Enjoy Life, Enjoy God

Dale Patterson


August 18, 2009

When something terrible happens, with malice or by accident, it is good to have a place where cooler minds can take over, and everyone can catch their breath, and clear their minds.

Six of the towns you give the Levites will be cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone may flee.
-Numbers 35:6 TNIV

The Book of Numbers has much to say about the organization of the community, the people of God. Included in that structure is a legal system, and the Law. The Law stipulates Cities of Refuge. This was to be a place where, yes, the law would be applied, but there also would be a context for justice, grace, and for the people of God to discover the truth. Fugitives could find refuge within that the law might be applied, not as a tool of punishment, but as one of justice. For example, even a murderer could escape to a City of Refuge to have one's case properly heard. A careful reading of Numbers 35 reveals that the rules for evidence to garner a conviction were strict, yet reasonable. And only then could the punishment be carried out. Sometimes since, I fear we have been zealous to apply the law, but less than careful in applying the requirements to insure justice.

Cities of Refuge were a good idea. What if the church were known today as a City of Refuge? Yes, it is a place where sin is confessed and repented of, but first of all, we are known as a refuge. We'll be known for our grace and love. Hmmm. I even hear a song coming on, "They'll know we are Christians by..."


Dale Patterson