Posts Tagged ‘Levites’

City of RefugeFrom the early beginning of the world God made provision for those who shed innocent blood.

Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” Genesis 9:6

You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.” Numbers 35:33-34

The nearest relative of the murdered man was usually the one who executed judgment. But even then God made provision for overreaction. So to prevent undue haste in reaction to murder, God made provision for the accused person to flee to the Tabernacle and lay hold of the altar. No one could be taken from the altar without an examination, and if it was found that the murderer had planned to kill the man, then he was taken from the altar and slain; otherwise his life was spared. (Ex. 21:13,14)

After the children of Israel entered the promised land, six cities were set apart as cities of refuge. These were conveniently located, three on each side of the river Jordan. (Joshua 20:2,7,8) The cities were on elevated ground, and could be seen at a distance.

God Establishes RefugeGod set rules for these cities of refuge. Joshua 20:3-6 & Numbers 35

  1. Refuge was for one who had killed accidentally or unintentionally. If the trial showed him to have killed purposely, he was a murderer and must be put to death (Numbers 35:15-21).

  2. The roads leading to these cities were always to be kept in good repair, that the one fleeing before the avenger of blood might not be hindered in his flight. (Deut. 19:3)

  3. Coming to the gate of the city, he would tell his case to the elders. Gates of those cities were places of city government. The elders would hear the fugitive’s story and give him a place of safety in the city.

  4. The avenger of blood—the relative of the slain one who inherited his property and had the right to kill his murderer—could not touch the fugitive while in the city of refuge.

  5. The accused would be brought to trial before the congregation—a court made up of representatives of the people.

  6. God Establishes Refuge2If judged a willful murderer, he would be slain by the avenger of blood.

  7. If judged innocent of intent to kill, he was given safe asylum in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest.

  8. If he was found out of the city, the avenger of blood was allowed to kill him (Numbers 35:26-28).

  9. At the death of the high priest, the man was to return to his home, the case closed.

  10. These rules applied to all, Israelite and stranger alike.

God establishes Refuge3The cities of refuge served as a protection for only those who had slain a person without malice or forethought. The cities of refuge were cities belonging to the Levites, thus those confined within were under the best influence. They were associated with the religious teachers of Israel, and had every opportunity to reform their lives and establish righteous characters.

The Cities of Refuge Reveals God’s PURPOSE

Nehemiah 9:17 “They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.”

God desires that we live according to His desire His Word, and not by man’s ideas of what is right and wrong. God delights in JUSTICE (mishpat) and the requires things set in order, made right.

Micah 7:18 “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.”

Cities of Refuge RevealThe Cities of Refuge Reveal God’s POWER

But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place to which he may flee. But if a man willfully attacks another to kill him by cunning, you shall take him from my altar, that he may die. Exodus 21:13-14 King James: “but God deliver him into his hand”

Life is indeed precious to Almighty God. We can cry “why did God let this happen” when a loved one is accidentally killed, for that is exactly what happened. God delivered them into his hand.

  • When someone falls asleep at the wheel, or has a heart attack at the wheel and their car or truck swerves into the oncoming lane, killing one or more persons, God delievered those people into their hand.
  • When a stray bullet strikes a Mom on her way home from Starlight, God delivered her into the bullets hand.
  • We will never realize how powerful and awesome God truly is while clothed in mortal flesh. But God says in His word, there are no accidental deaths. God is at work 24/7.

My times are in Your hand” Psalms 31:15
“Unto God the Lord belong the issues from death” Ps. 68:20
“The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. 1 Samuel 2:6

The gates of the grave open unto none except at the command of the Most High, and when He gives the word none can withstand it.

The Cities of Refuge Reveal God’s Priority

City_of_RefugeBy limiting the time of his banishment by the high priest’s death, honor was put upon the priesthood—as it had been in selecting those cities, for they all belonged to the Levites. “The high priest was to be looked upon as so great a blessing to his country, that when he died their sorrow upon that occasion should swallow up all other resentments” (Matthew Henry).

Judging of these matters was the responsibility of the Levites, God’s Servants, not some man made government.

The instruction in regard to the cities of refuge was but a part of the great system of Levitical laws and ceremonies which taught the simple truths of the gospel of Christ. Tyndale says that “while there is a ‘starlight of Christ’ in all the Levitical ceremonies, there is in some so truly the ‘light of the broad day,’ that he can not but believe that God had showed Moses the secrets of Christ and the very manner of His death beforehand.” Dr. Adam Clarke says the whole gospel could be preached from the particulars given of the cities of refuge.

  • In Philippians 3:9, where the apostle, after announcing and then renouncing all his natural advantages as a Hebrew, counting them but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord, expresses the desire that he might be “found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
  • Hebrews refers to God’s Refuge in Chapter 6 verse 18: speaking of those who have “fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Heb. 6:18), i.e. in the Gospel: reminding us of the prayer of David, “Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto Thee to hide me” (Ps. 143:9)

Comparison of the Cities of Refuge with Jesus Christ:


The Very Names of the Cities of Refuge Picture Jesus Christ.

  • Kadesh signifies “holy,” and Jesus Christ, the Holy One of God, is made unto the believer sanctification as well as righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30)—how deeply suggestive that this is the first mentioned, that in the Redeemer we have a sanctuary of holiness.
  • Shechem means “shoulder,” which is ‘the place of strength (Isa. 9:7) and of safety (Luke 15:5)—under the government of Christ the believer finds security.
  • Hebron means “fellowship,” and through Christ His people are brought into communion with the Father and with the Holy Spirit.
  • Bezer means “a fortified place” and “The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble” (Nah. 1:7); therefore “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust” (Ps. 91:2).
  • Ramoth means “height” or “exaltation”: in Christ we are elevated above the world, made to sit in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6).
  • Golan means “exultation” or “joy,” and “we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:11).

Refuge - Gods Purpose for ChurchThe Cities of Refuge Reveal God’s Purpose for the Church

1. Appointed

Just as God appointed Christ to be the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world “slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8), so did God appoint the church to be Christ’s body here on earth:

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, Colossians 1:24.

And through the church the gospel is preached, through the church God’s power and wisdom is revealed to rulers and authorities in heavenly places. “This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord”, Ephesians 3:8-11

2. Shelter

Cities of RefugeThe one who kills someone was to immediately seek shelter in the city of refuge.

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:18-19

God provides a shelter from the avenger in the church. Likewise, the church is to be a shelter from the world, and the corruption that is in it.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

3. Visible

church is visible light of GodThe cities were all atop a hill, visible for miles.

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32

“God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31).

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

4. Clear Purpose

city of refugeThe road to the city was plainly marked out.

  • “Thou shalt prepare thee a way . . . that every slayer may flee thither (Deut. 19:3). Jewish writers say it was a law in Israel that one day in every year there were persons sent to repair the roads leading to them, to remove all stumbling-stones which might by time have fallen in the way, and to see also that the signposts which were set up at every corner leading to the city were carefully preserved, and the name Miklac (that is, refuge) legible upon them.

Jesus commands to His church were very simple:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

5. Humility

Only those who did not intentionally murder were given refuge.

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:36-38

The church is not a place for those who continue in sin. The cross of Christ is the Cornerstone of the church and we must continually die daily to what we want and live for what Christ desires. There is no place for pride, flesh or continual sin against Christ in His body.

6. Abide

cities of refuge 3The one seeking refuge had to depend upon the city of refuge for his safety. He HAD to stay within the confines of the city walls.

The cities were all the home of the Levite Priests. They were to abide in their care. The church is the body of Christ. We must depend upon the church for guidance, for strength. It is to be a place of healing and edification.

7. Non-Exclusive

Church is a refuge for allThe City of Refuge was open to all, even gentiles that recognized its authority. The church is to have a witness so that anyone hurting or seeking a new life would find refuge in the authority and power of Jesus Christ.


The Jews were to possess their promised land, representing the blessed and abundant life with God. They were to rid the land of the world, the ungodly influences that would try to steal their affections from God. The Cities of Refuge meant that people should seek refuge within their own people and not have to run to the world.

Worldliness a Heart Matter

Christ reveals that the heart of any matter is a matter of our heart.

The thing which is to distinguish the church is the presence of Jesus Christ and thus the absence of the world and all worldly influence.

Now most of us think of worldly influence as being something we can see: tattoos, piercings, spiked hair, drugs, bad language, stealing, disrespect, hatred, fleshly sins. But Jesus Christ reveals that worldliness is an attitude: Let’s look at Mt 5:21-26

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:21-25

Jesus says that you don’t have to literally kill someone to be a murderer. All you have to do is dishonor them in your heart by insulting them or by belittling them! Your RIGHT heart attitude toward your brothers and sisters is so essential that God doesn’t even want your offering until you go and clear up your attitude toward your brother.

What is WorldlinessWhat is Worldliness?

This world is under the temporary control of Satan. Jesus secured all authority over Satan by defeating him. He has given that authority to the church. The Kingdom of Jesus is not of this world, it is not in food and drink, it is invisible, because it is in our heart, our soul.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:18

Following Christ does not mean you follow a set of rules, but you abide in the Savior. It requires a dependant, living relationship.

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:19

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. John 17:16

Likewise, to follow Satan does not mean following a set of rules, but just the opposite, you do what you want. It too is the reflection of your heart attitude.

James 4:1-12

  • You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4

Following Satan means you follow your own way, you are worldly, you are an enemy of God. God required that the Jews destroy the Canaanite inhabitants, because if left there, they would influence their hearts and cause them to leave God.

From James we see the heart condition of worldly people.

  1. Quarrel
  2. Lack self-control
  3. Covetousness
  4. Proud
  5. Selfish
  6. Unfaithful Heart
  7. Friendly to the World
  8. Double-minded
  9. Speak evil of others
  10. Judge their brothers

Worldliness is revealed THROUGH our speech.

The way we talk about others reveals whether our heart is worldly or Godly.Worldliness revealed by what we say

The solution from James is to humble yourself and return to God, to realize Satan’s influence on your life and flee him, cleanse your hands, purify your heart, wait on God to lift you up rather than trying to exalt yourself. Realize how your heart attitude has offended God, realize that you must mourn and weep because you realize the severity of your sin.

So the thing which is to distinguish the church is the presence of Jesus Christ and thus the absence of the world and all worldly influence.


How do we become worldlyRomans 1 provides a glimpse into a worldly heart. I believe that we are born with an innate awareness of God. A child has no trouble understanding that there is a God who made them, who loves them, who watches them. Somewhere down the line we get too smart, and self reliant.

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, Romans 1:21-22

When confronted with God and what he expects, we turn our back.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. Romans 1:28

How does a Christian become worldly? – You act like the world! Look at how worldly people become more worldly…

  1. Dishonorable-you do not practice God’s Honor principles that we went through at the beginning of the year.
  2. Refuse to acknowledge God as God over a situation in your life. You leave God out, either because you are bitter over what’s going on, or because you don’t want to follow the commands of Christ.
  3. Lean on your own understanding-debased mind, reprobate mind- A worldly persons mind is turned upside down. The things that are wrong and shameful are ok. You justify what you do as being practical, logical.
  4. Your life begins to exhibit unrighteousness:

Unrighteous Behavior: evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness, gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.Not only that, but Christians who are becoming worldly will condone such practices in other Christians.They condone such practices in other Christians. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

A Worldly Christian is one whose heart and mind is not in obedience to God’s Word by intent. You know what Christ says but you chose to ignore it or not do it. Furthermore, a worldly Christian is intentional in their practices.

How to become GodlyThe Choice is to have a Godly Walk or a Worldly Walk

Ephesians 4:1-3

Walk in a Manner Worthy of Who Lives in You! Your Godly walk will demonstrate the following attitudes:

  1. Humble
  2. Gentle
  3. Patient
  4. Bearing Love [Bearing – anecho Spoken of persons, to bear with, have patience with in regard to the errors or weaknesses of anyone —CWSD]
  5. Eager for Unity in the Spirit

Do Not Walk as the Worldly Walk! Eph 4:14-32 Worldly Walk is like this:

  1. Darkened in their understanding
  2. Hardhearted Alienation
  3. Callous
  4. Given to sensuality
  5. Deceitful desires corrupt them.


put on the new man in christ1How do you know you have put on the new man? Not by the things you do, but by your speech, the things you say about others is what reveals your heart!

  • Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, Ephesians 4:15
  • Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Ephesians 4:25
  • Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:29-32

Now why does the way you talk about others reveal whether you are worldly or not? Look at Matthew 12:34-37

You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:34-37

search me and know my heartThe Way you speak about others reveals the condition of your heart! Colossians 3:8

  • But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:8-14
  • Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

First Worldly ChurchThe First Worldly Church

Look at what Paul thought of the First Worldly Church at Corinth: 2 Cor. 12:20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.

hostility – strife, self ambition is the gr eritheía; gen. eritheías, fem. noun from eritheúō (n.f.), to work for hire, usually in the mid. voice, used in a bad sense of those who seek only their own. Contention, strife, rivalry. It represents a motive of self-interest “seeking to win followers,” “factions,”, —Complete Word Study Dictionary, The

Whisperer <G5588>: ψιθυριστής, psithyristēs ψιθυρισμός, psithyrismos; “a whispering,” is used of “secret slander” in 2 Cor. 12:20 . For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; 2 Corinthians 12:20

Backbiter is katalalos,. synonomous with whisperer. The only distinction is that one is in secret, the other is open. But bottom line is they are evil speaking of another.

  • Backbite stabs em in the backPaul is fearful that when he gets to Corinth he will find the church there with contentions, backbitings, whisperings.
  • We see the same two words mentioned back in Romans 1:30. NKJV: evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God,
  • Katalalia is also used in 1 Peter 2:1-3. The King James translated “evil-speaking” while most others use “slander” “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. 1 Peter 2:1-3

Synonymous with slander or evil speaking is the greek word blasphemia, which we get blasphemy from.

blasphemous or a blasphemer. Blasphemy, verbal abuse against someone which denotes the very worst type of slander mentioned in Matt. 15:19 with false witnesses; wounding someone’s reputation by evil reports, evil speaking. See Mark 7:22; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; 1 Tim. 6:4 [cf. 2 Pet. 2:11]; Jude 1:9 (blásphēmos , a blasphemer); —Complete Word Study Dictionary, The

Why would slander and evil speaking be a form of blasphemy?

When you slander someone, when you speak evil of someone, you are committing blasphemy against a creation of God.

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. Matthew 15:18-19

Such shedding of blood not only defiles the conscience of the murderer, who is thereby proved not to have eternal life abiding in him (1 John 3:15), but also pollutes the land in which the crime was committed, being abominable to God and to all good men.

  • Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:15
  • If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:20-21
  • Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:1-5

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved. Psalms 15:1-5

What prevents the the church from being a Place of Refuge?

When you Grieve the Spirit of God!

grieve the holy spirit by our speechAnd do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:30-32

SO What DO I DO?

Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:5-12

James tells us how to get rid of worldly attitudes and worldly ways:

  1. Submit to God – God’s ways must be supreme

  2. Resist the devil – this is a constant spiritual warfare

  3. Cleanse your hands – confess sin and do some spiritual scrubing.

  4. Purify your hearts – Give all your affections, needs, desires to God. Love Him with ALL your heart. Confess those secrete desires and inadequacies that prompt your worldliness.

  5. Be wretched and mourn and weep – take time to discover how your sin has hurt God. Take time to cry for your worldliness. Take time to hold on to the altar and weep for your sin.

  6. Humble yourself before the Lord – Realize your nothingness before Him. Realize that there is no room for pride in your life. Lay everything before Him.

  7. Wait for Him to lift you up.

  8. In the mean time, stay on constant guard against judging and speaking evil of others.

Church is to be a RefugeIf you want our church to be a place of Refuge for the fallen, for the hurting, for the weak, for the oppressed, then we must take the worldliness and cast it off. We must speak from hearts of love, hearts that are being obedient to Jesus Commands.

We must put on the new self in Jesus Christ. We must root out worldly hearts and attitudes from the Church and put on Jesus Christ, our Rock, our Refuge!

There are fallen who need a place of refuge. Jesus has given three commands that address our relationships with those that offend or hurt us:

Be Reconciled Matthew 5:24–25 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Judge Not Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Go To Offenders Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.

Walk Talk Worthy of your callingIf we practice these commands in the spirit of forgiveness we will live by Ephesians 4:32  “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”


Reading Joshua 3-5, I pause to ask myself, “am I willing to Step Out by Faith and Start Stacking Stones that are Worth Remembering for all Eternity?” What stones have I stacked that cause my children and grandchildren to ask “What do these mean?” Am I stacking any Stones that have made an impact on the eternity of other people?

The day has arrived when the Israelites are going to step out in faith and cross a raging Jordan River. Normally it would be no problem to ford the river. In fact there is today a place that you can ford the river to cross to Jericho. At this time, the Bible indicates that the River was in flood stage. And unfortunately, the Israelites, all 2-3 million of them, were not like this guy and able to walk on water. Of course it took a charging bull for him to learn. I doubt if he got very far.Walking on Water

So what could the the Israelites do but trust in the Power of God! Have you ever wondered why the Canaanites didn’t assemble an army across the Jordan? I think there were two reasons: First, it was the time of the barley harvest, and the Canaanites were busy with their harvest. Second, the Jordan River, normally only 20 to 60 yards wide, had swollen to nearly ¾ of a mile wide. They thought there was no way the Israelites could cross the River now. They thought they could finish the harvest, let the flood waters recede, and then assemble an army to confront the invaders. In order to understand, let me read an account from 1894, when the Jordan was not dammed up like it is today.

In order to understand how the river appeared when it was thus out of its banks, let me state that the valley fourteen miles wide, lies about seventy-five feet higher than the bed of the river. As you walk across the valley toward the river, you come to a bluff, not very steep usually–in some places too steep for a horse to go down, in others a gradual slope–and you look down seventy-five feet into a river bottom, from a half mile to a mile wide. Now a river which falls as rapidly as the Jordan (falling nearly seven hundred feet in sixty miles) has a rapid current when it is low; but when it is so swollen that it leaves its crooked channel, and its waters rush in a direct line toward their resting place, we can see at once with what a terrific force it plunges along. And as that valley is full of small trees and underbrush, thick and rank of growth, you can see that as the water would be tearing its way over the brush and the tree tops, it would be a fearful sight to look at, and to think of marching across it would appear preposterous. THE RIVER JORDAN by J. W. MCGARVEY. 1894

joshua-leadsCrossing the Jordan required a leader who did not think like normal man thinks. It required a leader in touch with God! Joshua was the Leader who saw the Invisible! He followed the dictates of an unseen God, the Creator of the Universe. God had declared that Canaan was theirs. He would cause the hearts of the Canaanites to melt before the Israelites, His Presence and Power was going to be with them, so therefore, be  Strong and Very Courageous. Once again Jehovah God is about to show His awesome power to an obedient people.

Joshua 3:3-6 (NKJV) and they commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.” And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” Then Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, “Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.


Joshua is divided into two sections:


Both these sections are governed by one prominent feature. They are governed and characterized by what we may call the Levitical feature; that is, the Levites are seen to have a place of very great pre-eminence and importance in both sections. Here at the very beginning it is all about the Levites carrying the Ark of Testimony. The priests, the Levites, as they are mentioned in chapter one, indicates there is now no distinction between the two as in the days of Aaron. Now the Levites are the Priests, and they are charged with carrying the Ark of God, the Testimony of God, which contains the Word of God. The Ark has taken the place of the Pillar of Fire at night. The Ark is God’s constant abiding presence, just as God had promised Joshua. The Ark represents not only the Presence of God, but the Power of God’s Word, for it contains the Law of God.

The Importance of the Levites and their orderly handling of the Ark, and their centrality of position, is “that ye may know the way by which you must go” (Josh 3: 4).

Who is on the Lord's SideGod has always expected a select group of people to take responsibility for His Testimony, for His Word! He expects the same of Pastors and Preachers today! From the very first cry of Moses in Exodus 32:26 “Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me!”, the Levites were distinguished by their utter devotion and zealousness for obedience to God and His Word. That is why they alone answered Moses Cry, and proceeded to kill 3000 of the people who were worshiping the golden calf.

The centrality of the Levites indicates that this conquest of Canaan was not to be a physical thing. It was to be a spiritual battle. Only those who adhere strictly to following God would be victorious. In claiming our inheritance for God, we MUST see it as a SPIRITUAL battle. This is not a work of the flesh so that you can look back over your life and say “See what I accomplished! See how much I have gained.” No that is not the inheritance that God wants. His is a spiritual inheritance, that is gained not by hard work, but by obedience, faith, humility, trust.

God offers an inheritance of family unity in the midst of roaring rivers, family unity in the face of giant enemies, family salvation in the face of tumbling walls. Oh the Joy of being able to see your entire family claim their inheritance in Heaven. Oh to see a country of Tompkins (or whatever your family name is) in the New Earth. This is a Spiritual Journey, a Spiritual Undertaking. We need the Power of the Holy Spirit!

The greatest thing that matters is to have the Lord, to see the Lord, to possess the Lord, to rest in the Lord. Life is a series of raging rivers that are impossible to cross, and the Lord uses those rivers to ask us: “Is it in ME that your confidence rests? Am I alone sufficient for your trials? Am I more to you than anything in this world?

This is what the crossing the Jordan does. We come to the place where the Lord is our goal and our end. “Seek ye the things that are above” (Col. 3:1). The Holy Spirit energizes in us to do this thing and to bring us to the place where it is for us to utterly rely on the power of God. This is where we are brought by the Jordan, when we are clean over the place of the cutting off from the cravings of our flesh, from knowing after the flesh – our sense, seeings, feelings, or of having to have something tangible in our hands. No it has to be all of faith when we can say even in the midst of raging rivers “I believe God and He is my portion forever, for ‘To me to live is Christ.'”

To Find God As Your ALL You Must Cross The Jordan, You Must Die To Self.

Pareto PrincipleEver heard of the Pareto Principle? Sure you have, but probably as the 80/20 rule.

  • The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule and the law of the vital few) states that in many things, 80% of the consequences come from 20% of the causes.
  • Vilfredo Pareto observed that 80 percent of the land in England was owned by 20 percent of the population. Over the years, he and many others observed this rule in action in different spheres. Some examples:
  • Relationship: 20% of the people you know (friends, colleagues, family) provide you with 80 % of nurturing support and satisfaction
  • Business: 20% of customers will account for 80 % of profit
  • Productivity: 20% of your activities will account for 80 % of your success

God’s 80/20 Rule:

GOD WANTS 100% of HIS INHERITANCE. JESUS WANTS 100% OF HIS INHERITANCE. JESUS WANTS ALL 100 SHEEP. BUT HE REALIZES PRECIOUS FEW WILL BE WILLING TO DIE TO THE FLESH TO SEE IT HAPPEN. So God’s Pareto Principle is that those who die to self and step into the Jordan are able to carry the others through to their inheritance. God always uses a remnant to accomplish His will. He always uses the minority to see His Will accomplished on earth. God is looking for the 20% to accomplish His Will.

  • He needs people willing to step into death if need be, and to be steadfast until all are safely over.
  • You will be ignored, you will be talked about, you will be weary from holding the ark for countless hours, you will see walls of troubles all around you, but God needs people who want to walk by faith.

To Jericho via the JordanGod needs people that are willing to die to what they want to see the salvation of others around them. There are to be no excuses, there is to be no complaining, there is only to be dependence upon God and His purpose. There is no room for ego, for rights. There is only room for people who want to do what God wants to claim His inheritance.


So Joshua, representing a man united with the Holy Spirit gives THREE commands to the Israelites, all necessary so that they would KNOW THE WAY TO GO!

1.  Keep Your Eye on the Ark, and Follow it Wherever it Goes

Keep Your Eye on the ArkWhenever they see the priests that bear it in motion, they are to move from their places and follow it. This is a blessed truth we need to take hold of. Always keep God in sight. A blessed truth for all time was clearly shadowed forth. Follow God implicitly and unhesitatingly in every time of danger, and you are safe. Set aside the counsels of caution and worldly wisdom; find out God’s will and follow it through good report and through evil report, and you will be right.

2.  Allow Others to See the Ark

Allow Others to See the Ark“A span of two thousand cubits was to be left between the people and the ark.” God wants you to follow Him, but He wants you to bring your family with you! Don’t get so close to God that you block Him from your friends and family. Christ prayed that His disciples would stay in the world, but NOT become part of the world. Christ came into the world to save sinners. He did so by being a friend to sinners.

  • That ALL may know the way by which you must go” (ver. 4).
  • If this arrangement had not been made, the course of the ark through the flat plains of the Jordan would not have been visible to the mass of the host, but only to those in the immediate neighborhood, and the people would have been liable to straggle and fall into confusion, if not to diverge altogether.
  • In all cases, when we are looking out for Divine guidance, it is of supreme importance that there be nothing in the way to obscure the object or to distort our vision.
  • In fact, God wants us with our people, with our friends, so that we can show them the way to go. Sure, there must be times of being close to God, but God wants others to see Him too, and He will use your life to influence your family and friends.

3.  Sanctify Yourselves and see God’s Wonders.

Sanctify Yourselves to See God's WondersSet yourself apart to God. I believe God was going to do this great miracle regardless of what the people did. But there does seem to be a shortage of miracles today. Or perhaps movies have made minor miracles seem so ho hum. Regardless, I believe in order for us to see how awesome God is, we must sanctify ourselves unto Him. Otherwise we would be saying, “I’ve already heard this, I saw this when I was younger. It is no big deal!”

How much time do you actually spend each week getting alone with God. How much time do you spend thinking about Him, about what He is doing, what He is planning, what He is wanting to do. We don’t take the time to set ourselves apart to God, and then it is no wonder that we hear amazing spiritual truth and just go “ho hum” We see an amazing thing and our hearts are barely touched.

If you want to see wondrous things, if you want to see wondrous things in the Word, you need to take time to be alone with God. An hour a week is not enough. Your enthusiasm for the Power of God wil be indirect relation to the time you spend alone with Him.

God looks on our heart, and yet we spend so little time letting Him work on our heart. We need time to tremble before God, to cry before God. But while ” man looketh on the outward appearance the Lord looketh on the heart.” Psalms 90:8 (NLT) “You spread out our sins before you— our secret sins—and you see them all.”

In order to Cross the Jordan and go into the Rest, the Promised Land-God wants you to take time to set yourselves apart and unto Him, to always keep your eyes on Him and His Word, and to Bring your family with you! Be involved with their lives and teach them how to always Keep God in view.

What Miracles Have You Seen?

Has God ever woke you up when you’ve drifted off at the wheel, just in time to prevent you from running into the back of the vehicle in front of you?  That’s providence.  But if you didn’t wake up, and God lifted your car over the one you were about to hit, that would be a miracle.  Both are plausible, and I know, I’ve experienced both.


Joshua 4:1-6 (NKJV) And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying: “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from every tribe, and command them, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’ ” Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’…21″When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; 23 for the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, 24 that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”


I had a stone wall fall down. And I decided to repair it myself. Didn’t do it very well, and in fact I’m embarrassed to show the after picture. I did it in my own strength with limited abilities. God allows us to stack eternal stones of lasting value and influence, when we allow Him to do the work. That is what the crossing of the Jordan represented. The world (Canaan) was not expecting this crossing. In fact they thought it too preposterous to even attempt. God specializes in the Impossible when we die to our own flesh and strength and say GOD YOU ARE! GOD YOU ARE ABLE! We must build our life on the Eternal Rock of Jesus Christ, so that we can build eternal monuments of God’s grace in our life!Our Stone Wall Fell Down

Is your life built upon the Rock? Do your children and grandchildren see you pray? Do they see you read your Bible? Do they ask you what Jesus means to you? Is there anything of eternal value that you will eave behind? What Stones are your stacking in your life? We need monuments in our homes and in our lives-testimonies of how God has worked. Something we can point to and tell our children about, tell our grandchildren about.

Stone Monument in IsraelWe really aren’t big on monuments, at least erecting them in our yard. So God has led me to leave each one of my children and grandchildren, a book of my thoughts toward them, and what I want to see happen in their life. I will give it to them after I die, unless the Lord tells me otherwise.

Joshua Restores Circumcision

Joshua 5:2-5 (NKJV) At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time.” So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: All the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way, after they had come out of Egypt. For all the people who came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness, on the way as they came out of Egypt, had not been circumcised. Joshua 5:9-15 (NKJV) Then the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day.


Flint Knives for CircumcisionCircumcision is a sign of separation unto God. It is an interesting and impressive thing that the new generation which had arisen in the wilderness had never been circumcised. The parents had neglected this command of God, and those parents had all died in the wilderness. This means that they had ignored the spiritual law of heart separation unto God, so what arises is this: there is no entering into the inheritance without a circumcised heart. The heart has to be wholly and utterly for the Lord. If that is not true, sooner or later there is going to be a tragedy in the Christian life.

Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year. And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand.

What would you think if you saw a man, who was a prince of the royal household and therefore an heir to all that that household inherited, in prison, with his clothes in rags, his food being doled out to him from time to time, never able to choose anything for himself, and without money or home of his own? What would you say? ‘What a shame!’ That would be a reproach to a prince, would it not? It would be a great shame upon such a person! Yet these children of a prince with God were in Egypt like that. No, princes ought never to be in a position like that! That was the reproach of Egypt, the shame of the whole situation. It is called the house of bondage, and no prince ought to be in that. As Christians we are children of the King. When we choose to be like the world, we are dressing as a pauper, clothed in filth. We are a shame to the Gospel of the King. There is only one way we can roll away the reproach of the world…

The Cross Must Come Before the Battle

Victory Belongs to the CrucifiedWe must realize that salvation means we are crucified with Christ. We must embrace the Cross-Life, the exchanged life, the life of Galatians 2:20. The life I am now living is not my own, but Christ is living through me!

The Israelites are now clean over Jordan, their hearts are circumcised, and now they are wholly for the Lord. They are totally following the Captian of the Hosts, led by Joshua, a type of the Holy Spirit. The reproach and the shame of the past are rolled away. They have encountered the Cross represented by the River Jordan!

What a glorious thing to have the reproach and shame of our past life all rolled away! Why are you not shouting ‘Hallelujah’? I think it is because you are listening to the word but are not having the spirit – or perhaps I should say that you are taking the word seriously. But our rightful place, dear friends, is where all the reproach of the past is rolled away. That is the place of the heirs of the inheritance.


This is the deeper, and inward meaning of the Cross, because the New Testament teaches us that the Cross is the place of spiritual circumcision. And this just says one great thing: only truly crucified Christians, and only a truly crucified Church can meet the enemy in the coming battle with any hope of victory. This entering into our inheritance is something which is withstood by all the principalities and powers. All these evil powers in the universe are set against one thing, that is, God having a people for Himself to whom He is going to give the Kingdom, when the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of our God and His Christ. All the spiritual forces are so against that, they will fight to keep the people from coming out to the Lord, and if they cannot do that, they will work to keep them from going on. And if they cannot prevent them from going on, they will not give up the battle.


The Captain of the Lord's ArmyAnd Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.

He is in that which stands wholly for God and with a people who are wholly the Lord’s and while they in holiness of life and purpose are all wholly for God, in that thing or that people He is Captain, and so we come under His Sovereign Headship, but there must come into this nothing of Man. The Holy Spirit is not going to recognise the flesh, and says, “No, I am not with a company of people as a people, but am only in and in control of that which is wholly the Lord’s.”


The peril is that having begun in the Spirit, you might turn aside to make some compromise with Amalek, because of the hardness of the way, the greatness of the cost, by reason of the conflict and forgetting God’s word – “utterly destroy Amalek” (1 Samuel 15:3). “Walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4).


Veggie Tales Promised LandNow the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year. The Veggie Tales expressed what was happening in a little song called “The Promised Land”

Percy: We didn’t have a lot of fun in the desert We didn’t have a lot of fun in the sand

Tom: But saddle up your cow

Percy: And fall behind us now

All: Because we’re goin’ to the Promised Land!

Jimmy: For years I’ve eat nothing but manna A dish that is filling, but bland

Jerry: But now we’re on our way

Pa Grape: I’ll have a cheese souffle

All: Because we’re goin’ to the Promised Land! And in the Promised Land, it’s gonna be so grand We’ll have our fill from the grill, As much as we can stand It’ll be so great, oh we can hardly wait ‘Cause we’re goin’ to the Promised Land!

Scooter: The dining was lousy with Moses But we’ll be feasting with Josh in command!

Jimmy: I’d like a taco, please And some pintos and cheese

All: Because we’re goin’ to the Promised Land! And in the Promised Land, it’s gonna be so grand! We’ll have our fill from the grill, As much as we can stand! It’ll be so great, oh we can hardly wait ‘Cause we’re goin’ to the Promised Land! And in the Promised Land, it’s gonna be so grand! We’ll have our fill from the grill, As much as we can stand! It’ll be so great

Jimmy: With waffles on my plate!

All: ‘Cause we’re goin’ to the Promised Land!

Pa Grape: I hear it’s flowing with milk and honey

Jimmy: Sounds sticky!

All: ‘Cause we’re goin’ to the Promised Land! Yeah, we’re goin’ to the Promised Land! ‘Cause we’re goin’ to the Promised Land!—–

That may be a trite little ditty but there’s quite an element of truth in it.  Because if we are going to claim the promised land of Canaan we’re gonna have to change our diet and start feeding on God’s Word.  It’s a feast God has set before us but we go all week without it, acting like we’re not really hungry.  This feast will produce what God is seeking: the Lord is after getting us inwardly resting in HIMSELF. Unrest, anxiety, is ever the ground of defeat. Uncertainty about the Lord brings weakness and defeat; the Lord sets great value on BELIEVING GOD – faith in GOD. But that Faith comes by Feasting on the Word of God!


Canaan Land of Milk and HoneyCanaan pictures the victorious Christian life.  It means you are no longer a slave to habits and sinful thinking and ways of life.  Not perfect, but in the midst of a major make over!  It’s a place of joy, not necessarily happiness at all times.  But walking with God and trusting Him in all things, not like some Christians who walk around looking like they were baptized in pickle juice! Sure, we all have rivers of difficulty in our way.  But don’t let those rivers keep you from your land of opportunity.  You know in your heart God has more for you in life, and you are right!

What’s your river?  Doubt?  Fear?  Discouragement?  Distraction?  God commands you to cross that river and good news:  He’ll make a way!

  • Got any rivers that seem uncross able?
  • Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through?
  • God specializes in things thought impossible
  • And He knows a thousand ways to make a way for you!

The Man in Glory

There’s a Man in Glory Whose Life is for me–Triumphant and free. He’s wise and He’s loving, Tender is He; And His Life in Glory, My life must be. There’s a Man in the Glory Whose Life is for me, He overcame Satan; From bondage He’s free. In life He is reigning, Kingly is He;And His Life in the Glory My life must be. There’s a Man in Glory Whose Life is for me, In Him is no sorrow; No weakness has He. He’s strong and in vigor; Buoyant is He; And His Life in the Glory; My life may be. There’s a Man in Glory Whose Life is for me, His peace is abiding; Patient is He. He’s joyful and radiant, Expecting to see His Life in Glory Lived out in me.

The Man of GloryAre You Ready to Step Out? Ready to Join the Man of Glory? Are You Ready to Stack Stones Worth Remembering?

Stones of money, career, house, car will not last. You won’t be rotting in your grave before your relatives will be fighting over them. What Eternal Stones of Glory will you leave your family? Do You have anything eternal in your life that your children will want to know about?Ready to Step Out and Stack Stones

Is your Life built upon the Rock, this Man of Glory? Are you following the Captain? Then take off your shoes, take off the flesh, take off all your worldly things, for you are standing on HOLY GROUND! God is seeking men and women willing to take that first step of faith, to die to self and step in the raging water. God is seeking those who desire to Stack Stones that will stand for all Eternity!