was never confused


A. The Picture in Their Names:

1. Kadesh – Righteousness

2. Shechem – Shoulder

3. Hebron – Fellowship

4. Bezer – Fortress

5. Ramoth – Heights

6. Golan – Joy

B. The Picture of Their Necessity – without these cities many people would have died unnecessarily.

C. The Picture of Their Nature – There very reason for being was the grace of God.

Conclusion: If you are tired of running from your sins and of feeling trapped in a hopeless situation, I would like to invite you to leave your seat and come to Jesus this morning. If you will come to Him by faith this morning and ask , He will save your soul and take you to heaven when you leave this world. Not only that, but He will protect you through this life. Aren’t you tired of empty promises and dead end days? Aren’t you sick of knowing that Hell is ever expanding and is waiting on you? Wouldn’t you like to be sure that you will go to heaven when you die? If you need Jesus in your heart and life to be your refuge I invite you to come right now.

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