When the Lord your God has destroyed the nations whose land he is giving you, and when you have driven them out and settled in their towns, and houses, then set aside for yourselves three cities centrally located in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess. Build roads to them, and divide them into three parts the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, so that anyone who kills a man may flee there. This is the rule concerning the man who kills another and flees there to save his life - one who kill shis neighbor unintentionally, without malice aforethought. For instance, a man may go into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and as he swings his ax to fell a tree, the head may floy off and hit his neighbor and kill him. That man may flee to one of these cities and save his life.
Accidents happen. Death is after you, but there is a refuge. Down life's road you never know what's over the hill or around the bend. There are times when it seems like difficulty and trials come one right after another. A family in our church is experiencing a time like that - coming home from vacation to find their house flooded, a sewage problem at their business - which happens to be a childcare center - and someone hits the fence, and this week their son's fiance fell 8 stories out of a balcony while trying to help friends move. (Please pray if you're reading this - YES, this means you - because this young woman has many broken bones, much organ damage, swelling on her brain, etc.)
You never know when tragedy or disaster will hit. Hurricane Katrina has been the worst natural disaster in our nation in our lifetime. Why would God allow this? If God is a God of love, why did He allow this? Why did He allow our home to be destroyed? The answer is not easy - we live in a fallen world.
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not only by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberarted from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
Al Mohler (president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) was quoted as saying : "...the CNN meterologist can explain the hurricane only in terms of barometric pressure and water temperatures. We know however that at its root this natural disaster isn't natural at all. It is creation crying out, 'Adam where are you?'"
(This makes me think of that song with the chorus: "Adam, Adam where are you? Adam, Adam, I love you." I had chills when Porky sang that one!)
"Living in this world is like living in a shipwreck. We find many treasures here, but clearly things are not as they should be." - G.K. Chesterton
(I had to check out his bio - especially since Kendra will be reading Father Brown stories this year! I share it here: Gilbert Keith Chesterton (May 29, 1874 – June 14, 1936) was an English writer of the early 20th century. Chesterton was known as the "prince of paradox" because he communicated his conservative, often countercultural, ideas in an off-hand, whimsical prose studded with startling formulations. For example: "Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it." Most of Chesterton's works remain in print, including collections of his Father Brown detective stories, and Ignatius Press is presently undertaking the monumental task of republishing his complete works.)
Jesus said things would only get worse. Matthew 24:6-8 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
For all of us - death is at our heels.
In the story of the merchant of Baghdad, the merchant sends his servant to the marketplace, where the servant sees "death". Completely freaked out, he returns to his master, tells him the story and asks for the use of a horse so he can flee to Samaria. The master consents, and heads to the marketplace - where he also sees "death" and asks why he tormented his servant. To which "death" replies that she did not torment him, but was rather surprised to see him there in Baghdad, considering she had an appointment with him that evening in SAMARIA!
The statistic is still accurate - 10 out of 10 people still die. We all have an appointment with death.
God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil - because on the day they eat of it they would surely die. We live in this horrible dicodomy of being made in the image of God, but being stamped with the sin of Adam.
Porky's uncle is visiting, and while on his flight, he sat next to a nurse who had gone to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. While there she was raped by one of the people she had gone to help. The mar of sin is stamped on all of humanity.
Eventually death will chase us down, but there is a city of refuge.
Jesus Christ is our refuge - our strong tower, our fortress, our shelter, our rock, our hiding place. He's our refuge from our sin nature, our bad circumstances, to give us rest, for times of temptation, in times of trouble, in confusion, in weakeness, when we are overwhelmed, and when we feel hopelss.