September 10, 2019

Do You Hear Me? Do You Hear Me Now?  

Deuteronomy 19

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Laws Concerning Cities of Refuge

“When the LORD your God cuts off the nations whose land the LORD your God is giving you, and you dispossess them and dwell in their cities and in their houses, you shall set apart three cities for yourselves in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess. You shall measure the distances1 and divide into three parts the area of the land that the LORD your God gives you as a possession, so that any manslayer can flee to them.

“This is the provision for the manslayer, who by fleeing there may save his life. If anyone kills his neighbor unintentionally without having hated him in the past—as when someone goes into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and his hand swings the axe to cut down a tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies—he may flee to one of these cities and live, lest the avenger of blood in hot anger pursue the manslayer and overtake him, because the way is long, and strike him fatally, though the man did not deserve to die, since he had not hated his neighbor in the past. Therefore I command you, You shall set apart three cities. And if the LORD your God enlarges your territory, as he has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land that he promised to give to your fathers—provided you are careful to keep all this commandment, which I command you today, by loving the LORD your God and by walking ever in his ways—then you shall add three other cities to these three, 10 lest innocent blood be shed in your land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance, and so the guilt of bloodshed be upon you.

11 “But if anyone hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and attacks him and strikes him fatally so that he dies, and he flees into one of these cities, 12 then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there, and hand him over to the avenger of blood, so that he may die. 13 Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood2 from Israel, so that it may be well with you.

Property Boundaries

14 “You shall not move your neighbor's landmark, which the men of old have set, in the inheritance that you will hold in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess.

Laws Concerning Witnesses

15 “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. 16 If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, 17 then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. 18 The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil3 from your midst. 20 And the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you. 21 Your eye shall not pity. It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.


[1] 19:3 Hebrew road
[2] 19:13 Or the blood of the innocent
[3] 19:19 Or evil person

Do You Hear Me? Do You Hear Me Now?  

Key Verse | Deuteronomy 19:3

"You shall measure the distances and divide into three parts the area of the land that the LORD your God gives you as a possession, so that any manslayer can flee to them."

Bio | Jeannie Lewis

Hi! I'm Jeannie Lewis—wife to Doug; mom to Jerry, Josh, and Megan; crazy mother-in-law to Pam, Laura, and Brent; and grandma to Caleb, Abigail, Asher, Presley, Mia, Reese, and Lleyton. Doug and I serve in Merge, Watermark's premarital ministry for couples seriously dating or engaged. It's so sweet to see God working in the lives of people contemplating marriage.

And I forgot to mention the most important title I have: a child of God. 

Central Truth

Before God's people entered the Promised Land, Moses repeated the Lord's plan for His children. If these commandments and statutes were followed, His people would relate to each other in a way that honored and glorified Him.

Devotional | Deuteronomy 19

Watermark's Join The Journey contributors receive excellent instruction before starting our devotionals. We're told to pray before beginning, read the passage over and over, study it ...

Watermark's Join The Journey contributors receive excellent instruction before starting our devotionals. We're told to pray before beginning, read the passage over and over, study it carefully, and make the devotional personal. I attempted to follow the instructions faithfully, praying my heart would be prepared for all God wanted to reveal. And what He revealed was this: I'm just like the people who roamed the wilderness with Moses. How often are children told "don't play in the street" or "don't run with scissors"? And how often must children hear instructions before understanding it's for their good?

Unfortunately I seldom "hear" things the first time. I'm God's child; He knows that about me (Psalm 139). And He knew that about the people preparing to enter the Promised Land. So He had Moses explain His commandments and statutes again. Moses had personally experienced God's compassion, mercy, and justice (Numbers 20:10-12). He recognized the cities of refuge were another one of God's provisions for His children. These cities were strategically located making access easy for anyone in need of refuge. It's probably difficult to relate to the manslayers, but we're all sinners (Romans 3:23). We all need the Lord's compassion and mercy. If you're not nodding your head in agreement, we need to talk. 

So I read, prayed, and studied, and now I'll make it personal. My sweet husband was diagnosed with lung cancer in June 2015. That isn't news I wanted to hear, but Doug and I knew our circumstances weren't a surprise to God. We shed lots of tears, but we didn't ask, "Why?" Instead, we immediately sought God's refuge (Psalm 46:1). We're experiencing His peace (Philippians 4:7) and comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-5) daily. We know God keeps His promises (Joshua 1:9). Honestly, cancer wouldn't be our desired platform for sharing His gospel, but God's blessings have been amazing. It's reassuring to know the Lord never changes; He loves us and remains compassionate, merciful, and just (Psalm 103:1-4, 13, 17).

I'm praying you "hear" this: the refuge God provided then is still available to us today (Psalm 62:7-8). Let us praise Him!

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Discussion Questions

1. Are you relating to your family, friends, community group, and neighbors in a godly manner? Read Matthew 22:37-40.

2. Do you recognize all sin as an offense in God's eyes? Read John 8:7.

3. Where do you run for refuge—to the phone or to the Throne? Read Psalm 18:2.

4. Are you able to praise God in all circumstances? Read Habakkuk 3:17-18.

9 Comments available

Jay Caruso 9 months ago

Thank you Jeannie! That is a big family you have!!! The good thing about knowing Christ loving Christ and having the Holy Spirit makes you recognize potential sin every time a if you listen a obey you will always be better off

Michael Scaman 9 months ago
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Greg, yes Abel’s blood condemns but Jesus blood speaks better than the blood of Abel.

greg jones 9 months ago

“If you’re not nodding your head in agreement we need to talk” love that.

Verse13- Don’t let your eye pity him, purge the guilt of innocent blood from your land, so it might go well with you.

Genesis4:1-24 Abel’s blood cries out to God. God removes Cain from the land with protection less his right standing with God. Shedding of innocent blood is wrong is established.

So that it will go well with you in the land-be your brothers keeper, avenge, or purge the land of the, guilt, of innocent blood. This is new and different from God.

Genesis chapter 4 God has something to say.

Genesis chapter 34 God is silent. Jacob also sounds a little like Cain, worried about others in a different land.

Seeing different sides of the same God here.

Michael Scaman 9 months ago

There is provision for those in ‘civic estrangement’ in the laws here for unintentional harm. It reminds me of the advice in Samuel given to the king about God.

2 Samuel 14:14 (NKJV) For we will surely die and become like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away a life; but He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him.

Sue Bohlin 9 months ago

Terrific devo, Jeannie! LOVED all your scriptures! (Please give an update on Doug?)

Particularly since the Plano campus is studying Psalms this semester, we are trying to look for what we see of God’s character. Today’s passage about providing cities of refuge shows us what a tender heart of understanding and compassion Yahweh has. Just to show us, it’s always, always about the heart, and true motivation, and since He is omniscient, He sees it ALL!

In my search for the “that it may go well with you,” phrase, I count #9 today.

Hope Harris 9 months ago

GM JTJ peeps,

I am pondering the difference between restorative and retributive justice. Which is biblical and what should be the Christ followers stance on such issues.

Food for Thought:

Hugh Stephenson 9 months ago

2 Timothy 3:16 - For several weeks I have been reflecting on the idea of “possessing the land God has given me”. Not taking it. Not buying it. Not working for it. There is NOTHING I can do to deserve the land He is giving me. He simply chooses to do so. Even more, it is the BEST land. The land of milk and honey.

This land is so good that the people on it will fight and die for it. But He GIVES (nâṯan) it to me. I simply have to POSSESS (yâraš) it. The Hebrew words also translate as “occupy, inherit, bestow, deliver, direct” (Strong’s).

Or, more simply, to accept the gift.

In this passage I see God telling me that my relationship with others is critical also. He provides rules to ensure justice, equity and fair dealing.

Jehovah-Jireh, I accept your modern-day provision for me.

Michael Scaman 9 months ago

I think the cities of refuge also were also the cities set aside for the Levites and so perhaps those who fled there could also get additional spiritual help in their civic estrangement.

see Wiki “The Cities of Refuge were six Levitical towns in the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah in which the perpetrators of accidental manslaughter could claim the right of asylum. Maimonides, invoking talmudic literature, expands the city of refuge count to all 48 Levitical cities.”

John Hill 9 months ago

I just read your devotional… I pray your husband will be healed. I pray for God’s peace and comfort to be with you and your family. I loved the scripture verses you shared.

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