In yesterdays post, I pointed out that the Lord instructed Joshua to build six unique cities to be called cities of refuge. These six cities were all built high on hillsides and could be seen for miles around. They were dispersed throughout the Promised Land so they could be reached from any place. The purpose of these six cities of refuge was to be a shelter of protection for those who had innocently shed blood (accidental deaths). Here are the next two cities God told Joshua to build:
3. Hebron: “Communion, Fellowship”
The third city of refuge that God instructed Joshua to establish was Kirjath Arba or Hebron. It means “communion, fellowship.” (Joshua 20:7) The Joshua Generation Church is a place of communion and fellowship with God, and also with one another. This place is pictured in Ephesians in the marriage relationship between husband and wife. “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:23-32)
We are the Bride of Christ in the earth. We love, relate and respond to our Lord in the same way a Bride lovingly responds to her husband. Our loving God longs for relationship and fellowship with His “Bride” in the earth.
In this beautiful picture of the Bride and Bridegroom, we find several powerful principles that not only flow between our Lord and us, but are also meant to flow in our interpersonal relationships in the church.
The first principle we see in Ephesians is that the church is to be in submission to the Lord, as a wife is to be to her husband. Submission releases the Lord to be our Savior. Submission also releases the Lord to be our Deliverer. The Lord responds with His protecting, delivering power to the submitted believer.
Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church and “gave himself for it.” Love is to flow from Christ into us, and then into one another. The glorious church is a church filled with the love of God for one another and for the world. The Bride of Christ will radiate God’s glory as we receive and release God’s love.
The Church is washed clean by the water of the Word of Christ. It is God’s Word that purifies and sanctifies the church. We also see the power of our words spoken to one another to “wash” each other with God’s Word.
As the Church becomes committed and submitted to God and to each other, we will see the power of God’s love flow from us to our hurting world.
Everything that God does in ministry, He does through the law of relationship. Our relationship with Christ is to produce fruit. Our relationship to one another is also to produce fruit. The church is to be a place of thriving relationships that produce healed and restored lives. God wants to heal you and restore your life, and He will do it through your relationship with Him and with His people.
4. Bezer: “Fortress, Stronghold”
The fourth city of refuge that God told Joshua to establish was Bezer. Bezer means “fortress, stronghold” and is a picture of the army of God in the earth. In every city of the world, God wants to establish a stronghold or a fortification of His might and power.
Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the Wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery Darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”
We see here that the church is to be “dressed for war” by putting on the armor of God. We’re commanded to “be strong in the Lord.” The end-time church will be a warring church, not warring against flesh and blood, but against our enemy and his kingdom. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
Much of the language in the New Testament is military in tone. It was written as a training manual for the army of God in the earth. Writing to Timothy, Paul states, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:3, 4)
The Lord instructed Moses that, at the appointed time of battle, when they would fight the enemies of God, to let all the warring men of Israel shout with one accord, “Let God arise and His enemies be scattered!” Let us, as the army of God in the earth, join together and shout, “Let God arise and His enemies be scattered!”