(Pastor Mike on vacation until Mar 24)
Text: Numbers 34-36; Psalm 37:23-40
The Old Testament Law made many provisions for right and just living – and formed the foundations of how our justice system operates. The Word of God is truth, and it undergirds reality even outside the community of faith. One example turns up in the concept of “cities of refuge.”
The cities shall be for you a refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation for judgment.
The Lord calls us to act justly, delegating some serious responsibility to (fallen) humans. In this case, He makes a provision for justice to slow down – providing a safe haven for those who inadvertently killed someone. Justice is good, and things like a speedy trial keep innocent people from being robbed of their lives…. but hasty justice can be disastrous.
I get two messages here. First, the Word of God contains truth that is applicable and forceful even in the secular world around us. It is a good thing our nation’s founders had the Word of God to guide them. And, it is a good thing when we bring Biblical truth into the world around us outside of the Church. And, second, in our everyday “judgments” about people we need to be cautious lest we falsely “execute” somebody who is innocent of the crime we might suspect. Slow down when it comes to judgment – even those inner, private judgments. We must grant others a stay in a “city of refuge” long enough to seek and find the truth of a matter. Imagine if we did that all the time. Imagine the divisions and troubles we might avoid.
in Him, Mike