Summary: The Cities of Refuge in the Book of Joshua are not only a portrait of Christ, but they are also a picture of the Church, the Body of Christ. We have a refuge in Christ to give to all who are in need of a Savior.
JESUS, OUR CITY OF REFUGE!
Dr. Larry Petton
Great Chapters of the Bible #7
Text: Joshua 20
THINK ABOUT THIS
Homelessness is skyrocketing in America. Over 3.5 million Americans live on the streets. Of the homeless male population, 40 % are American veterans who served our country and sought to keep us free as a nation. What a tragedy.
But what bothers me is.........how does that happen in a country where there are more churches than any nation in the world? Where is the Church and why don't we do something to stop this epidemic of homelessness?
Many today are looking for a REFUGE. God addressed the problem of refugees in the Book of Joshua as he gave them commands to build seven cities of refuge for the accidental killer.
BACKGROUND TO THE BOOK OF JOSHUA
Joshua literally means, "God saves". This Old Testament book is all about the triumph of obedient faith. Joshua is the young leader who followed mighty Moses after he refused to obey God at Meribah (Numbers 20). God told Moses to speak to the rock, but not strike it. He struck the rock twice in his anger. God saw the rebellion of his heart and it cost Moses dearly. At the end of Deuteronomy, God took Moses to Mt. Nebo where he could saw across the Jordan River valley. There God showed Moses all that he missed because of his obedience. This is one of the most tragic scenes in Scripture.
Imagine what it would be like for you if God called you Home to Heaven tonight. However, before He let you go Home, how would you feel if God said, "Child, let me show you what you could have had in life. Let me show you what you missed because of your disobedience. Let me show you all the blessings I wanted you to have.......but you missed them." Wow. That's exactly what happened to Moses!
Now, notice Joshua 1:1. Moses is dead, but God isn't. No man is indispensable. An Elijah is taken.......God has an Elisha waiting in the bullpen. He had a plan for His people to plow full steam ahead into the Promised Land.
"After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them.”
Young Joshua led the people of God through the Jordan River and into the Promised Land led by the Ark of the Covenant, a visible symbol of the Presence of God, leading the way carried on the backs of the Levitical priests. As they crossed over the Jordan, God spoke to Joshua and made a phenomenal promise: "I will give you every place where you step your foot!" (Joshua 1:3).
This is called the Law of APPROPRIATION. God has given you all things you need (potentially), but you must step them off through obedience. As Darrell Royal, Head Coach of the University of Texas Longhorns' football team once said, "Potential just means you 'aint done nothing yet!" I love that!
You may have great potential for the Kingdom of God, but for you to receive from the Lord, you have to start walking in obedience.
In Joshua 1:9, God made another awesome promise to the people of Israel: "Have not I commanded you? Be strong and very courageous. Do not be afraid nor dismayed. For the Lord thy God is with you wherever you go."
If you travel for your business this week.......
God is with you on the plane.
God is around you while you drive down that busy highway.
God is waiting at the motel for you.
God is sitting there in the business meeting, ready to give you His wisdom if you desire.
God is prepared to usher you back home to your waiting family. He is already there with open arms.
Wherever you go.......He is there.
You can't go anywhere that God is not there.
Then God commanded the Jews to do something entirely unique. He ordered them in Joshua 4:20-24 to build a monument to their faith. They were to take stones from the Jordan River and remember what God had done for them with a monument.
Have you seen the movie, MONUMENTS MEN? It is all about WWII and the sadistic quest of Hitler to capture all of the great works of art from the world and put them into his own art gallery. The movie shows our government commissioning a small group of artists to go and protect the art that remained and to find the thousands of paintings and sculptures that were stolen by Hitler and hidden in salt mines of Europe. It is a very interesting and exciting movie. We have to remember what we have learned from the past to be strong in the present and to pave the way for a future generation.