Our Place of Refuge (Part 1)
January 2, 2022

Our Place of Refuge (Part 1)

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPOYN68DzZg

As we enter into year 2022, the uncertainty of what we might expect is palatable. Literally we can taste the uncertainty as another wave of the COVID virus, or what is being called the Omicron strain, is now within the borders of our country and is now the predominant strain.

We are told, and I believe this report to be true, is that our nation’s mental health is at a precarious level. Fear and isolation have taken its toll and have taken such a hold on our society that people are living more in a state of hopelessness than in a state of hope.

And to top it all off, there exist a vaccination divide that is causing even more hurt and isolation. Dr. Cynthia Ackrill said, “Once again, we’re looking at other humans as a risk, and we weren’t trained to do that, except in battle.”

So, what are we to do? Where can we go? Current medical science is clearly stymied, because they don’t know if additional booster shots are required, or even if current vaccination will even help. They simply don’t know.

And so, where can we go to find a refuge in the midst of the storm we find ourselves in?

The Apostle Paul tells us something that is extremely helpful in times like this.

To the church in Rome he said, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4 NKJV)

Speaking of what happened to the children of Israel, Paul said, “All these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11 NKJV)

And so, to our current situation, and to whatever situation that we might find ourselves in, God has a special word for us to hold onto, as we are told of our place of refuge where we can go to find grace and mercy in our time of need, and that is the throne room of God.

But our refuge isn’t really a place as it is a person, and that is Jesus Christ. So, why did I entitle today’s message, “A Place of Refuge?” Well, it’s because to understand just how Jesus is our refuge is to understand what God did when He set up the Cities of Refuge when they entered into the Promised Land.

In order to keep His people safe from injustice, God required Moses to set up six cities out of the 48 given to the Levites as places of asylum for those who had been accused of manslaughter, that they may be legally protected from those wishing to avenge the victim until they, that is, the perpetrator, could come to trial, where their guilt or innocence could be established (Numbers 35:22-25).

And this is where the verses I quoted from the Apostle Paul comes into play, that these Cities of Refuge has a modern equivalent, and that is Jesus Christ.

The Cities of Refuge are a type of Christ, in whom sinners find a refuge from the destroyer of our souls, the avenger of blood, and that is Satan. Just as the guilty person, whether it was intentional or not, sought refuge in the cities set up for that purpose, so it is that we flee to Christ for refuge from sin.

The writer of Hebrews says that we can have this assurance, that we can flee and find refuge in Jesus to take hold of the hope that is then set before us (Hebrews 6:18).

We run to Christ to escape the danger we are in from the curse and condemnation of the law and from the wrath of God, which is an eternity in hell. Only Christ provides refuge from these things, and it is to Him alone that we must run.

Just as these Cities of Refuge were open to all who fled to them for safety, it is Christ who provides safety for all who come to Him for refuge from sin and its punishment.

Satan, the accuser, is that avenger that is out for blood and is out for every one of us. But the person who forsakes sin and seeks righteousness stands securely sheltered by the atoning blood of Christ (Exodus 12:13; 1 John 1:7, 9).

Solomon, who himself was no saint understood this when he wrote, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10 NKJV) King David knew that dwelling in God was his only refuge saying, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalm 91:2 NKJV)

The Cities of Refuge can then be viewed as a foreshadow of God’s plan for our salvation through Jesus Christ. But how do these cities resemble Jesus as our refuge? There are several aspects that I would like to explore with you.

The Cities’ Names

What I found fascinating is how each of these names speak of a particular feature of the character of God, and then of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, but when they are put all together, they reveal how sufficient God is, how sufficient Jesus Christ is in providing that refuge to meet the need of our day.

So, let’s take a look at these names and their meaning, and then how they resemble and speak of Jesus as our place of refuge.

Kadesh

Kadesh in the Hebrew language means, “holy,” to sanctify or sanctification. It has come to mean something or someplace that has been set apart for a specific purpose or plan, which always means that which has been set apart for God.

Now, the Bible speaks of God not only being holy, but His name is holy. Of the Lord, I love what Psalm 91:2.

“He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalm 91:2 NKJV)

But here is where it gets interesting. When speaking of the coming Messiah, the Lord called Him by His holy name, Jehovah, and part of the holy name is the name Righteousness.

“I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:5-6 NKJV)

And of Jesus being our righteousness, Paul said, “(The Lord) made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV)

Therefore, Kadesh is a sanctuary, a refuge and a place of rest. It was a place that a person was safe from fear, guilt, and punishment. You could say it like this, these cities of refuge are places where a person can be redeemed and made righteous once again.

And now look at how Jesus describes Himself saying, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NKJV)

And so, Jesus is our Kadesh, the Holy One, and is our sanctuary and place of rest and refuge through the storms we face in this life.

Shechem

The word Shechem in the Hebrew language means shoulder and was considered a place of strength and safety.

This name is then a beautiful picture of the Messiah and His purpose as spelled within the Old Testament.

The prophet Isaiah said, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6 NKJV)

And then later in spelling out the mission of the Messiah to suffer and die for our sins, Isaiah said this of the coming Messiah, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” (Isaiah 53:4a NKJV)

Jesus gives us this same idea of Himself being our Shechem saying, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28 NKJV)

And so, Jesus, as our Shechem, is our strength and surety in these troublous times we find ourselves in.

Hebron

Hebron is the Hebrew word for friend, and has come to mean to have an alliance, or to have fellowship.

When considering Hebron as a city of refuge, let me share with you something the Lord laid on my heart. It is in Hebron, the City of Refuge that we find both fellowship and friendship with God. But even more, we have fled to the city to find not only refuge, but to be judged not guilty and forgiven. But there is something further, and that is, in this place we also find and have friendship and fellowship with everyone else who’s dwelling there.

You see, everyone has forfeited his or her fellowship and friendship with God because of sin, but Jesus, our true Hebron, has reconciled us back unto God. The Apostle Paul said, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13 NKJV)

And it is with such an understanding that we have fellowship with God that Paul could give this benediction. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14 NKJV)

Bezer

The Hebrew word for Bezer comes from the word meaning a fortified enclosure, and so Bezer means a stronghold, or a fortress, that is a fortified place.

What a beautiful description of the Lord.

In Proverbs 18:10 it says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10 NKJV)

And in Psalms 18:2 it says, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalms 18:2 NKJV)

Christ is then our Bezer, and I love the way the Apostle Paul brings this out in his letter to the Colossian Church.

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God … For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4 NKJV)

And so in the times we are in, Jesus is our Bezer, that is, Jesus is our strong tower, and place of strength we can run to and find refuge and safety.

Ramoth

Ramoth in the Hebrew language means to be high, exalted, or heights.

These cities of refuge, and it would especially apply to Ramoth, were said to have been built on some raised place so that it would be visible to all who needed to flee to them. It is where they could see how much further they had to go.

What a great picture this is of Christ. The analogy can be seen in what He said to the religious leader, Nicodemus.

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15 NKJV)

Further, Paul says of Jesus, “God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV)

And so, all those who feel as if they are despised and rejected, can now in Christ be raised with Him.

King David said in Psalm 40:2. “(The Lord has) brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.” (Psalm 40:2 NKJV)

Paul said, “And God raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6-7 NKJV).

And so, as our Ramoth, Jesus is above and greater than all that comes against us, and so it is to Him that we must run to find help in our time of need.

Golan

The name Golan means refuge, but it also has within it the idea of rejoicing, that is, in their captivity they rejoice or have joy in the Lord, their refuge.

King David said, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11 NKJV)

And what is really neat is that Jesus is our Golan in that He is our chief joy, and there is nothing that can give us this fullness of joy but Him alone. He said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11 NKJV)

And it is this fullness of joy that we all can experience when we pass from this life into eternity as believers. When we stand before Jesus He will say, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.” (Matthew 25:21)

And so, through Jesus as our Golan, we can say, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 1:24 NKJV)

And so, with these names what we see is that Jesus is the holy one (Kadesh), the one who redeems as He takes upon Himself the sins of the world (Shechem), and because of that we can now have fellowship with God (Hebron). But even more, He is our stronghold, our strong tower in our time of need (Bezer), and is lifted above the fray (Ramoth) that whoever believes in Him will have the joy of eternal life (Golan).

And so hopefully you can see how the names of these Cities of Refuge are a beautiful picture of not only the character of God, but also how Jesus so perfectly is our place of refuge, one in whom we can run to in our time of need to find refuge and safety.

Now, if I could, there is one last thing I’d like to look at with you when it comes to these Cities of Refuge being a picture of Jesus.

The Roads for the Cities of Refuge

What got my attention about this is how it is brought out in Deuteronomy 19.

“You shall prepare roads for yourself.” (Deuteronomy 19:3a NKJV)

Although that doesn’t sound like much, just a command to get a road built so that those fleeing to the city can make it without too much difficulty. But I get something else, it’s like God is saying, prepare roads to these cities as if you were the one running for your life.

And while the cities were strategically placed so they could be easily reached within one day of travel or less (Joshua 20:9), these roads needed to be maintained for easy access. Further, it’s said that they also put-up signposts telling those fleeing that this is the way to refuge.

So it is with Jesus, He has prepared the way for us to flee to Him who is then the pathway to heaven and an eternity with God.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV)

But not only is Jesus the way, He is also the signpost that tells us that He is the way.

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15 NKJV)

Conclusion

And so, we come to the end of this first part of our study as we see Jesus as being our place of refuge as we looked mainly at the names of these cities and how they describe Jesus as our refuge. And then we looked at Jesus as the pathway leading to, and the signpost to tell us that we’re on the right road.

Next week I’d like to pick up our study on how these Cities of Refuge resemble Jesus, that He is not only our sure refuge from the avenger of blood, but also how He is our judge, the great High Priest.

But after that, I’d like to look a little closer not only at what Jesus rescues us from and is a refuge in, but also just what sort of refuge He is to all of us.









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