SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Unlike today, Israel did not have an established police system. The responsibility of catching and trying criminals rested on the elders and judges. God used the “cities of refuge” to promote justice in the land.
- “Cities of refuge” were established for anyone who claimed to have accidentally killed another person. These individuals were guaranteed safety as well as a fair trial while in the refuge.
- According to God’s Law and standard, every crime needed to be met with an appropriate punishment.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- The use of the “cities of refuge” beautifully display God’s blend of justice and mercy toward His people. God highly values justice and mercy (see Amos 5:24 and Micah 6:8).
- God holds human life precious and wants us to treat people fairly, for they are made in His image.
- We’re to imitate God and return good for evil, love for hatred, and sacrifice for selfishness (see 1 Peter 2:11–25).
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- How do you reflect God’s value for humanity in your daily life? Where do you need some improvement?
- How do you help alleviate injustice? How might you be able to serve the homeless, the widowed, the orphaned, the down and out, those in severe need, or maybe those caught in human trafficking?
- How can you better extend mercy to others? Especially those who don’t deserve it?