The Book of Joshua

The Cities of Refuge – Part Five


THEME: Salvation Is for All Who Will Come
This week’s lessons teach about the priestly cities of refuge, and how they point the way to our own refuge found only in the Lord Jesus Christ.
SCRIPTURE:Joshua 20:1-3

A third parallel about these cities is that they were open to aliens as well as to Jews. It’s easy to apply that. The way to salvation—the way to life through Christ—is open to anyone. It’s open to you, no matter who you may be. You may say, “Well, I’m too old. I’ve lived a whole life and I’m now firmly fixed in my own pattern of behavior.” But why should you die and suffer in hell because of an earlier pattern of behavior?  That pattern can be undone. The Apostle Paul was in a rigorous pattern of behavior, but the Lord Jesus Christ reached him on the road to Damascus and turned him around radically. Why shouldn’t he do the same for you? 
You might say, “I’m too young. I’ve got my whole life ahead of me. I don’t want to do that.” I remember something Charles Spurgeon always used to say. In a number of his sermons, he commented, “If you’re old enough to sin, you’re old enough to die. And you’re old enough to believe in Jesus.” And that was true. You’re never too young to come to Christ. You say, “Well, I’m too stubborn.” You say, “Well, I’m too sinful.” You give all these reasons for why you can’t come to Jesus. Listen, the cities of refuge were open to all who had a need. And you have a need. Even if you don’t recognize it, you have a need. You’re under the judgment of God, and it’s only in the Lord Jesus Christ that you find a refuge from the judgment that rightly falls upon you. 
The fourth parallel is this: If a person in Israel who was guilty of manslaughter refused for whatever reason to flee to these cities, there was no hope for him. The avenger of blood would pursue him, and the man would be killed. And if you don’t flee to Jesus Christ, whom God has provided as your refuge, there’s no hope for you either. Like the avenger of blood, death is pursuing you, and it will lead to the judgment of God if you don’t come to Christ for your refuge. You don’t know how far behind death is. You don’t know whether death is going to catch you ten years from now, 20 years from now, or tonight. You don’t know how far away that reckoning is. But the reckoning is still there. The avenger of blood exists, and death will come. 
The Lord Jesus Christ says, “Come to me.” The Bible asks, “Why should you die?” The Word of God teaches us that God is gracious and has provided the way because Jesus has died in your place. All you have to do is come. Come because the way is open. Won’t you come? You may have heard these things for years, and yet have never come. You may have said, “You know, that sounds pretty good and all, and at any rate I enjoy the fellowship. And mostly I don’t have anything else to do on Sundays.” But you’ve never really come to Christ in a personal way. Why shouldn’t this be the day? Why put it off? If you come to Christ, if in your own heart, you say, “Lord Jesus Christ, I have heard this for a long time. And I know that all those things that I’ve heard are absolutely true. I have been running from you. I am a sinner. I am under your judgment. And what I really should be doing is running to you. And that’s what I want to do. I’ve run long enough. I don’t want to avoid any longer what I should do. I want you to receive me, open the gates of that city, and take me in.” If you do that, you’ll find that Jesus is already there. He’s already at work in your heart. And His arms are reaching out to embrace you. May you do that by the power of the Holy Spirit and for Jesus’ sake.  


What are the third and fourth parallels that Dr. Boice discusses?
What is the parallel to the avenger of blood in the application for everyone’s need of salvation?

Who among your family, or perhaps a very close friend, shows no real evidence of salvation, and who will therefore experience the awful judgment of God when death eventually overtakes them?  Pray that the Lord would open up ways for you to tell them of their desperate need.

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