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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 351-400 (Seven - The Cries)

F.E. Marsh :: 399. The Cities of Refuge

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HEBREWS 6:18 makes a distinct allusion to the Cities of Refuge, and the man fleeing there for safety, as a type of Christ the Shelter for the sinner. Let us look at the kind of Refuge which Christ is.

  1. Christ is a Protecting Refuge. Jehovah is said to be in Isaiah 25:4, “A Refuge from the storm;” and in Psalm 59:16 the Psalmist says, “Thou hast been my Defence and Refuge in the day of my trouble.” As the man who had killed another inadvertently, found protection from the avenger of blood in the City of Refuge, so those who flee to Christ find protection from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10), from the curse of a broken law (Gal. 3:10), from the justice of God (Exodus 34:7), from the consequence of sin (Heb. 9:26), from the power of darkness (Col. 1:13), from the love of the world (Gal. 1:4), and from the dominion of sin (Rom. 6:16), and find safety in the day of trouble.
  2. Christ is a Pleasant Refuge. 1 Joel 3:16 we read, “The Lord will be the Hope of His people,” or, as the margin gives it, “The place of repair, or harbour.” The Hebrew word rendered “hope” is the same as in the two previous passages of Scripture, where it is translated “refuge.” The marginal reading of “harbour” is suggestive of a pleasant harbour of refuge, such as is being built at the present at Peterhead and Sunderland. They are being built at great cost, to provide havens of rest for the storm-tossed mariners, where they can be in safety and calm. We can quite understand a sailor who has known the protection of one of these harbours regarding it as a pleasant place. But what is this in comparison with what Christ is? He is the Altogether Lovely (Cant. 5:16). Rest of conscience (Matthew 11:28), joy of heart (John 15:11), satisfaction of soul (Psalm 36:8), brightness of hope (1 Peter 1:3), gladness of spirit (John 20:20), preciousness of promise (2 Peter 1:3), and pleasantness of peace (Prov. 3:17), are found in Him.
  3. Christ is a Permanent Refuge. “The Eternal God is thy refuge” (Deut. 33:27). The word “refuge” might be, and perhaps better, rendered “habitation.” The Lord is the Home of those who have fled to Him. The refugee was not to go out of his place of safety until the death of the high priest (Josh. 20:6). Our High Priest will never die, therefore with Him we shall live in the power of His endless life. It is in this sense that He “saves evermore” (Heb. 7:25, margin). Those whom the Lord takes up He never gives up (John 10:28-29). For “ever with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17), is the lock that shuts us into the glory and gladness of His presence for ever. Among the precious “no mores” of the Book of the Revelation is this one, “He shall go no more out” (Rev. 3:12).
  4. Christ is a Personal Refuge. More than once the Psalmist chants the words, “The Lord, He is my Refuge” (Psalm 91:2, 9). Well for us if we can sing-
    • “Jesus, my heart’s dear Refuge;
    • Jesus has died for me.”
    It is not enough to know that Christ is the Saviour we need, the essential thing is to make personal application to Him, and each to receive Him for oneself. The testimony of God’s saints is one on this point. Dr. Doddridge on his dying bed said, “I have no hope in what I have been or done, yet I am full of confidence, and this is my confidence, there is a Hope set before me. I have fled, I still fly for refuge to that Hope. In Him I trust, in Him I have strong consolation, and shall assuredly be accepted in this Beloved of my soul.” Having fled to Christ as the hiding place, the next thing is to make Him our abiding place, for as there is no safety out of Christ, neither is there joy if we are not abiding in Him by obedience to His Word; as Hewetson said, “I never have a moment’s peace when I return in the slightest degree to conformity with the world; but I always have great peace when my soul returns home to its City of Refuge, the Lord Jesus Christ. Communion with Christ is the only source of satisfaction, the only source of lasting enjoyment.”
    • “Son of God. Thy Father’s treasure,
    • He yet gives Thee all to me;
    • Angels vainly toil to measure
    • What I have in having Thee.
    • Grace so vast bewilders Heaven;
    • God to me His Christ has given.”

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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