Summary: The 8th in a series on Joshua that illustrates how when we’ve messed up God is willing to show mercy and offer us a second chance.
1. Thomas Dorsey was a black jazz musician from Atlanta who was known in the early 1920’s for the suggestive lyrics he combined with original music. Then God touched his life and in 1926 he gave up the suggestive music and began to write spiritual music. In 1932 times were hard for Dorsey as they were for nearly everyone trying to survive the depression. Perhaps it was because of his past music and his also his musical style some said his music was too worldly. The most difficult night of his life came one night right here in St. Louis when he received a telegram telling him that his pregnant wife had suddenly died. Dorsey was filled with grief and his faith was shaken, but instead of wallowing in self-pity, he expressed his agony the only way he knew how. He wrote this song. . .
1) Precious Lord, take my hand, Lead me on, let me stand.
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn. Through + storm, through + night, Lead me on to the light; Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home. 2) When my way grows drear, Precious Lord linger near. When my life is almost gone; Hear my cry, hear my call, Hold my hand lest I fall. Take my hand Precious Lord, lead me home.
2. In spite of Dorsey’s checkered past he experienced God’s presence during that crises. That song which came out of his pain and grief has comforted and challenged thousands of people since then because if we are honest, most of us have had a moment, or two or three when God’s presence was all that could get us through.
3. Let’s be honest about something else as well, we don’t really deserve all God’s faithfulness, because if we are honest, all of us will have to admit we haven’t always been faithful to Him.
4. I know that about you because I haven’t always been faithful either. But I’m glad to tell you this morning that, "God Gives Second Chances." I’ll show you what I mean. Let’s read our Joshua 20 together this morning.
1 Then the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying,
2 "Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ’Designate the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses,
3 that the manslayer who kills any person unintentionally, without premeditation, may flee there, and they shall become your refuge from the avenger of blood.
4 ’He shall flee to one of these cities, and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city and state his case in the hearing of the elders of that city; and they shall take him into the city to them and give him a place, so that he may dwell among them.
5 ’Now if the avenger of blood pursues him, then they shall not deliver the manslayer into his hand, because he struck his neighbor without premeditation and did not hate him beforehand.
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.’"
7 So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah.
8 Beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they designated Bezer in the wilderness on the plain from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan from the tribe of Manasseh.
9 These were the appointed cities for all the sons of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them, that whoever kills any person unintentionally may flee there, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood until he stands before the congregation.
I. God Has Always Offered Mercy 20:1-5
1. The nation of Israel at this point had an army, but it didn’t have anything equivalent to our modern police force. When someone was murdered, the members of the family saw to it that the murderer was brought to justice and received his punishment.
2. To understand what is happening here, we need to remember that the Israelites were just becoming a nation. There was no well established legal code, no system of lawyers and judges, no elaborate rules for dealing with every possible possibility. What they did have was the first five books of the Bible, with all the laws found there. However, they were just learning how to put them all into practice.
3. One of the principles dealt with what was to happen in the event someone was maliciously killed. The law dealt with what was to happen in the event of a murder. In the Latin language the ancient law was called. . .