“Any of the Israelites or any foreigner residing among them who killed someone accidentally could flee to these designated cities and not be killed by the avenger of blood prior to standing trial before the assembly.” (20:9)
Our lives are terribly important to the LORD. All our lives. In most remote tribes, to this day, in the Amazon, Papua New Guinea, etc. vengeance is taken quickly and drastically. No exceptions for accidents, just vicious cycles of revenge.
The LORD has repeatedly stated that it’s important to keep the land free of innocent blood. It will negatively effect everyone. The idea of these cities of refuge are a holding place, a safe place, to ensure truth is found and justice is done.
In our own lives we can viciously attack each other, even if someone offends us by accident. In fact, this year, social media has (even more so) become a place of hasty attack. It’s verbal, cyber, tribal warfare out there and those who believe they have found a safe place to say something, are quickly proven wrong. I’d say this has negatively affected everyone.
How can we find God’s heart for patience, justice and reconciliation? How can we, ourselves, become safe places or cities of refuge? James says we are to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
Wait. Seek to understand. Don’t blindly continue the fight, but do the patient work of discovering people’s hearts and motives. And, for the love, remember vengeance is the LORD’s.
In all this sorting of what’s what and who gets to live where, be a city of refuge. They are close to the Father’s heart.