Following Joshua’s lead, the Israelites spent 6-7 years to take the land of Canaan. Although there are still many land to be taken, God had promised to give the land to the Israelites, and God asked them to distribute the land in faith before they actually had the land.
Today, I believe that many people who are listening to or reading this message are under great pressure, or are facing difficulties. Some people may have troubles in their relationships, some may suffer huge pressure at work, some may have health problems, and some may have worries about finical issues. Please believe this: God’s purpose is not to strike us with difficulties, but to bless us after we overcome those hardships. This is not taking up the spirit of Forrest Gump; nor is this lying to ourselves. Instead, there are evidences in the Bible. In the worship just now, we sang the song “I Know who Holds Tomorrow,” the lyrics go like this, “Many things will take place tomorrow, and the future is unpredictable, yet I know who holds tomorrow. He will guide me forward.”
God holds tomorrow; this is our faith! Attend church services or group meetings more often, then you will know the only true God in the universe, and then you will have faith. In fact, God is more than happy to bless every soul on earth, but if you do not believe in or accept Him, if you only hang out with those who do not know God, if you consider every difficulty the end of the world, and if you lock your heart in suffering and bitterness, how can you get over the hardships? Let us stop looking at our environments, instead, let us focus on the destination God is leading us to.
What are the cities of refuge? They are the good purpose of God. Those who killed a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee to those cities and find protection from the avenger of blood. Also, they would have a chance to stand trial before the assembly. As human beings, we all have our weaknesses, and we all do wrong things. If we make mistakes by accident, God will give us a chance of fair trial. Of course, we will have to pay the price if we intentionally sin against God. The cities of refuge were documented in Deuteronomy, Numbers, and Joshua; God spoke to Moses about the cities, and Moses conveyed it to the Israelites. Originally, there were 6 cities of refuge to be built; three on the east side of the Jordan, and three on the west side. The cities were governed by the Levites, and the cities were assigned its own priests. All the roads and bridges that lead to the cities of refuge had to be accessible, and the signs must be clear. The three cities of refuge on the east side of the Jordan are Bezer in the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead in the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan in the tribe of Manasseh. The three cities of refuge on the west side of the Jordan are Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath Arba in the hill country of Judah. It’s a pity that the Israelites forgot God’s will after they entered the land of Canaan. Three cities of refuge were built on the east side of Jordan, but the three cities of refuge were not established on the west side.
After the Israelites got to the land flowing with milk and honey, they forgot many of God’s commands. The hearts of the Israelites were melted away by the people originally living there, and they were corrupted by the Canaanites. The Israelites turned away from God, so their country was divided into two, which both walked toward their doom. After seeing this, how can we not be alert?
Our God is merciful. There is still the city of refuge today! If you repent and come before Him earnestly, the door that lead to God’s grace will still be opened to you. The wall of the city of refuge belonging to this world can be damaged, the judges in this world can be biased, and even priests can misjudge people. However, there is no mistake, only justice, in the city of refuge in God’s kingdom. Where is this city of refuge? It is in Jesus Christ! Jesus saved us with His Holy Blood, and so we find eternal life in Him.
My dear brothers and sisters, let us live in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Let us stay in God’s kingdom and never leave it. Our God holds tomorrow; how bright is our future! How wonderful life is!