Our Place of Refuge (Part 2)
January 10, 2022

Our Place of Refuge (Part 2)

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhHVs4uvp08

Last week, I began a two-part message talking about how Jesus is our refuge in these troublous times we find ourselves in. And the onus or burden of how He is our refuge came from the Old Testament example of how God told the Israelites to set up Cities of Refuge throughout the Promise Land to ensure that the innocent, those found ‘not guilty’ could be kept safe from those who sought their life, or who is known as the avengers of blood.

And so, from our study we saw how these Cities of Refuge were a foreshadow of God’s plan for our salvation through Jesus Christ and then how they resemble Jesus as our refuge. And we did so mainly by looking at the names of these cities and how they speak of a particular feature or character of God, and then of Jesus Christ. But when we put all these names together, we saw how they revealed just how sufficient God is, how sufficient Jesus is in providing that refuge to meet the need of our day.

This 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, that is, our great High Priest.

Jesus A Sure Refuge

This aspect of the character of God and of Jesus is seen in the book of Numbers, the 35th chapter.

“They will be places of refuge from the avenger, so that anyone accused of murder may not die before they stand trial before the assembly.” (Numbers 35:12 NKJV)

Going back to the purpose of these cities, when a situation arose where an individual unintentionally killed someone, the perpetrator was to flee to one of the six Cities of Refuge. Once arrived, they were to stand in front of the gate and plead their case to the elders of the city, who were required to admit the fugitive inside their gates and offer them asylum.

This is seen in what the Lord said to Joshua in Joshua 20.

“Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge … so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood. When they flee to one of these cities, they are to stand in the entrance of the city gate and state their case before the elders of that city. Then the elders are to admit the fugitive into their city and provide a place to live among them. (And) if the avenger of blood comes in pursuit, the elders must not surrender the fugitive.” (Joshua 20:2-5a NKJV)

Therefore, these cities of refuge became a sure refuge for them. But they were also required to be tried by the judges of the city in or near where the murder was committed, and if it was not a premeditated murder, but had been done accidentally or unintentionally, then they were restored to the city of refuge (Numbers 35:12, 24, 25).

But this wasn’t the end. The case then went before the High Priest, and if he ruled in favor of the fugitive, he was allowed to continue living in the City of Refuge until the death of the that High Priest. After that, the offender was free.

But, if the offender left the protection of the city before the death of the High Priest, then the one who sought vengeance had the right to kill him without being guilty of murder (Numbers 35:26-27).

So, how does all this relate to Jesus being our sure refuge.

When John the Baptist saw Jesus he proclaimed, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29 NKJV)

The Apostle Paul said, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’).” (Galatians 3:13 NKJV)

And then to the church in Rome Paul said, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” (Romans 8:33-34 NKJV)

And so, Jesus, as that sacrificial lamb, as the Lamb of God, He took upon Himself our sins and died upon the cross to set us free from the law of sin and death. And He is now at the right hand of the Father forever making intercessions for us, that Satan, the avenger of blood, cannot make an accusation against us stick, for we are now found not guilty in Christ.

Therefore, with this clearly in view, the writer of Hebrews tells us of Jesus as our sure refuge saying that “We might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. (And) this hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence (Of God) behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever.” (Hebrews 6:18-20 NKJV)

And it is in this that we come to our final point of how the Cities of Refuge resemble Jesus as Jesus becomes our High Priest.

Jesus Our High Priest

We are told of the blessing that is ours as Jesus has become our great High Priest. This is brought out quite succinctly by the writer of Hebrews.

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16 NKJV)

Earlier the writer of Hebrews said that Jesus, who is God, became a human being like you and I so that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in order to make the necessary atoning sacrifice for us, which was done through the sacrifice He made there upon the cross (Hebrews 2:17).

And then in Hebrews 6:18 we are told that it was through the shedding of His blood that Jesus offers us protection from eternal death and separation from God if we confess our sins and take refuge in Him.

And so, the High Priest is a type of Christ, and as our refuge this has special significance.

Earlier I said that after the case was heard by the elders of the city and then by the judges within the city where the person was killed. If found innocent the perpetrator then went before the High Priest, and if he ruled in favor of the fugitive, he was allowed to live within that City of Refuge until the High Priest’s death. Then the offender was free.

And so it was, that our great High Priest, Jesus Christ, died, was buried, and rose from the dead. And it was in and through His death and resurrection that He set free all those who flee to Him as their refuge. But here’s the catch, until that time comes when we are with Him in heaven, we cannot pass beyond the borders and walls of His refuge.

You see, the perpetrator who is found innocent, must remain in the City of Refuge, but if He wanders and leaves the city, he is no longer protected. The one who had fled for refuge could not spend part of his time outside the city, and the remainder within its sheltering walls. There was no safety at any time outside the city.

“But if the slayer ever leaves the limits of the city of refuge, and the avenger finds him outside the city and kills him, it will not be considered murder. The slayer should have stayed inside the city of refuge until the death of the high priest. But after the death of the high priest, the slayer may return to his own property.” (Numbers 35:26-28 NLT)

Knowing this and with Jesus being our great High Priest, it is not sufficient simply to say that we believe in Christ; we must abide in Him if we ever hope to obtain life. In other words, we must remain in Him as our refuge.

The Apostle John said, “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11-12 NKJV)

On our need then to abide in in Him, Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you … If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned … As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:4, 6, 9 NKJV)

As it comes to this aspect of Jesus as our High Priest, and of our need to abide within Him, here is the blessing, that even the weak can be strengthened, and can never then be defeated by the enemy, the avenger of blood, Satan. And because our great High Priest, Jesus, died, and rose from the dead and is even now seated at the right hand of the Father, we can have the assurance, that when this life is over, we will be with Him in our forever home, as Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3 NKJV)

Now, if I could, I like to take a closer look 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.

First, Jesus rescues us from and is a refuge in

Temptations

Satan doesn’t sit back and do nothing. To Peter Jesus said, “Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” (Luke 22:31 NKJV) Satan is also shooting fiery darts of accusations against us, which is why Paul tells us to take up the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16).

And so, Jesus not only rescues us, but is our refuge in these times of temptations.

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15 NKJV)

You see, Jesus is our perfect refuge, because He understands what we go through, going through it Himself there in the wilderness as He was tempted by Satan three times, but never succumbed, always quoting the word of God to Satan until Satan left Him.

And so, Jesus is our perfect refuge.

Adversity

When it seems like everything and everyone forsakes us, when the world is directly opposed and adverse to us, and when all appear to be against us, and all worldly resources are no longer at our disposal, Jesus is always there to rescue us and be our refuge.

For you see, we are not alone, Jesus is always with us. And these times of adversity should not take us by surprise, instead we should approach them with the knowledge that Jesus has overcome, thus making us overcomers with Him.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV)

And we see this with the stories of many within the Bible like Job and Joseph. But also, with King David who said that because Lord was on their side, they were able to escape the snares of the enemy (Psalm 124).

Affliction

It is in these times when our health has been exchanged for sickness, our strength exchanged for weakness, when our joy has been exchanged for sadness, and when our heart and flesh fail us, that Jesus comes in and rescues us and is our refuge.

In His ministry here on earth, Jesus went all about healing people, not only their physical ailments, but also emotionally and spiritually as well.

To the leper who came to Jesus saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” And Jesus put forth His hand and touched the leper saying, “I am willing, be cleansed.” (Matthew 8:2-3 NKJV)

And this is the hope the woman with the issue of blood had, as she said, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” And Jesus responded to her reaching out to Him by saying, “Your faith has made you well.” (Matthew 9:21-22 NKJV)

And so, Jesus not only rescues us from, but He is also a refuge to us in times of temptations, adversity, and affliction.

But before I end our time together, I’d also like to look at just what type of refuge Jesus is for us.

Omnipotent

Jesus is our absolute and without question refuge, for He is God Almighty. Proclaiming His birth, the prophet Isaiah called Him by this very name saying He is the “God the Mighty One” (Isaiah 9:6).

The Apostle Paul said of Jesus, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8:35 NKJV)

There in the Garden of Gethsemane, when they came to arrest Jesus and Peter pulled out his sword to protect Jesus, Jesus said, “Put your sword in its place … do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:52-53 NKJV) (12 legions comes to 288,000)

Jesus is our omnipotent refuge.

Omnipresent

When looking at these Cities of Refuge, this aspect of Jesus as our refuge comes in two parts. First, he is always near and never far away, just as each City of Refuge was no more than a day away for anyone to reach.

Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20 NKJV)

And of Jesus 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 the second aspect of the Cities of Refuge is that they were easily assessable.

Jesus is not only near to us, but He is always open to receive our prayers and to give us rest.

Going back to Jesus as our High Priest, the writer of Hebrew said that because He is our High Priest we can “Come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)

And Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NKV)

Unchanging

And because He is our unchanging refuge, Jesus is then our eternal refuge.

The Lord proclaimed through the prophet Malachi, “I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). And it is this unchangeable nature of God that is clearly present in Jesus, as the writer of Hebrews says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV)

And we see the same thing about Jesus as our refuge in these times of trouble as the Apostle Paul said, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13 NKJV)

And so, as that sure refuge in times of trouble, Jesus is our omnipotent, omnipresent, and unchanging refuge that we can run to.

Conclusion

In Jesus we have a city of refuge to which we are encouraged to flee to for protection from the avenger of blood, Satan, who is after our very soul.

Therefore, there can be no delay in seeking after Jesus, so that we can have the strong consolation as the writer of Hebrews tells us about, having fled to Jesus and laying hold of that hope He has for us, the hope of forgiveness and to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord”

And so, while God has made provision for us through the refuge of His Son, Jesus, it is up to us, to not only choose to flee to Him, but also to abide in Him. Because it has always been at the heart of God to provide for us grace, mercy, and forgiveness of sins, which is what we have seen through these Cities of Refuge He commanded to be set up.

Therefore, have you fled to Jesus as your refuge? If not, can you not see how precarious this life is, especially within these last several years? But also understand that the wages of sin, unforgiven by God, is death. And that’s because God is a just God, and as such He cannot let sin go unpunished. That is why He sent His Son, Jesus, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish in their sins but have everlasting life.

So, today, if you haven’t fled to Jesus for His forgiveness, then be wise and not foolish, and come to Him and ask Him to be your Savior and Lord, and to forgive you of your sin and to then make you into a brand-new creation in Him.









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