Sunday, August 21st, 2016
The book of Joshua records the culmination of Israel’s journey to the Promised Land. Here we see God fulfill His promise to give the land of Canaan to Jacob’s descendants. Joshua portrays the Lord as their general, the One who would lead His people in victorious battle if they would trust and obey.
God is the ultimate promise-keeper. As faithful and present as He was with Israel, so He is with us. “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
Questions for this week:
- Read Joshua 20:1-6. Why did God establish these cities of refuge? How was this a picture of the gospel?
- Search the psalms for descriptions of God as a refuge. What does these passages say God is a refuge from? Describe a time in your life when God has been a refuge. What did this truth mean to you in that time? What else do we look to to find refuge and how does it disappoint? Be specific.
- Discuss the role of the priests in the cities of refuge. See Leviticus 35 for more info. Does the church as a royal priesthood today mirror the role of these priests? In what ways was this a foreshadowing of Jesus?
- What does the establishment of such types of cities tell you about God’s desire for justice, on a national level? In what ways do we have similar arrangements (due process, ‘turning oneself in’, etc)? In Israel, how would these cities interrupt the normal human emotional reaction to crimes and offenses?
- Describe the difference between seeking refuge because of sin and forgiveness of sins. In what ways were these cities similar to Jesus and his ministry? In what ways were they different?
- In what ways can you, as the church, in your home and life, be a city of refuge? Describe some ways you might reach out to those looking for refuge, be it emotional, physical or spiritual?