Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, October 1, 2017
This is devotional thought number 18 in our devotional series, “Removing the Veil: Sanctuary Living in the 21st Century.” Our subject is: Sanctuary Cities
Here’s the question for consideration: Is there a safe place for me if I have made a terrible mistake?
“He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death. And if a man lie not in wait, but God deliver him into his hand; then I will appoint thee a place whither he shall flee” (Exodus 21:12–13).
Place of Grace
God is not out to Get you. He is doing all possible to save you and everyone else. All of us have sinned and have made mistakes (there’s a difference). Therefore, all of us are worthy of the eternal death penalty. Seek sanctuary and be safe. There are circumstances that present themselves when we need extra grace as we get through the details of our sins and mistakes. God is ready to provide that grace when we need it.
I am going to share two passages of Scripture and make a solid point, and let you go. Here they are: “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come over Jordan into the land of Canaan; Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares. And they shall be unto you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment. And of these cities which ye shall give six cities shall ye have for refuge. Ye shall give three cities on this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge. These six cities shall be a refuge, both for the children of Israel, and for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them: that every one that killeth any person unawares may flee thither” (Numbers 35:9–15).
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no guile” (Psalm 32:1–2).
Wait with Him
If you’ll permit me, I would like to apply the original concept of sanctuary cities to our lives today. As you have already read, God made provision for the safety of individuals who unintentionally killed someone, to protect them from avengers until they had the opportunity to “stand trial.” We see remnants of the difference between premeditated murder, involuntary manslaughter, and many other variations in the law till this day. We also see the principle, related to other crimes or potential crimes, of sanctuary cities till this day.
As I thought about it and tried to apply it to my life, it hit me that all of us need sanctuary from the penalty for sin. What I mean, is that the Scriptures promise that those who sin must die. Oh, and the Scriptures say that all (besides Jesus) have sinned and fall short of God’s intention of our lives.
The blessing is that God has created a sanctuary provision for all of us until we stand trial. We have invested lots of time discussing various phases of God’s judgment. We will do that again soon. We will continue to discover that even in God’s judgment, with the reality that all of us have sinned, that it is possible to escape condemnation. We need time and a safe place while the details of our circumstances get worked out. Are you seeing where I am going with this?
The Only Dwelling Place
We have already seen in the prophet Ezekiel, where God is a sanctuary to His people. David said He is our fortress, resting place, and dwelling place to all generations. The prophet John saw that the Father and Son would be our temple in the new earth. So while we are being reconciled to God, learning to submit our wills to Him, confessing/forsaking our sins, He is our sanctuary to protect us from the immediate penalty for our sins. He is not holding our sins against us as we move along the journey, as long as we keep faith in Him. When all’s said and done and the judgment is complete, we can be found innocent of all charges if we retained the righteous covering of God throughout the process. Let God be your dwelling place until Jesus comes. #theprotestisnotover #sanctuary