Bible in a Year – Day 57: Very Motive-ating
The concept of having cities of refuge is an interesting one to me. I would love to understand a little more about how these cities worked. At first glance, they seem to be the first example of an “innocent until proven guilty” system of justice. And yet, there are a lot of assumptions that have to be made in order for this system to work.
First, you are only eligible to go to the city of refuge if you accidentally killed someone. My question is this: who decides whether or not you killed them accidentally. You’re supposed to go to the city of refuge to avoid the avenger of blood (sounds like a comic book character) but if you kill someone and say it was an accident, is that enough to qualify you for entry? Or does someone have to be a witness to the fact that it was an accident?
Second, what if you happen to be the unluckiest person in the world and not only kill someone, but kill them at a party where the avenger of blood also happens to be hanging out? Do you just have to hope you can outrun that guy to the nearest city of refuge? It seems like there are a few issues with the system and yet, that is the system that was set in place in Israel.
I also have to wonder about the prophetic implications of these cities of refuge. I mean, everywhere we look in the Old Testament, we find prophetic glimpses of the future coming kingdom. So, do these cities of refuge reflect that future reality? Perhaps. It seems likely, but all I can think of right now is how “in line” these cities were with God’s overall commandments and justice system for the Israelites.
Throughout the chapters that we’ve read thus far, we’ve seen God deal with sin in two ways: If the sin was committed intentionally and it harmed another person or dishonored God, God dealt with it then and there. However, if the sin was unintentional or if it was the byproduct of some other action, there was a system in place (a standard ritual) to receive forgiveness for that sin. Clearly, God makes a distinction between the sinful act and the motive behind that act – punishing the motive more immediately than the sin.
More than anything, I think this tells us something about the nature of God – something that Jesus would point out during his ministry. God is not nearly as interested on the outside as he is on the inside. He cares more about why we do something than he does if or when we do it.
So, as you join with me on this journey through the Bible, we would all be wise to remember our motives for doing this. Because, whether good or bad, it is the motive that matters. I hope you’re in this with me for the long haul and I pray it’s for all the right reasons!
- More Friends Who Are Changing the World
- Leaning In – The Positive Power of Opposition
- Holy Spirit – The Missing Piece of God
- Bible in a Year – Day 364: Payback
- Bible in a Year – Day 362: A Timeless Story
- Bible in a Year – Day 358: Cheaters
- Bible in a Year – Day 354: Holy Peace, Batman!
- Bible in a Year – Day 346: God, Others…
- Bible in a Year – Day 329: Slaves of Righteousness
- Bible in a Year – Day 304: Simple, Powerful Prayer