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Summary: God has mercy on the guilty.


Joshua 20.1-9

S: Mercy

C: Refuge is found in Jesus

Th: A People with Purpose


?: How? How does God provide mercy?

KW: Provisions

TS: We will find in our study of Joshua 20 five provisions God makes to demonstrate His mercy.

Type: Propositional

The ____ provision is…






PA: How is the change to be observed?

• Admit your guilt.

• Come under the eternal protection of our Savior.

• Be ready to receive His salvation.

• Announce the good news of protection (salvation).

Version: ESV

RMBC 08 July 07 AM


ILL Guilt (H)

A man called his mother in Florida. "Mom, how are you?"

"Not too good," said the mother. "I’ve been very weak."

The son said, "Why are you so weak?"

She said, "Because I haven’t eaten in 38 days."

The man said, "That’s terrible. Why haven’t you eaten in 38 days?"

The mother answers, "Because I didn’t want my mouth to be filled with food if you should call."

Well, it is said that no one can make you feel guilt like a mother can.

Has that been your experience?

Do you ever feel guilty?

I am sure, that if you are like me, you have experienced guilt when you should have.

And there are times, guilt has been thrust on you, even though it probably was not your fault.

As we come to our text today, we are encountering the subject of guilt.


First, though, let’s remember our context.

Last week, we returned to our study of Joshua and we understood that…

1. Context: The Promised Land is being prepared for occupation.

The land was being divided up appropriately between the twelve tribes.

Since Joseph was the firstborn, he received a double portion, and each son, Ephraim and Manasseh received a portion.

Levi received no portion, but rather was to live among each tribe, being the spiritual leaders, working in the tabernacle, overseeing the festivals, and teaching God’s Word.

Through this very large passage we considered, we understood that God was keeping His promises to His people.

Perhaps there was no better example of this than Caleb.

He had represented the tribe of Judah decades earlier when they went to spy the land.

When he returned with the others, he, along with Joshua, had urged the people to trust God for the victory.

They disagreed with those who had formed a majority report.

They had only seen the difficulties and the risk.

Judgment came upon those who doubted God’s promise and they died in the wilderness.

Now, decades later, Caleb and Joshua are the two lone survivors, and Caleb is ready to see God’s fulfillment of His promises by taking the land that had frightened the doubters.

In the midst of the passage we considered last week, we purposely left out one chapter – twenty.

It is a chapter about life and death.

Before we consider it, let us back up a bit, and realize that very early in Scripture, God establishes the sanctity of life.

Life is of such value, that according to the text in Genesis 9, if you shed blood, then you pay for the crime with your own blood.

In other words, you are to value the life of your neighbor.

If you do not, and you take his life, you will suffer the appropriate consequences.

As the Scripture text progresses and the law is further refined…

2. “Cities of Refuge” are established because God believes in justice.

In these ancient times, there was no police force.

And for Israel in particular, there was no centralized government.

Rather, it was a nation that was governed by the laws of God.

Here we find the application of what God has set up in previous writings called the “cities of refuge.”

Basically, it went like this…

Anybody who killed another person could flee to a city of refuge and be protected from "the avenger of blood" until the elders of the city could investigate the circumstances.

If they found the fugitive guilty, he or she would be turned over to the closest family member, the avenger, and be put to death.

But if they concluded that it was a case of manslaughter, the fugitive was allowed to live in the city and be protected from the avenger.

Again, a distinction is being made between murder and manslaughter.

The former is premeditated.

The latter is accidental.

So, especially, if you know that it was not your intention to kill someone, but it has happened, you were to run to the closest city of refuge.

This was to prevent vigilante justice, a desire for revenge in the heat of the moment.

Once in the city, protection was given until the truth was established.

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