Oops! There are no do-overs where death is concerned. When you’re dead, you’re dead. We hear often of people cleaning their guns and accidentally killing themselves or others. Or hunting accidents with some mishap where a friend is killed instead of the coveted deer. In times like those, there is not only guilt and anguish, but often times jail time or a tarnished record to deal with. Today’s passage has a solution for those situations where no malice or evil intent is present.
God wanted three cities in a “district” or region to be set aside as safe havens for those types of offenders. God did not see these people as guilty of murder, and he wanted to provide the a refuge of safety. You can imagine the loved ones of those killed would not be so full of grace and mercy. By protecting the “not guilty” one, he was also protecting others from acting in a fury of revenge which would make them guilty of murder.
If you were like me, as you were reading along, I wondered what would stop the truly evil murderer from escaping to such a city of refuge? The passage cleared that up, too. Agents would be sent to capture and return the murderer to his accusers for punishment and death. In those cases, the city would not be a refuge.
The plan sounds like it is coming from a compassionate God indeed. Moses explained, “That way you will prevent the death of innocent people in the land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession. You will not be held responsible for the death of innocent people….Purge from Israel the guilt of murdering innocent people; then all will go well with you.”
The other line that really spoke to me today was about God enlarging our territory. He has entrusted each of us with our circle of friends, family, and acquaintances. Have you ever prayed for God to enlarge your territory so that you can help or serve more people? It was a good reminder to me to be a good steward to those I do know and care for.
With this devotional blog and my devotional book series, I pray that God is enlarging my territory. God has put this on my heart to be using my gifts and my passions to help others in their own relationship with him. While I spend my quiet time with God as I have always wanted, I am able to turn that into something good for others, for you. It is my prayer that the words you are reading are being used by God to encourage you and draw you closer to your creator, too.
Let’s pray… Lord, thank you for your compassionate ways and how you show mercy on us all. Thank you for how you look out for the innocent and protect us. Use me God to bring people to you. Enlarge my territory so I can reach more people with your life-saving message. Thank you for the gifts you have given me to do just that. In Jesus’ name. Amen.