the price of refuge
Deuteronomy 19:1 “When Yahveh your God eliminates the nations whose land he is giving you, so that you take possession from them and live in their cities and houses,
Deuteronomy 19:2 you are to separate three cities for yourselves within the land Yahveh your God is giving you to take possession of.
Deuteronomy 19:3 You are to determine the distances and divide the land Yahveh your God is granting you as an inheritance into three regions, so that anyone who commits manslaughter can flee to these cities.
the price of refuge
The cities of refuge were not easy places to live. One had to immediately separate himself from all that he had known before and escape to a self-imposed incarceration. It involved living a life totally sacrificed to all one’s previous ambitions and affections. It was stressful and difficult, but the alternative was to be hunted down and eliminated like the nations who had previously occupied those cities.
There was a social and psychological need for those cities of refuge. If someone killed another person — even if it were accidental — it meant that the community itself could no longer support and protect him. A life had been taken. An offense had occurred requiring retribution. He had to escape. The cities of refuge provided the needed ticket out. But the price of that ticket was self-denial to the point of death to self.
As such, the cities of refuge provide a picture of Christ and the deliverance he offers. Each of us has offended a sacred and omnipotent God, and we deserve death for all our offenses, even the ones we consider mistakes. Our righteous God is also a loving God and he has provided a way for us to escape the death penalty — but it comes at a price. We need to immediately deny ourselves, pick up our crosses, and follow Christ. Repentance requires radical and immediate transformation.
Lord, thank you for providing an escape from the death penalty we all deserve. We ask for courage to respond to our plight with the necessary swift and immediate repentance.