Deuteronomy 19

Deuteronomy 19 has Moses defining how the Promised Land was to be set up to deal with those who caused accidental death.  When they entered the land, the people were to select three cities that were to be defined as safe zones where someone who caused a death without intent could flee and be protected.  God commanded them to set up three cities initially and add three more as there footprint grew and they conquered more area.  This was a way to keep anger from causing a fatal response when the initial act was unintentional.

Now this didn’t apply to an intentional killing.  “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, 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”.  Safe cities only were protective if the death was accidental.  The example scripture gives is the head accidentally flying off an axe and killing someone while chopping wood.  It definitely did not apply if there was premeditation.

Moses also addressed the requirement of multiple witnesses with any accusation.  “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”.  It requires at least two or three witnesses in order to create a charge.  God holds people responsible for their witness.  If done maliciously, people were to be brought before judges to question and determine truth.  The one who is testifying falsely was to be purged from the people.

God cares about truth.  And He requires obedience.  We sometimes put a little too much focus on the impact of sin.  It isn’t a little issue.  Sin is a big deal, big enough that God sent His only Son to the Cross to pay the price for it.  While the exact actions for sin today are different than back in the times of Moses – we don’t kill people for false accusation today – we should not lose sight that God still deals with those kinds of sin.  There is a price to pay for sin.  Jesus paid it, but only if we receive that gift of eternal life from Him.  Are you covered?  Have you invited Jesus into your life as Savior and Lord?

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