TOPIC: DIVINE JUSTICE SYSTEM
TEXT: Deuteronomy 19:1-10
1. When the LORD thy God hath cut off the nations, whose land the LORD thy God giveth thee, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their cities, and in their houses;
2. Thou shalt separate three cities for thee in the midst of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.
3. Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and divide the coasts of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every slayer may flee thither.
4. And this is the case of the slayer, which shall flee thither, that he may live; Whoso killeth his neighbour ignorantly, whom he hated not in time past;
5. As when a man goeth into the wood with his neighbour to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbour, that he die; he shall flee unto one of those cities, and live;
6. Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past.
7. Wherefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt separate three cities for thee.
8. And if the LORD thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers;
9. If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the LORD thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, beside these three;
10. That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee.
“That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee.” – (Deuteronomy 19:10).
Prior to their redemption and full settlement in Canaan, the Israelites ran a primitive justice system. For instance, their laws allowed the next of kin of a slain person to wreak vengeance. He or she was permitted to go after the murderer and carry out any judgment they desired. But the Lord rolled out a better judicial arrangement that would protect the unintentional killer and prevent the shedding of innocent blood.
As the land in Canaan was allocated to the various tribes, God commanded the children of Israel to separate cities where “every slayer may flee thither.” The idea was that in their new environment, murder cases must be thoroughly investigated so as not to lead to arbitrary punishment. If a person died in the field while another wielded his axe in the course of felling a tree, the unintentional killer could flee to one of the cities of refuge.
He would not be “worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past.” This provision prevented unjust revenge and miscarriage of justice, which might lead to spiraling acts of fatal crimes. It is the prevalence of the pursuit of retaliatory deeds that has made the world unsafe today. The absence of an acceptable system of justice that would bring redress to the aggrieved has been pushing everyone to adopt his or her way of seeking justice, even if it is an illegitimate means. This has brought more sorrow to a world in search of peace and joy.
God, the Author of peace, has proclaimed that man must seek His infallible concept of justice to be secured in the world. Without adhering to heaven’s law of equity that respects the rights of others to live and enjoy the abundance of life given by God through faith in Jesus, the Prince of peace, man would continue to function in bewilderment.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
Man cannot have peace without seeking divine justice.
THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR: