Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Cities of Refuge

Scripture: Joshua 20 v 7 - 8. 


"And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in Mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjath-arba, which is in Hebron in the mountain of Judah. And on the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward they assigned Bezer......and Ramoth in Gilead, .....and Golan in Bashan."


From these strange sounding verses comes a bundle of surprises!  The first city is called Kedesh which is the Hebrew word for holiness. Our first steps into God's kingdom must be made in holiness. Holiness is an absence of sin.

So we have been washed in the Blood of the Lamb when we reach Kedesh. This means we are born again and have no guilt before our Father so we can approach Him with confidence and love.

The next city is called Shechem which means shoulder to shoulder. We need to work together to build something precious. Our shoulder carries the heaviest burdens so we join our strengths together to grow in grace. When we stand shoulder to shoulder we present a formidable  barrier to the onslaughts of the enemy. One sheep alone in a field is very vulnerable to a prowling wolf but a whole flock with a watchful Shepherd is a different prospect altogether.

Then we come to the next city of refuge, Hebron, which means Fellowship with God. A vital part of our lives is to spend quality time in God's presence.  We must develop our relationship with God the Father and His Son Jesus through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who has come alongside us to help, teach and guide us.

Our personal relationship with God is what sets Christianity apart from every other religion. Fellowship with God starts with prayer and also listening for His response.

We journey on to Bezer which means Assurance. We have been made holy and stood shoulder to shoulder with the saints and have had fellowship with God. This should give us plenty of assurance to keep going. We also have assurance that our Father hears and answers every prayer that is in line with His will for us. So make sure you know His will before you pray. (Read Hearing God's Voice; and Determining God's Will on this blog). 

Ramoth means Height or Stature. Jesus will lift us up to our full stature as Kings and Priests. When the first Man, Adam, fell, the whole of God's Creation fell with him. Jesus was the Second Man, made in the image of God, and by His death and resurrection, raised us all to the original stature Adam had. (1 Cor 15v45-47).

Which brings us to our final city Golan which means Joy.

When you have successfully made this journey your reward will be the joy of the Lord which is your strength. Our Father delights in the joy of His children. He desires to bless and encourage us. So make a spiritual journey through these cities of Israel to see and experience the blueprint for growth and revival through the cities God instructed Joshua to set apart as cities of refuge in the Promised Land.

Prayer: O Lord God our Father thank you for this hidden gem in Your word. It opens up a wonderful experience for us to receive and enjoy Your closeness to us.  Please help us to fully appreciate the spiritual wealth stored in these cities for us.  In Jesus' name. Amen.