1. Hello, listening friends, and welcome to this broadcast.
2. This is the second to last broadcast in this series of messages from the book of Joshua.
3. In this series, we are learning how to follow God’s plan for our life.
4. And sometimes, in following God’s plan in our lives, we are forced to ask Him, “You want me to do what?”
5. In my personal experience, I have seen two types of people.
6. There are those who run from their heavenly Father when they sin and disobey,
7. and those who run to their heavenly Father when they are convicted of their sin and rebellion.
8. Your reaction to your disobedience depends on how you view your heavenly Father.
9. Do you view Him as a vindictive, arbitrary, angry God?
10. Do you think God will punish you when you seek forgiveness and so you run away from Him?
11. Or do you see Him as full of mercy, full of grace and compassion to the repentant sinner?
12. Now here’s the problem.
13. Many people equate their relationship with our heavenly Father with their relationship with their earthly father.
14. My listening friend, that’s a big mistake.
15. Whether your earthly father was gentle or harsh,
16. whether your earthy father was kind or unkind,
17. whether your earthly father was merciful or not,
18. whether your relationship with your earthly father was good or bad,
19. do not equate your earthly father with your heavenly Father.
20. The only way to truly know what God the Father is like is to read His Word in the Bible.
21. The only manifestation of what our heavenly Father is like is in the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
22. In the book of Joshua, chapter 20, we see a glorious glimpse of the character of our heavenly Father.
23. Here in chapter 20, God instructs His people to exercise justice and compassion.
25. By building six cities of refuge.
26. This was not a new concept to God’s people.
27. God has already given these instructions in Exodus 21, Numbers 35, and Deuteronomy 19.
28. Why would God stress the importance of building those cities of refuge four times in the Bible?
29. Because God wanted to stress the sanctity of human life.
30. God wanted to impress upon His people the value that God places on every life.
31. God wanted to emphasize the seriousness of killing another person, even if the death was accidental.
32. The law of God required life for life.
33. And the murderer was sentenced to death.
34. But if the death was accidental, the killer would not have to die.
35. He could go to the city of refuge.
36. However, the danger for him would come from vengeful family members who would want to kill the offender.
37. But God is the God of justice and mercy.
38. So God told His people to build six cities of refuge throughout the Promised Land.
39. These cities were built to shelter and protect people who had unintentionally killed someone.
40. And the roads to these cities of refuge were kept in excellent condition.
41. And the crossroad signs showing the way were clearly marked, “Refuge.”
42. But that’s not all.
43. Runners were also stationed along the road to guide the fugitives.
44. The runners would point out the direction of the city of refuge.
45. These runners would support the fugitive during his journey to the city of refuge.
46. These runners would guide him to the gates of the city of refuge.
47. And once the fugitive arrived at the city,
48. the fugitive would present his case to the city elders who formed the court of law.
49. The court would make a provisional decision to give him asylum until a proper trial was held.
50. If the manslayer was acquitted of premeditated murder,
51. this man had to live in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest.
52. After the death of the high priest, that person was free to go home and live in freedom.
53. My listening friend, I know some of you by now have some questions in your mind.
54. Some of you probably are asking, “Why is the man only free after the death of the high priest?”
55. Ah, because the high priest’s death was the only ransom for the manslaughter’s charge.
56. The death of the high priest was the only redemption for the guilty charge.
57. The death of the high priest was the only atonement for sin.
58. The death of the high priest was the only satisfaction for justice.
59. Can you see the importance of this, my listening friend?
60. Because that’s exactly how Jesus Christ acts on our behalf.
61. You and I are guilty people.
62. We were born guilty of inherited sin from Adam.
63. We were guilty by breaking the law of God.
64. We were guilty by living for self.
65. We were guilty of ignoring and snubbing a holy God.
66. Now whether we did this out of ignorance or full knowledge,
67. whether we did this deliberately or not,
68. the courts of heaven have convened and they pronounced us guilty as charged.
69. But perhaps some runner along the way told you that you can find the city of refuge.
70. You can find relief from guilt and escape from the grip of sin.
71. And when you arrived at the city of refuge, you received atonement and redemption because the great High Priest, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for you.
72. Now I want to tell all my listening friends who have confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior,
73. those who believe Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth as a man,
74. those who believe that Jesus died for your sins and was resurrected on the third day,
75. to those, I want to say that the reason you are redeemed is because the great High Priest died for you.
76. But there’s some more.
77. For those of you who are redeemed, now you have become runners for others.
78. We are the runners who point the way to the city of refuge.
79. We are the runners who help others find escape from death.
80. And that is why the Psalmist could look forward to the death of the great priest, Jesus, on the cross of Calvary, and say in Psalm 46 verse 1,
81. “God is our refuge and strength; an ever present help in time of trouble.”
82. That is why the Apostle Paul could look back on the death of the great High Priest, Jesus, on the cross of Calvary and say in Romans 8 verse 1,
83. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
84. And that is why the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews in chapter 6 verse 18 could say to us,
85. “Having fled for refuge and laying hold of the hope set before us.”
86. And that is why, my listening friend, no one who is in Jesus Christ needs to fear the judgment to come.
87. My listening friends, let me ask you this question.
88. When you make great mistakes in your life, do you run away from the only refuge for forgiveness and healing?
89. Or do you run into the refuge of the great High Priest, Jesus, who died on the cross and rose again for you?
90. Today, you can enter into the city of refuge.
91. Pray to God and say, “Lord, I know I’m a sinner and I cannot reach heaven by my own attempts.
92. I believe that Your perfect Son, Jesus Christ, who is God of very God, came to the earth as a man
93. so that He could sacrifice Himself for my sins by dying on a cross.
94. Lord, I understand that the only way to be saved from eternal damnation is to accept Christ’s gift of salvation.
95. Lord, please forgive me of my sins.
97. Now for those of you who already follow Jesus Christ, let me ask you this.
98. When you see people all around you who are desperate to find a city of refuge,
99. do you become that signpost to the city of refuge, or do you keep silent?
100. Are you running along the way, or have you abandoned your post?
101. Are you leading the way or have you lost your way?
102. Today, you too can pray to God,
103. “Lord, make me a runner for you.”
104. “Lord, make me a signpost to lead others to the city of refuge.”
105. And my great hope, my listening friend, is that all of my listening friends will enter into the city of refuge and seek the great High Priest, Jesus,
106. and then become runners and leading others who do not know Christ into the city of refuge.
107. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.