All of Joshua chapter 20 discusses the Old Testament Cities of Refuge.
A man who had accidentally killed someone could find safety within the walls of that place, that city, free from the fear of reprisal from some angry family member of the deceased.
Of course, he had to prove his innocence! That he was not guilty of premeditated murder, a crime punishable by death! (Having ended the life of a human being, made in the image of God.)
This was done first through a preliminary hearing … as is depicted in verse 4 of our chapter. “And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, AND SHALL DECLARE HIS CAUSE IN THE EARS OF THE ELDERS OF THAT CITY, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.” Clearly, he “passed the test!”
But then later … he stood before some sort of fully empaneled court, jury … “And he shall dwell in that city, UNTIL HE STAND BEFORE THE CONGREGATION FOR JUDGMENT, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: THEN SHALL THE SLAYER RETURN, AND COME UNTO HIS OWN CITY, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.” Joshua 20:6, obviously with the whole congregation agreeing with the finding of the smaller body of elders!
We shall tomorrow discuss, the Lord willing, the issue concerning the death of the current High Priest! Very interesting indeed!
But for today, my “thought” this morning, focuses on the agreement between the elders’ judgment (the first and preliminary trial) and the congregation’s judgment (the final and exonerating trial)!
I would observe that those “elders” in the specified “City of Refuge” were pretty accurate in their assessment of the situation! Their ruling was not overturned by the higher court!
And that sets me to admiring them, their discernment!
Their ability to sense the truth, the “right” in a given situation!
I conclude this accurate “sensitivity to right and wrong” is a product of God the Holy Spirit! One of His “attributes!”
He is indeed the Spirit of Truth!
1 John 4:6 applies here: “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, and the spirit of error.”
Not everyone has this capability, this ability, this discernment.
For example … “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20, seared consciences indeed! Spiritually blind!
Point being today … how good am I at “discerning” right and wrong? You too?
Paul addressed this theme in Hebrews 5:14. “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
Their senses “exercised” … to tell the difference between evil and good!
These believes are “mature.”
Able to handle “strong meat!”
But HOW did they reach such a high level of growth, spiritual growth?
“By reason of use!”
In Greek, “dia exis,” meaning “through habit,” literally!
Learn to consistently view life (with a Bible in your hand) through the lens of “right” and “wrong.”
“Truth” and “error!”
Yes, in these last days of apostasy … sensing things (the issues of our time) in “black” and “white,” not much “gray” left, really!
That’s how the elders of the Cities of Refuge, long ago, were most often 100% in their findings!
Oh, to be that sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s Leading!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell
“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
I just had to share the verse again!