Paul taught, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord'” (Romans 12.19).
God, who is perfectly holy and just, is perfectly able to right wrongs that have been inflicted on people.
Jesus taught that our ability to judge is faulty. He said, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.
“For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.
Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” (Matthew 7.1-3).
Because God is perfect and we are not, he gave us provisions to ensure justice and to limit revenge.
He commanded judges to not be partial, nor take bribes. They were to pursue justice and only justice (Deuteronomy 16.18-20).
God limited revenge by establishing six cities of refuge.
Cities of Refuge
Cities of refuge were designed to reduce the instance of revenge in the case of accidental death.
— Deuteronomy 19.1-5 – When the Lord your God has cut off the nations whose land the Lord your God is giving you, and you have dispossessed them and settled in their towns and in their houses,
You shall set apart three cities in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
You shall calculate the distances and divide into three regions the land that the Lord your God gives you as a possession, so that any homicide can flee to one of them.
Now this is the case of a homicide who might flee there and live, that is, someone who has killed another person unintentionally when the two had not been at enmity before.
Suppose someone goes into the forest with another to cut wood, and when one of them swings the ax to cut down a tree, the head slips from the handle and strikes the other person who then dies; the killer may flee to one of these cities and live.
Imagine a case where the accident in verse 5 occurred. Here’s how things may have worked out.
— The woodcutter accidentally kills his fellow laborer.
— The eldest male of the dead laborer’s family made plans to kill the errant woodcutter.
— The woodcutter would run to the safety of the nearest city of refuge.
— As long as the woodcutter stayed in the city of refuge, he was safe.
— The woodcutter could leave the city of refuge free and clear upon the death of the high priest.
Rudy Ross points out in our YouTube video today that the six cities of refuge became seven when Jerusalem became a city of refuge.
Rudy talks about how Jesus is our High Priest who died in Jerusalem. Every aspect of our sinful and rebellious life was forgiven by his death and resurrection.
Deuteronomy 19.8-10 describes the addition of three more cities of refuge that were to compliment the expansion of the nation. Verse 10 mentions innocent blood.
— Deuteronomy 19.10 – So that the blood of an innocent person may not be shed in the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, thereby bringing bloodguilt upon you.
Several years ago, I heard a message about the shedding of innocent blood. The speaker convinced me that the death of innocent people is a tremendous grief to God.
This past week our city was shocked by the shooting death of a young police officer. There has been outrage, grief, and an overwhelming amount of support for his survivors.
From the years 2001-2019, the Brown University “Cost of War Project” estimates the number of deaths from war violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to between 770,000 and 801,000.
The FBI estimates the annual number of homicides in America to range from a low of 13,000 to a high of nearly 20,000.
We know how difficult it is for families to lose loved ones through violence and war. Their grief is immeasurable and only really understood by others who have suffered as they.
No one loves people more than God. He is personal and feels deeply every injustice and crime. Imagine the heart of God, as he suffers for the multitudes whose innocent blood is shed on a daily basis.
The Most Innocent of All died on the cross more than 2,000 years ago. He died to forgive our sins and grant us a personal relationship with God.
As we praise God for his justice, let’s determine to pray and work for justice in the world. Let’s also remember that the good news of Jesus Christ and his love is the most powerful agent of change on earth.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross is a Jewish follower of Jesus Christ. Rudy is an excellent student of the Bible and a lover of God. He brings a wealth of information to this subject. Please take 10 minutes and listen to the YouTube video that Rudy and I have produced on the Bob Spradling channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.