A City of Refuge

“This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

“And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” (Revelation 21:22-23)

“Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the Lord dwell among the children of Israel.” (Numbers 35:34)

What is it like to have the God of the universe staying, vacationing almost, in your town? Think about the commanding presence of the most intimidating and intense individual you know. It could be an overbearing boss or the like. Someone who takes up all the emotional elbow room once they enter. Contrast the glory of God in the top two verses with the fact that, as it says in, Isaiah (42:3) “A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench…”–speaking of Jesus.

As we grow and age and mature, provided our eyes are affixed to Jesus, we begin to inhabit the same levels of life that He did and does. We find ourselves going through the protective period of development in which we daren’t let in anyone who could be detrimental to our spiritual health and growth. And we find that Jesus is strong as stone and intense and intimidating. With a look that could melt steel. Then, as we continue to coalesce and grow stronger and level out, we find that it really doesn’t matter if we get hurt. Sure, we retain that core of strength and at that level, we know that things are safe and that nothing can touch us there. Our weak spots heal and we continue to live. Maybe now, we’re given the privilege of coming alongside others whom we find are in the same space we thought we’d never get to, or graduate from for that matter. But the point is, we are being molded and shaped into Christlikeness by way of the difficulties we encounter and the difficult people we’re blessed to interact with. Think about all the evil in the world and the walls necessary to keep it out. And then think about how, as it says in Isaiah, Jesus could be so. Very. Gentle. To where you wouldn’t recognize if He stepped in the room. Or if He left. The rest of the verse reads: “He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.”

“He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His law.” (Isaiah 42:4)

“Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.” (Isaiah 27:4)

“Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain.” (Psalm 76:10)

God is moving. God is powerful and strong and kind. We cannot fathom His strength, nor the depth of His mercy and gentleness. He may be able rend the rocks and split the earth and sea. But He’s “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9b) When God came to Elijah (see 1 Kings 19), it says “And, behold, the Lord passed by…” Wind, fire, earthquake follows. These things herald the mighty God of the universe. And all He’s doing is coming down to talk with Elijah. But the Lord is not in any of these things. A “still small voice” answers. This is your Heavenly Father speaking.

“Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: for their redeemer is mighty; He shall plead their cause with thee.” (Proverbs 23:10-11)

This isn’t to say that we don’t love and respect our parents. But as believers, we answer to One Father. And He has both our back and also our best interests at heart. Know that as you enter into His “city of refuge”, for lack of a better term, you are covered and cared for and watched over. Let Him take you in.

“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is His reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” (Psalm 127:3-5)

This then is the message

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