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Christ in the City

Joshua 20:1-9

 

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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 Ďsanctuary citiesí 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  Ďthe avenger of bloodí = the family.

Ill.óif 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 thatís for someone who commits homicide, what is that to me?  Because we killed Jesus.  Perhaps unknowingly or unwittingly.  Jesus said Ďthey know not what they do.í  But we did it.

 

Ill.óOJís book was called ďIF I Did ItĒ.  Thereís no if.  And if we try to keep the if in our sinful situation, weíll 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

CHORUS:
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 donít 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 hammerÖ
In my hand!

Ray Boltz

 

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

 

Hereís 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 itís impossible to see God.  Since we donít 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 govít 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, Heís got big shoulders.  The Christian life isnít just hard, itís 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 itís the most fun Iíve ever had!  ďI canít get no satisfactionĒ is not only bad grammar itís bad living.

       Bezer = strong hold or fortification.  Christ our security.  Iím glad salvation isnít me holding out but God holding on!  Jn. 10:28-29 says we are held in Godís hands.

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

       Golan = separated.  Christ my sanctification.  Heís the one that gives me a distinction from the world, making a difference.  Iím a new creation, created to be separate from the world.  Donít look to anyone other than the Lord for your sanctification.  Donít look to me or anyone else.  Weíre all growing in grace together.  People will let you down, but God wonít. 

 

The purpose and prophecy of these cities...

 

3.     The Proximity.

The map shows they are spread out.  No matter where you are, there is a refuge close by.  And salvation is always close by...only a prayer away.  And help for the Christian is not far off.  God isnít hiding from you.  He doesnít play keep away from us.

        If you wanted someone to find their way home would you make your directions complicated or easy?  Salvation isnít hard.  God did the hard part.

 

We can run to the Rock, and find shelter in our Fortress, under the shadow of His wings.  Heís not too far away!

 

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