Joshua has done an excellent job dividing the Promised Land between the Israelites. He really took charge and made sure that part of God’s plan was carried out efficiently. God steps in in this chapter, though, to make sure Joshua does not forget a very important detail of His plan – the cities of refuge. Maybe Joshua was getting around to designating them, but God says in this chapter: do it now. Don’t wait. These are important. I imagine lots of stuff was happening behind the scenes. We’ve already read about the laws and rules regarding murder and adultery and thievery and decided those rules were necessary because those things were happening. The Israelites weren’t perfect people, and I doubt they straightened up while a few guys were out surveying and conquering land. Still, even though the Israelites were misbehaving, God makes sure a number-one priority is to protect the accused and ensure justice. We all know, though, that refugee situations aren’t always black and white. I can imagine from present-day stories the kinds of tangled tales that resulted from these cities of refuge. If the Israelites murdered and stole, I’m sure they lied, too, and that’s where all the mess starts, isn’t it?
Writing prompt: cities of refuge
Write about the pros and cons of cities of refuge. How were they life-giving? How could they be misused? Pray to understand more and judge less.