There will always be people that will make you sad and this formed the basis of the cities of refuge as we read in the 20th chapter of Joshua.
The responsibility of choosing these cities was not God’s but the children of Israel. They were to decide where these cities would be. The criteria that they would use depended on them as long as they served the purpose.
The main reason for these cities was to protect those who offend unintentionally. This was an interesting idea from the Lord knowing that man will always offend and there must be a way to cater for such offences. The intention was to protect the perpetrator not from the victim but from the concerned relative who would want to avenge for the spilt blood.
People will always be ready to revenge if offended. It is a way for them to get even or to find some form of justice for an event that robbed them joy or peace. In one way, it could be justified but we see the Lord allowing the victims relative to take some time for the case to be considered. In some instances, we have seen that the said offender could be innocent or a victim of circumstance just because of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. But on the other hand, they could have committed the offence but unintentionally. These cities gave people time to think through or ponder before the hurriedly created vigilante attitude.
This is a good challenge to us today. Many times we have “killed” innocent people in the name of justice whereas if we could walk back and look at situations as presented with an open mind we could realize a few things that would make us understand situations better.
We will always be offended or even offend others and we will feel the need for justice being served as soon as possible. In many cases, this does not bring closure especially if wrongly executed but a cycle wars and its rumours. We learn that we should try to establish the truth before we cry to spill blood.
Where should we run for refuge?