Friday, September 11, 2009

Are You Looking for an Escape from Your Burdens?


The lost die as fools, without entering into the refuge of Jesus Christ. Many Christians LIVE as fools, without accepting the refuge available to them in Jesus Christ.

In the Bible time of Joshua, we are told of six cities of refuge. Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary gives the names and interpretations of these cities as:
Kedesh - signifies holy and our Refuge is the holy Jesus.
Shechem, a shoulder, and the government is upon His shoulder.
Hebron - fellowship, and the believers are called into the fellowship of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Bezer - a fortification, for He is a strong hold to all those that trust in Him.
Ramoth - high or exalted, for Him hath God exalted with His own right hand.
Golon - joy or exultation, for in Him all the saints are justified and shall glory.

These cities were places of refuge for someone who had unintentionally caused the death of someone else. The cities were positioned so one city could be reached in less than a day’s journey from any part of the land. Matthew Henry’s commentary says that once inside the city, a trial was held and if acquitted - the man’s life was saved. However, the man must live inside the city until the death of the high priest. Of course, this reminds us of Jesus Christ, the High Priest who died that we might go free.

The Bible tells of a man named Abner. At one time, Abner had killed Asahel, the brother of Joab, a leader of David’s armies. Abner set out to form a confederation with David, and then left to go to the city of refuge Hebron.
Joab had not forgiven Abner for killing his brother Asahel, and set out after Abner. The Bible says, ‘And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother (II Sam. 3:27).
Read the whole chapter for the whole story. I am skipping ahead to verse 33-34 which says, ‘And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth? Thy hands were not bound, nor they feet put into fetters: as a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou. And all the people wept again over him.’

Abner behaved foolishly in that he tarried at the gate of refuge rather than entering in quickly while there was yet time. In this, he lost his own life and brought sorrow to those who loved him and his country as well. Today, any lost soul who understands that the way to everlasting life is through Jesus Christ - and yet tarries in deciding to enter into the safety of Jesus Christ - is risking dying as a fool.

Those who are born again have obtained an eternal refuge in Jesus Christ; but while we remain in the flesh, we have trials. In these trials we can find rest in safety in Jesus Christ in whom we find all the things found in the cities of refuge of the Old Testament.
Kedesh - signifies holy and our Refuge is the holy Jesus. In Christ we are innocent. I John 1:9 says, ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’
Although a Christian is born again, the flesh is still sinful. Sin will enter into the life of every believer. Sins, no matter how small, need forgiveness, which can only come from Jesus Christ. Many Christians spend their time worrying over the sins of the world, and the sins of the unsaved, believing their own sins are too small to cause them any grief. This is wrong. II Corinthians 10:12 tells us, ‘For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
Verse 18 says, ‘for not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.’

Shechem - a shoulder, and the government is upon His shoulder. Isaiah 9:6 tells us, ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The might God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’ I find this very comforting today, as we watch governments around the world falter and act foolishly and maliciously against the children of Israel, and Christians. We are helpless to stop the tide of evil decisions and policies spewing from leaders around the world. Yet, this burden is not on our shoulders. Jesus Christ bears the burden of government for us on His own shoulders. Today is the day to take these burdens to Jesus Himself. Christians must always take care to avoid making the Gospel of Jesus Christ a mere social gospel. That is like trying to make a diamond necklace from lumps of coal.

Hebron - fellowship, and the believers are called into the fellowship of Christ Jesus our Lord. I Corinthians 1:9 says, ‘God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his son Jesus Christ our Lord.’
We not only have fellowship with Jesus Christ our Lord, but we also have fellowship with the brethren. I John 1:7 says, ‘But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.’

Bezer - a fortification, for He is a strong hold to all those that trust in Him. Nahum 1:7 says, ‘the LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and knoweth them that rust in him.’
We can say that Jesus Christ is undoubtedly THE Strong Hold that will never fall. This cannot be said of any strong hold on earth. There is no nation or city that cannot be breached by the enemy. History is full of strong cities and kingdoms that fell. Notably, in the days of Daniel the great prophet, Babylon fell in one day.

Ramoth - high or exalted, for Him hath God exalted with His own right hand. Acts 5:30-31 says, ‘the God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath god exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.’
Webster’s online dictionary defines ‘exalt’ as:
1. to raise in rank, power, or character.
The rank, power, and character of Jesus Christ is high above all that we can understand.
2. to elevate by praise or in estimation - to glorify.
3. to raise high - to elevate.
4. to enhance the activity of - to intensify.

Praising God stirs God to act on our behalf.

Golon - joy or exultation, for in Him all the saints are justified and shall glory. Titus 3:7 says, ‘That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.’
Romans 8:17 says, ‘And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him that we may be also glorified together.’

Abner died as a fool because he did not enter into the city while he had the chance. If you are not saved, you are risking dying as a fool. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. (Acts 16:31. Romans 10:9)
I know that most people reading this are saved, so the thing to consider is this,


Have you entered into eternal life through the door of Jesus Christ, only to spend your life starving for the good things of God? Consider again the cities of refuge and how these refuges are available to each believer in Jesus Christ.

Kedesh Christians will hang onto their own sins instead of confessing sins and turning from them. This will withhold blessings from the sinner and their family and their country and the world. If God shows you a sin in your life, turn from it. Repent. Don’t let it keep you from resting in the refuge of Jesus Christ. Don’t let your sins bring hurt to your families. In holding onto sin, the Christian is choosing to eat the bread of bitterness and sorrow. Remember, there is no sin so small that it does not require repentance.

Schechem Jesus Christ bears the burden of government on His shoulder. Dear Christian, this means:
He is the governor of your life. He is the Righteous Governor. Be careful to be obedient in all the teachings of Christ. Love one another as He loved you. Forgive one another as Christ forgave you.
He is the governor of your home. Your house should be run as though the Lord were with you in the flesh all the time. I cannot say this strongly enough - the way you treat your family is the way you really are. If you are ‘mister or miss’ congeniality at work and church, but you are a terrifying ogre or tyrant at home, then in reality, you are just an ogre or tyrant. Our Blessed Governor will enable us to love our families as He loves them. If you find yourself on the grumpy or demanding side to often, confess this behavior as sin. Jesus will help you to treat your family the way He wants them treated.
The burden of government in your nation is on Jesus Christ. You can do what the law allows to promote godly government. You can try to elect godly leaders. But the burden of the outcome is on Jesus Christ. Do not let a social gospel replace Jesus Christ. Don’t let the sins of the world distract you from watching for sin in your own life.

Hebron Are you willing to walk in the light of Jesus Christ? Or are you stuck living in the shadows? In the shadows, you will be ruled by relics from your past and fears for your future. Turn from these sins and repent.

Bezer Do you run to Jesus in the time of storm - or do you sink beneath the waves? Actually, our whole lives are spent either walking on water or sinking into despair. Are you willing to take your eyes off the trouble your face and focus on Jesus?

Ramoth Have you exalted Jesus to be the Lord over all of your life? Or are you still holding on to power here and there? Jesus Christ really IS your boss. He may put you under authority or obligation to family, church, and work, but He is still the top authority in your life. Live to please Him. That is ultimately the best way to do right by those who depend on you.

Golon Do you see Joy in your future as a joint heir with Jesus Christ? Or are you too busy trying to find complete satisfaction in your life right now? ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of god, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matthew 6:33)

The song for this article is ‘A Shelter in the Time of Storm’.

Thank you for reading my article. God bless you.

Barbara Henderson

Asked God to help you:
Be thankful
Believe Him more
And answer you prayers.


A Shelter in the Time of Storm

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide,
A Shelter in the time of storm.
Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A weary land, a weary land;
Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A Shelter in the time of storm.
A shade by day, defense by night,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
No fears alarm, no foes afright,
A Shelter in the time of storm.
The raging storms may round us beat,
A Shelter in the time of storm
We’ll never leave our safe retreat,
A Shelter in the time of storm.
O Rock divine, O Refuge dear,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
Be Thou our Helper ever near,
A Shelter in the time of storm.