city of refuge

Human beings crave justice. The child who honestly complains that something is “not fair” is proving they were created in the image of God. When justice is delayed we recoil, knowing that “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11). On the other hand, the character of God makes allowance for both sides to be heard. After all, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17). In the Old Testament God directs the Jewish people to establish six cities that would serve as asylum for the accused (Numbers 35:6). It gave time for a fair trial, a sober verdict, and a just opportunity for the priest or state to bear the sword (Romans 13:4), but not the avenger or vigilante. In the same way Christ serves as our refuge from the just wrath of an avenging God. He is the ark (1 Peter 3:21), the refuge (Psalm 18:2), and the ultimate judge who combines punishment and grace in holy harmony. Through faith he maintains justice and rescues us at the same time (Romans 3:26).

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