Our City of Refuge

“You shall separate three cities for yourself.” Deuteronomy 19:7

In Latin, refuge means "a place to fly to for safety.” In the Book of Joshua, God told Joshua to set up three cities of refuge and this is how they worked. Let’s say that as you planted your crops, as you worked, you unintentionally hit the guy behind you, and he died from his injuries. Bummer! 

According to the culture at the time, it was up to the victim’s family to avenge his blood on you, so when the guy’s brothers heard about the accident, they would come hunting you to exact vengeance. But if you could flea to the nearest city of refuge, you could escape the victim’s next of kin, who would otherwise kill you on site.

Jesus is our City of Refuge. In John 6:37 Jesus said, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

During a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, a news report highlighted a new rescue device used on the oil rigs. In case of fire or (in this case) hurricane, rig workers scramble into the bullet shaped "bus" and strap themselves into their seats.

When the door is shut, the vehicle is released down a chute and projected away from the rig. The capsule then floats in the ocean until the rescuers come to pick it up.

Though your world be in flames around you, though it fall apart or topple in a hurricane, if you are found in Jesus you will be saved from the ultimate consequences of the storm. Your welfare depends on whether you are in the rescue device. Are you in Jesus Christ today? Have you come to Him for salvation?

We need the security of being under Christ’s protection. Jesus said he would not lose even one person whom the Father had given him. So, anyone who makes a sincere commitment to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior is secure in God’s promise of eternal life.

“Jesus, thank You for being our refuge and strength. By faith we come to You for rescue from the storms of this life. In Your name we pray, Amen.”

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Bob

Giving to God

“You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year.” Deuteronomy 14:22 

In the Old Testament, the Israelites tithed in order to support the Levites and priests because they weren’t given any land of their own. In Genesis 14, we read that Abraham brought a tithe to Melchizedek, who then blessed Abraham.

This system of giving provided a way for God’s people to put their trust in the Lord because it gave God an opportunity to show them His faithfulness in providing for their needs.

In Malachi 3:10 the Lord said “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”

“Try Me,” says the Lord. Out of all the passages in the bible this is the only one where God gives us permission to test His faithfulness when we give. While this verse was a part of God’s Old Testament covenant with Israel, I believe it has New Testament application for us today.

As a pastor I am often asked, “How much should I tithe as a Christian?” When Jesus taught His disciples about giving He said in Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

When you give to the Lord, He gives abundantly in return. Jesus paints the picture of a basket, filled to the top, pressed down and shaken together to make room for more, so just when you thought He has blessed you enough, you find your basket is running over, so you cannot possibly catch it all.

And it is this overflow that produces so much joy. Paul understood this principle, so in 2 Corinthians 9:7 he writes:  “God loves a cheerful giver.” The Greek word translated “cheerful” is hilaros, from which we get the word “hilarious.”

When you tithe, you are laying up treasure in heaven, which keeps your focus on heaven, but if you've laid up your treasures upon earth then your heart is going to be in the material things of this world.

“Father, how we love You and thank You for Your faithfulness to provide for Your people. We just bring all of our needs before you today and humbly seek your supply. In Jesus name, Amen.”

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Bob

© 2014