I Was Just Thinking About – SANCTUARIES.
In the daily news, we hear and read much about Sanctuary Cities. They are being established as part of a trend in this nation to deal with the emerging illegal or undocumented people entering the nation. Despite Federal Law, cities and states across the nation have chosen to defy rather than to comply with the Law. Overall, they are designed as safety zones for those who would otherwise be deported to their nation of origin.
Interestingly, when the children of Israel entered The Promised Land, cities of refuge were part of that inheritance. The Levites were the only tribe not to have a land designation inasmuch as they were priests of the Lord and the overseers of the Tabernacle, its rites and furnishings (Numbers 2:5-13). The Levites were to be scattered across the entire land and were to inhabit 48 cities (Numbers 35:6-7). Of those cities, 6 were designated as cities of refuge (Joshua 20:7-8).
The “Sanctuary Cities” of the Old Testament were for a much different purpose than those being set aside today. The Mosaic Law indicated that anyone who committed a murder was to be put to death (Exodus 21:14). However, for unintentional deaths, God’s Law required Cities of Refuge to which the murderer could flee (Exodus 21:13). In such a place, the murderer would be free from the avenger until the case would go to trial (Numbers 35:19). The designated peoples could judge the merits of the case and determine if the attacker acted maliciously or unintentionally. If the attacker left the place of refuge, the avenger would pursue his right to kill the murderer (Numbers 35:24-28).
There is a much different application for a “Sanctuary” that Randy Scruggs (1982) wrote as a prayer:
Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and true.
With thanksgiving, I'll be a living
Sanctuary for You.
It is you, Lord, Who came to save
The heart and soul, of every man.
It is you Lord, Who knows my weakness,
Who gives me strength, With thine own hand.
Lead Me on Lord, from temptation
Purify me, from within.
Fill my heart with, Your Holy Spirit
Take away all my sin.
Prayerfully – consider these things with me.