Wednesday, April 12, 2006

THE Amazing Race

"Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any persons at unawares" (Numbers 35:11).

Old Covenant Israel was very familiar with the concept of blood revenge. Peoples of the ancient world believed that if you accidently killed someone, the nearest kin of the dead person should kill you --- to avenge the blood of the loved one.

When God gave the land of Canaan to His people, He did not forbid the avenging of blood, but rather, He established six Cities of Refuge for the nation of Israel. Three cities were on the east side of the Jordan river, and three cities were on the west side of the Jordan river. It was said that every Israelite was within a six hour or less run to the nearest City of Refuge.

The events of the Old Testament are often temporal, physical realities that typify eternal, spiritual truths. Charles H. Spurgeon explains that the manslayer pictures the person who breaks the law of God. The avenger is God's law, since it is the standard by which sinners will be judged. "The soul that sinneth (against the law of God) shall die." The City of Refuge, of course, pictures Jesus Christ.

Let the Race begin:

I. God reveals the objective of the race.

"Reach the city of refuge before the avenger reaches you" (Numbers 35:12).

It is absolutely essential that a sinner flee to Christ before he stands before His Creator on the day of judgment and gives the required account of his life in relationship to the law of God. No sinner will be able to stand after God's law is used to judge a person's life. The soul that sinneth shall die.

II. God removes the obstacles in the race.

So that the sinner may flee quickly and safely to the City of Refuge, God makes the way plain.

(A). The roads that reveal the way.

Unlike all other roads in Canann, the roads that led to refuge were regulated by law. They must be straight, never meandering, and they must be smooth. The Levites were responsible once a year to remove any stones or impediments on the roads that led to refuge, and they were responsible to repair all bridges.

So it is when a sinner comes to Christ. The way is plain. The gospel is clear. There is no circular route to Jesus. Their are no rituals. There are no round about ways to Christ. Flee straight to Him. Nothing stands in your way.

(B). The people who prepare the way.

The Cities of Refuge were owned by the priests of Israel. These Levites were often on the roads that led to refuge and assisted the weary runner to not give up, to continue running, to not stop. So it is with the people of God. We who have arrived to our Refuge have a responsibility to insure that those who have not yet come to Jesus are assisted as they flee to Him. God forbid that we place a stumbling block in the path of a lost sinner in need of Refuge. We are called by God to pray for sinners, to love sinners, and to be willing to risk our lives to insure those sinners reach Refuge.

(c). The signs that signal the way.

All along the roads that lead to refuge there were signs in Hebrew with just one word -- MIKLAT. These Hebrew word for REFUGE pointed the way.

If the manslayer accidently killed his friend, he would find his path to Refuge straight, smooth, and signed. He would not delay his race. The avenger would be on his heels. But the people of God would assist the manslayer as he ran for his life.

How beautifully that pictures sinners in need of a Savior. Obviously, they must be convinced by the Holy Spirit that the law of God demands their death. They must know in their hearts that their immorality, jealousy, envy, thievery, idolatry, lust, adultery, pride, and every other sin demands the justice of God. But once a sinner feels the hot breath of God's law on his back, his only hope is to run to Refuge.

III. God regulates the outcome.

When the manslayer reached the City of Refuge, fleeing from the avenger who sought his very blood, the Levites would take the manslayer and keep him in the City of Refuge --- until the High Priest died (Numbers 35:25).

When the High Priest died, the manslayer could then leave AND THE AVENGER COULD NOT TAKE HIS LIFE.

Jesus Christ is our High Priest. He has died for us.

Therefore, the law has NO MORE AUTHORITY OVER US.

We are free from the law, o blessed condition.

Hebrews 10:17 says "Your sins and iniquities I (God) will remember no more." Christ, our High Priest has died. We are free from the conemnation of the law.

O sinner, listen! Have you who have refused to run The Amazing Race? I have just one question for you: Are you crazy?

The law of God will avenge the holiness and righteousness of God. Your life is on the line. Run. Don't delay. Run to the only Refuge ever established for sinners --- run to Jesus Christ.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Anonymous said...


What a great 'type' in scripture. How wonderful that the new testament is foreshadowed so much in the old. In fact, the old testament contains the new. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

God is good. Let's keep the focus on Him, and we'll chase the devil out yet!

Anonymous said...


I just took a spin around the blogosphere to kind of see what everybody is saying today. It struck me that we love our controversies, don't we?

I feel qualified to speak about this, since I am a great offender. Is Jesus our answer, or not? If so, let's focus on Him, and Him alone.

I am ashamed. I have been in His presence in a real way, but like a child, I can't seem to quit playing in the dirt. We all play in the dirt of SBC politics, we run to criticize the latest brother guilty of stupidity...but this is not our purpose or calling. We are princes and priests of the Most High God, dressed in white through the blood of the Lamb...but we're playing in the dirt, not acting like princes.

We run to comment on the mudslinging or controversial posts, but here after a post of a celebration of Christ's finished work...I feel like I'm talking to myself.

This we must remember...there is no man, no spirit, no force and no occurrance which will stop King Jesus from accomplishing His will and saving those appointed to eternal life. His will is always done, if not by me, then by someone else of His chosing who is more willing to expend his 'mina' and less willing to bury it in the dirt than I am. He is the Sovereign God...have we forgotten? His Word never returns to Him void, it will accomplish what He has sent it forth to do. The devil cannot defeat Him...but he can distract us and make us bury our mina in the dirt that we are playing in, and thus it does no others must. This controversy CANNOT STOP HIS WILL FROM BEING DONE, OR EVEN DELAY IT FOR ONE SECOND. If it can, the God is not God. So let's expend our energies elsewhere.

You don't fight the Lord's battles with the world's weapons. If we do, then our usefulness drops to nothing. God shares His glory with no one. If we would focus on Christ, repent, walk in His light and PRAY...then we would see the mighty acts He wishes to display in our midst. "Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you" We need to quit playing in the dirt, stand as princes of the Most High God, Jesus Christ, and walk in His light, fight with His weapons--the fruit of His Spirit, extend His mighty loving hand to each other, and let others see Jesus Christ in us.

Thanks, and love in Christ,

Greg said...


I think blogs serve a purpose when used properly.

I have attempted to keep personalities out and focus on principles.

I will do the same for the weeks and months to come.

In His Grace,

wade said...


Thanks for your comment! said...

I am quite sure God would never ask that question.



Anonymous said...

To Wade and Hiram Smith,
Smith ask Wade if God every asked man if he was crazy. Maybe God didn’t say that in so many words, but Paul did. Galatians 3:3 “Then have you gone completely crazy? For if trying to obey the Jewish laws never gave you spiritual life in the first place, why do you think that trying to obey them now will make you stronger Christians?
Of course that is not King James but the old Living Bible. The new Living Bible: “Have you lost your senses?...”
“Crazy” is like the 2x4 the farmer used to get the mule’s attention if you remember that joke. We all could be described as “crazy” in doing some things in our lifetime.
Rex Ray

Anonymous said...

To Greg,
I have enjoyed your many comments as they have brought out TRUTH. I think I know where you’re coming from when you say we need to stop “playing in the dirt.” Yes it would be nice to stay on the mountain top and only worship God and Jesus, but that will happen only in heaven.
Until then, the work goes on in the VALLEY where there is plenty of dirt. Exposing dirt is not “playing in dirt.” Stephen’s exposing dirt got him martyred. Some could have said if Stephen had not played in the dirt, think how many souls he could have saved in living a long life. “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” Some have said if Stephen had never prayed, Paul would have never preached.
So, how much dirt is in the SBC? That is a matter of opinion. Leaders would say it is white as snow, but are they the blind leading the blind? As none of my three children attend a Southern Baptist, I am reminded of a letter posted in the Baptist Standard written by Richard Green.
In the autumn of 1989 I sat before an ordination council in Denton and wept when I was asked how I felt about the rift in the SBC. I was surprised by my outburst. I fully expected a question about my feelings regarding the “conservatives” and the “moderates.” I was prepared to talk about my personal conflict over the conflict in my beloved denomination. I was not prepared to weep.
My emotions betrayed a deep heartbreak that my mind had overlooked. When I managed to control myself, I told the ordination council my sorrow was the realization that my then newborn son would not grow up a Southern Baptist like I had. The convention that I had known was changing into an organization I did not recognize. Because I disagreed with some of my brothers, I was not welcome at home any more.
Almost nine years later, my sorrow has been realized. My children will not be Southern Baptist like me. And while we still faithfully attend a SB church, I will not be surprised if my children choose some other denomination or non-denomination. This is not a tragedy, but to me it is sad.
So I should not be as amazed as I am to be called a ‘parasite.” Herschel Hobbs would not have called those with whom he disagreed parasites. Duke McCall probably never called anyone a parasite. Russell Dilday is certain to avoid identifying people as a parasite.
But the immediate past president of the SBC, Tom Elliff, called me a parasite. He didn’t identify me personally, of course, but I know about whom he was speaking. What I had always suspected they were saying behind my back, is now out in the open.
I would be more wounded if I didn’t remember the words to the hymn: “Alas and did my Savior bleed, and did my Sovereign die. Would he devote that sacred Head, for such a worm as I.”
Richard Green Laurel, Mississippi
Rex Ray