One of the strangest passages I’ve ever read in the Bible is in Deuteronomy 4:41-43. There, Moses establishes three cities that will allow anyone who had unintentionally killed a neighbor to find safety.
These were their ‘cities of refuge.’ Different? Yes. But the timing makes them flat-out grace-filled.
Moments before Moses will remind the people of God’s commands, primarily the Ten Commandments, Moses lays out the exception to all of the rules about death and violence that will be covered in the following verses. Here, we see that God has a plan for what grace would look like.
Even though human life was sacred, God had a built in “grace clause” for the people’s accidents. Even in the greatest of mistakes, even an unexcusable one, God had grace for the Israelites.
Typing this tonight, I’m reminded by these cities of refuge that God extended his “grace clause” when he sent Jesus to die on the cross and rise again. This Lent, I’m thankful for that. I don’t have to flee to a place, or a city, because God extended that refuge to us once and for all.
May we all take refuge in the cross.