Monday, July 22, 2013

Jesus Our Refuge

And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah. And on the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh.
Joshua 20: 7-8

This is the post that almost wasn't.  Thanks to the friends who encouraged me to take the time to write this one out.  Also, there are many believers who are too stressed with all the negative news.  You need a refuge from the storm!  This is for you.  I believe I will dedicate this to some friends, Brandt and Judy.

The LORD instructed Moses to immediately have the children of Israel to appoint 6 cities of refuge under the direction of the Levites directly upon entering the promised land according to Numbers 35.  These cities would protect one who had committed manslaughter as a place to hide from those who would avenge a grieving family for the loss of life of a loved one.  The cities were later appointed on both sides of the Jordan River for easy access.  Furthermore, the one seeking refuge was given asylum until the current High Priest died.  As always, the Spirit of the LORD had another shadow of the ministry of Christ in mind for us to glean from.

The number six immediately points to man in biblical symbolism.  These cities would be a shelter for men (and women) who were not guilty of premeditated murder.  What is even more amazing is that the names themselves seem to bear out many of the greatest needs of man.  Let's investigate:

God wants us to always realize that the single greatest need of mankind is the forgiveness of sin.  Repeatedly, we are warned and reminded that all have sinned and that not one is righteous in and of themselves in the eyes of the LORD.  Therefore, the forgiveness of sin is our utmost need.  It is interesting that Kedesh is listed first.  This name in Hebrews means "holy place".  It comes from a root word meaning "to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be sanctified, be separate." Do you need a refuge from sin?  There is a man from Galilee, Jesus Christ by name, who is all of the refuge from sin you will ever need.  Moreover, there is NO OTHER refuge for sin!  Are you unclean?  Run to Kedesh!

Have you ever just felt weak?  There just seems to be days when the burdens of life weigh us down to the point we feel as if we can't go on.  There is a place of refuge for you.  It is Shechem.  This name means "shoulder".  Immediately, one might think of the old hymn, "Leaning On The Everlasting Arms."  You can lean on the shoulders of one whose shoulders, at the cross, withheld the very weight of the world.  Christ is that shoulder for you in that time of weakness and helplessness!  Run to Shechem!

Several of the Bible's patriarchs of faith are buried in Hebron including Abraham, the friend of GOD (
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. James 2:23). This name means association as in friendship.  When we are lonely or in need of one to talk to who cares immensely for us, we can always go to Jesus.  Does the Word not say, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (1 Peter 5:7)"?  Feeling friendless?  Run to Hebron!

Bezer is an interesting word.  It relates to gold or a goldmine.  However, there is a dual meaning of being a shelter, hiding place, or fortress.  Gold is always symbolic of Christ's divine nature--this One who was wholly man yet wholly God.  When gold is mined it leaves a place that could be used as a storm shelter much like those used to hide from a tornado.  The LORD Yeshua left us a storm shelter in the shadow of His cross.  When the storms of life come at us with rage and fury we have a hiding place!  Run to Bezer!

Most folks have times in their lives when they are depressed, down, or discouraged.  In these times we need a place to go where we can be lifted up again.  There is such a place.  It is Ramoth in Gilead.  This means heights in the rocky place--a mountain top.  If we run to Jesus when we are down, He will surely give us "hinds' feet."  "
The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places (Habakkuk 3:19)."  Down?  Run to Ramoth!

There are just times we feel like pilgrims or aliens in a strange land as we make this journey with Christ.  "
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light...(1 Peter 2:9)"  While on this exile journey, we need to often just begin to sing the praises of the One who has called us to this journey.  Golan means "their captivity: their rejoicing".  That reminds me of another song"

I've been traveling here in this life
With its heartaches, trouble and strife.
Sometimes Satan tries to tell me to turn aside(aside)
I say "Satan, get thee behind."
No returning in me you'll find,
I'm too near my heavenly home where I'll abide.

I'm too near home with my Lord
To miss sweet heaven's reward.
I'm not returning to sin.
I've made my vow!
There's nothing to go back to.
Oh praise God, Heaven's in view.
I'm too near my heavenly home
To turn back now.

Are you on that journey and need a place of rejoicing?  Run to Golan!

Like the cities of refuge that were all easily accessible--Jesus is only a prayer away at all times.  Finally our King, who is Soon2Come, will never die.  He is an eternal refuge.  Run to Jesus!

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