Summary: We find Jesus throughout the OT, and today we find him in 6 special towns -- The Purpose, the Prophecy, and the Proximity of the Cities of Refuge. Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.

Christ in the City

Joshua 20:1-9

We find Jesus throughout the OT, and today we find him in some cities:

[vv. 1-3]

The Jews are now in possession of the Promised Land. The 12 tribes divided up the land, but then there were 6 cities set aside as refuges in the case of an accidental killing. They were not places to harbor murderers and other offenders like the ‘sanctuary cities’ of today.

1. The Purpose

If you had a family member murdered you would take it upon yourself to seek out the killer [w/ more fervency than OJ!] and see justice done.

v. 9 ‘the avenger of blood’ = the family.

Ill.—if you were chopping wood w/ a friend and your axe head flew off and killed him, you needed a refuge to hide until the matter was dealt w/ fairly and judicially, a sanctuary where you could be protected in the meanwhile.

2. The Prophecy

What does this illustrate?

Hebrews 6:18-20

18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

In the OT they had a physical place of refuge, and we today have a spiritual place to run! So these cities were a picture of salvation in Christ.

Why would we need a place of refuge? If that’s for someone who commits homicide, what is that to me? Because we killed Jesus. Perhaps unknowingly or unwittingly. Jesus said ‘they know not what they do.’ But we did it.

Ill.—OJ’s book was called “IF I Did It”. There’s no if. And if we try to keep the if in our sinful situation, we’ll wind up having to do the time we think we have gotten away from, like OJ!

The Hammer

I was in the crowd the day that Jesus died

And as He hung upon that cross His mother cried

I saw the crown of thorns He wore

The stripes on His back

The water and the blood ran out

And then the sky turned black

My mind was filled with anger

My heart filled with shame

This man brought only healing

Well who could bring Him pain

Why does it seem the strong

They always victimize the weak

And suddenly I found myself

Standing to my feet


And I cried

Who nailed Him there

This Child of peace and mercy

Who nailed Him there

Come and face me like a man

Who nailed Him there

And the crowd began to mock me

I cried Oh my God I just don’t understand

Then I turned and saw the hammer

In my hand!

I nailed Him there

This Child of peace and mercy

I nailed Him there

I am the guilty man

I nailed Him there

With my sins and my transgressions

I cried Oh my God now I understand

When I turned and saw that hammer…

In my hand!

Ray Boltz

Ironic at least, that our city of refuge is the very One we helped to crucify.

Here’s the names of the cities, and their meanings:

v. 7-8

• Kedesh = place of holiness. This speaks of Christ our Savior. The Bible says w/out holiness it’s impossible to see God. Since we don’t have holiness we can only seek to get it, and we cannot earn it so we can only hope to receive it as a gift.

• Shechem = shoulder. Christ our strength. Something to lean on, something to carry the load. The gov’t is upon His shoulders. Sometimes we feel we cannot carry any more burdens. Thank God when we feel we will give out, give up, or give in, He’s got big shoulders. The Christian life isn’t just hard, it’s impossible, but not for Him.

• Hebron = fullness or fellowship. Hebron was known for lush pastures, truly flowing w/ milk and honey. This is Christ our satisfaction. Some think getting saved is the end to their fun, but it’s the most fun I’ve ever had! “I can’t get no satisfaction” is not only bad grammar it’s bad living.

• Bezer = strong hold or fortification. Christ our security. I’m glad salvation isn’t me holding out but God holding on! Jn. 10:28-29 says we are held in God’s hands.

• Ramoth = exalted. Christ my sovereign. He’s always in control. Working a higher plan on an exalted level. If I’m in control of my own life, I’m out of control. I must run to Ramoth!

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