JOSHUA - Chapter 20 - THE AVENGER Print E-mail


JOSHUA – Chapter 20

Tuesday, October 11, 2016, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


I dedicate this teaching to Donald J. Trump as the Avenger of his past has sought to destroy him and his challenge as president of the United States.  Jesus is your Refuge!


“Jesus my Refuge!  Legion-foes may seek to drive me from the field, but in your strength I shall rest---You are my Shield.  Storms may arise, affliction sweep with sudden shock, my spirit to your shelter flies You are my Rock.” (John Ross MacDuff)


I thought I had finished teaching Joshua.  The Lord brought the “Cities of Refuge” in chapter 20 back before me.  I checked the sermon notes and I skipped over this chapter.  This chapter represents the sinner who has broken the Divine law and is pursued by an avenger.


When I began to study it, I could see an allegory with this past week’s embattlement of Donald J. Trump as well as many others on various levels.


In the land of Canaan, if a Hebrew, without any evil purpose, would cause the death of a brother Hebrew, with no intent to inflict any injury by the shedding of blood, he was liable by the Levitical law to be killed by the Avenger, or “Goel.” 


The Avenger of the blood was the nearest relative to the murdered man.  If he wished to escape with his life, his only chance of safety was to flee to one of the Refuge-cities.  There was no time to delay.  He must leave at once.  To linger might be to perish.


Job 2:4: “And Satan answered the LORD, and said, skin for skin, yea, all that a man has will he give for his life.”


We can recall when Moses died and the devil contended with Michael the archangel for the body of Moses because Moses had murdered a man.  Michael the archangel disputed Satan that he dare not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, the Lord rebuke you.” (Jude 1:9)




The accuser of the brethren will bring up our past sins and sins that are under the Law. 


These six Cities of Refuge are an Old Testament picture of the sinner and of the gospel salvation.  This is the way the LORD taught the Jewish people great gospel truths.  The avenger pursues the sinner with his drawn sword of Justice.


Ezekiel 18:4:  Behold all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of

the son is mine; the soul that sins, shall die.”


Prov. 11:21:  Though hand joins in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished; but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.”


The Gospel of grace declares “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Ro. 3:23)  But a glorious city, “Salvation its walls and bulwarks,” opens its gates.  The sinner is exhorted to “escape thither;” to “linger not in all the plain,” to “flee for his life, lest he be consumed.”(Gen. 19:17) 


That city is Jesus, the sinner’s Refuge and the sinner’s Friend.  Once within its walls, no enemy can touch him, no sword can terrify him.  He can triumphantly exclaim, “Who shall separate me from the love of Christ?” (Ro. 8:35)


Once we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the avenger is “stilled.”  The “avenger” has sheathed his sword.  Blessed be the Lord; for he has shown me His marvelous kindness in a STRONG CITY.” (Psa. 31:21)


There are six cities in Joshua chapter 20.  the name of each of the six has something significant to tell about THE NAME OF JESUS.  They are six pictures of the Savior, hung up in the Old Testament picture gallery. 


How sweet the NAME of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear!  It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, and drives away his fear.”


1.         Kedesh signifies “Holy”.  Jesus is “The Holy One.”  Angels in heaven, as they cast their crowns at His feet, cry, “Holy, Holy! Holy!”  Devils on earth were compelled to exclaim, “We know you who you are, the HOLY ONE of God” Jewish priests, as they spoke of Him of old by types, took “a lamb without blemish.”  Jewish prophets, as they spoke of Him in their prophecies called Him “The Righteous (or Holy) Branch.”  Apostles, as they wrote about Him, said “He was HOLY, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.”  When He was Himself on earth, He could challenge His bitterest foes, “Which of you convinces me of sin?”   When he came down, soon after His ascension, from his throne in Heaven, we find Him proclaiming as His name, “He that is HOLY, He that is True.” (Rev. 3:7)


Jesus was always good, kind, gentle and never revengeful.  Let Kedesh be a word written on our hearts.  Whenever we are in trouble, difficulty, or temptation, the Name of Jesus is our strong city.


2.                  Shechem – We studied Shechem last week at length as the political cradle of the nation and the place where Joshua distributed the land among the 12 tribes.  This was also one of the cities of refuge.  Shechem means “Shoulder.” Jesus our Refuge bore a guilty world upon his shoulders.  “Surely he has born our grief and carried our sorrows!”  Jesus is our Shechem at God’s right hand.  The government is upon His shoulder.”  The Church and the world are upheld by Him---the poorest, the weakest, and the humblest---are on the shoulder of Jesus.  He is bearing the weight of them all, loving us, attending to us, and interceding for us. 


All that befalls me, Jesus orders:  Food, clothing, health, strength, friends and home are gifts from Him.  Every tear I shed, He knows it.  He appoints it.  If sorrow and trial are on my passage of life, I will go and enter the gates of this city Shechem, and remember, “Jesus who died for me bears me on his shoulder!”


Jesus, the good Shepherd carries a bleating sheep on His shoulder to the fold, that poor wanderer went astray on the dark mountains.  When the gracious Shepherd found it; he laid it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” (Lk. 15:5)


We have perfect security and safety in Jesus and in the Gospel City!  Far more so than the manslayer had of old in his.  I will both lay me down in peace and sleep; because you, Lord only make me to dwell in safety.”


They shall never perish; neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.” (Jn. 10:28)


  1. Hebron means “fellowship,” “society,” “friendship.”  Jesus has brought the guilty man into fellowship with God.  On account of sin we had forfeited this fellowship.  Sin had made God not our friend, but our enemy.  When we are in sin, Angels in their errands of mercy pass by our world.  Jesus has bridged the wide gulf between earth and heaven.  Jesus is the true Hebron—the true ladder of Jacob let down from heaven and reaching to earth.  Jesus has “reconciled things on earth and things in heaven.”  He has “raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places.”  We who were once ‘afar off” have been brought near.  Without Jesus, our Hebron-City of Refuge, we would be outcast in creation, an alien from all that is holy and happy.


In Christ Jesus, God is our Father, Jesus is our elder brother and husband, the Holy Spirit is our guide, comforter, healer, deliverer, and friend.  Heaven is open to us through Jesus Christ.  We are citizens of the great Hebron abode---“the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”  Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ.


  1. Bezer means “Stronghold,” or Rock.  Jesus is our Bezer.  The sinner is in danger everywhere else, but in Jesus he is safe.  He is invited to “turn to the stronghold” as a “prisoner of hope,” and once within its gates, “though a host encamp against him,” he need “fear no evil.”


I will say that all Hell has broken loose against Donald J. Trump.  The Republican Party, The media, the Democrats, and every other demon force.  They better be careful.  Donald J. Trump though he is being chased by the Avenger for his past sins is now hid in Bezer.


What a mighty forces does encamp against Donald J. Trump.  There is God’s Holy law with all its terrible threatnings and curses.  But sheltered in the true Bezer, he can triumphantly say, “It is God that justifies, who is he that condemns?”  (Ro. 8:33).


Satan is spoken of in the bible as “a strong man armed”.  But Jesus is “stronger” than this strong man.  If you have fled for refuge to this great gospel Bezer, seated within its secure bulwarks you can joyfully exclaim, “I will say of the Lord, He is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength in who I will put my trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”


In the time of affliction, we sing, “God will be a refuge for the distressed; a refuge in the time of trouble; and they that know your name shall put their trust in you.” (Ps. 9:9)


  1. Ramoth means exaltation.  Jesus is the true Ramoth.  He is exalted to be a Prince and a Savior!”  He was once lowly, despised, rejected, crucified, and slain.  Many bulls have compassed me; strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.  They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.” (Ps. 22:12) 


God has highly exalted Jesus.  Angels exalt Him---seraphs adore Him---Saints praise Him---the Church on earth magnifies Him---The Church redeemed in heaven magnify and exalt Him for ever and ever!


“Though now ascended up on high, he bends on earth a brother’s eye.”


Jesus is exalted in heaven, and exalted by all the glorious family of heaven. 


  1. Golan literally signified Joy.  Jesus is truly the Golan of His people.  Not one joy could visit us unless Jesus deemed it so.  There is not one step the Christian takes but Jesus is Golan to us – “joy.”  He is straying, a lost sheep on the dark mountain, in search of peace:  Jesus meets him, and says, “Your sins are forgiven you.”  Christian has many fiery trials to try him.  Jesus tells him not to think these “strange,” but rather to rejoice.  When we walk through a dark valley, Jesus meets us there.  The sinner sees “the King in His beauty,” and the land that is yet “afar off,” and believing, “he rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”  When Jesus beholds us from his throne in judgment, his blessed words are welcome “Enter ye into the JOY of your Lord.”  When as a ransomed one, he enters the streets of the New Jerusalem at whose feet it is that he is cast through all eternity, “in the presence,” O Savior God, is “fullness of joy.”


The joy that Jesus gives is like a great river---deep, calm, ever-flowing, overflowing—not full in winter and dry in summer, but full, clear and refreshing all the year long.  There is great joy in the Gospel City of Refuge whose name is Jesus.


These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain you, and that your joy might be full.” 


Heb. 6:18:  “…We have a strong consolation who has fled for Refuge…” 


In Numbers chapter 35, we find that the manslayer had his liberty restored to him upon the death of the High Priest.  The avenger could no longer injure him.  He could return happy and secure to his home.


It is the death of our great High Priest that has purchased our release from spiritual captivity.  The law can no longer hold us.  Justice can no longer threaten us.  We can go forth with the glorious liberty of a child of God, saying, “Who is he that condemns? ---it is Christ that died.”


As in the cities of Canaan, so is this glorious Gospel-City of which they were types, there is a Well of living water, the Holy Spirit. 


All the walls which pride, self-righteousness and good works can rear can do nothing to keep out the sword of avenging justice.  But the sprinkled blood of covenant mercy will; for the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses from all sin.


Vengeance is mine, and I will repay, says the Lord.” 


Read the motto over the gateway of all these six cities.  Read the motto over the door of the Gospel Refuge: “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other NAME given under heaven among men by which the sinner can be saved, but the NAME OF JESUS.


Jesus my Refuge!  Look on me: when weak and weary, worn, oppressed; I cast my every care on thee – You are my Rest.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

Scripture from K.J.V. – I entered into the labors of John Ross Macduff, The Cities of Refuge; or the Name of Jesus.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of Rev. MacDuff (1818-1895)

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