Nothing about our lives is too small for God’s involvement. He is a loving, caring, involved Father to his people. Back in the days of the Canaanite conquest, he held Israel’s hand and settled them into a land of their own for the first time. And what was true of God then is just as true of God today: he keeps an eye on his children, watching over even the minutiae of their lives, making accommodation for their weaknesses yet guiding them into the righteous living that is necessary for his gracious blessings upon them.
Going Deep // Focus: Joshua 20:1-3, 9
The Lord said to Joshua, “Now tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed Moses. Anyone who kills another person accidentally and unintentionally can run to one of these cities; they will be places of refuge from relatives seeking revenge for the person who was killed…. And he must continue to live in that city until the death of the high priest who was in office at the time of the accident. After that, he is free to return to his own home in the town from which he fled.
The more I study scripture, the more impressed I am with God. I mean, I already love him, serve him, and worship him wholeheartedly, but as I get to know him more and more over the years, the more amazed I am at who he is—his character, his benevolence, his love for his people. And here in Joshua 20 as we learn of the cities of refuge he commanded of Joshua, I am struck with how accommodating toward his people he is.
We develop some very interesting ideas about God along the way; some of them entirely wrong and inaccurate, some of them flat-out heretical, some of them misguided and some of them incomplete. Mostly our tainted views of God come from second-hand information—learning about him from extra-biblical sources, like parents, Sunday School teachers, club leaders, etc. Now there is nothing wrong with learning from the people who disciple us; that is actually the way of God. And we depend upon others to help form our understanding of God when we are children or new believers. So I am in favor of human teachers and deeply appreciative of what they do for us. After all, I am one!
But sometimes we end up with a view of God that has not been informed directly by the Word of God. That is why we can develop a view of God that sees him as detached from our daily lives and common concerns, or that sees him as angry and spoiling to judge us, or as a grandfatherly type deity in the cosmos who winks at sin and is at our beck and call to give us our every wish. If you hold that view of the Almighty, it didn’t come from scripture, it came from people.
But at some point, we need to know God from scripture. When we do, we quickly learn that he is not perpetually angry, or disconnected or wishy-washy about sin. In fact, we see from this chapter which details his prescription for dealing with accidental deaths in the community that he is very much concerned about both justice (the righteous punishment for sin) and the accommodation of our human frailty (his anticipation that there will be accidental deaths among the human race). Furthermore, we see in the founding of these cities of refuge that God didn’t merely give rigid, inflexible rules to govern the social and legal needs of his people, but he took into consideration that there would be some gray areas of the law as well as highly reactive human emotions to accidents and grievances. It also shows us that God went to great links to provide practical guidance for even the mundane matters of human life. Actually, it shows us that nothing about our lives is too small for his involvement.
God is a loving, caring, involved Father to his people. That was true back in the days of the conquest as he held the Israelite’s hand and settled them into a land of their own for the first time. And what was true of God back then is just as true of God today: he keeps an eye on his children, watching over the smallest of details of their lives, making accommodation for their weaknesses yet guiding them into the righteous living that is necessary for the release of his gracious blessings.
So be encouraged. God cares about your life—every last detail of it.