It is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. Hebrews 6:18
Have you ever been the object of revenge? Perhaps you did something awful but later regretted it when you considered what this person might dish out in return. What’s even worse is when we are innocent of the crime and yet we are their object of hatred. What happened was an accident, but they believed it was intentional. Maybe you’re hiding from your avenger. You avoid certain stores, you abstain from family gatherings, all because someone has it in for you. Perhaps you live reciting the verse, “God is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” This strengthens your inner man before entering the presence of the one who does not want you to prosper and would celebrate your demise.
Would it surprise you to know that God made provision for the man who needed to avoid his avenger? Somehow the knowledge of this in the Old Testament escaped me. (The announcement of this provision is found in Numbers 35 and Joshua 20.) If someone killed another person by accident, and his friends and family were out to get him, there were sanctuary cities instituted by God for the one who took another’s life by mistake. He could go there, present his case to the elders at the gate, and then take refuge inside the city walls. As long as he remained there, the avengers couldn’t harm him. After a period of time, he could return to his home as an innocent man.
Each of us faces an avenger. I have an adversary simply because of whose I am. Satan doesn’t just hate me for being me, he hates me because I am the child of God, his enemy. He seeks to kill and destroy and, indeed, you and I would be dead were it not for God’s protection. Satan would love to have carte blanche except I am hedged in behind a boundary line set by God. He is my refuge! He is my sanctuary! No accusations from Satan will stand. Christ has declared me forgiven no matter what evidence Satan has against me. He, the avenger, cannot prevail.
What is it you’re running from? Maybe you’re afraid of God’s retribution? Maybe you’re afraid of your own shame and guilt, brought about mistakes you’d give anything to erase. Run to God. I do, believe me. Based on the inspired Word of God, I declare to you that He is our refuge. He is the safe place when the past seeks to undo us. He is the sanctuary when others seek to do us harm. He is our hiding place when our mind and heart need concealment. He is our fortress when the arrows of accusation fly. He is our haven of rest when the atmosphere is threatening and frenetic. Who stands at the gate to plead our case? Not the elders. It’s Jesus!
“I go to prepare a place for you,” you said. It’s here now and you knew your children would need You. Amen