Day 67: God's Justice and Refuge

Deuteronomy 19:1-21 The cities of refuge were communities where those responsible for unintentionally killing someone might flee and be protected from vengeance. Deuteronomy makes further provisions for protecting property rights and the rights of someone falsely accused. The law of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” was an effort to keep retaliation proportionate to the offense since it was not uncommon for a lesser injury to be avenged with the death of the perpetrator. (CCC 2262, 2302)


Deuteronomy 20:1-20 The regulations on war represent humanitarian progress over a total annihilation of the enemy, which was common in ancient times. The particular harshness imparted on the Canaanites was a protective measure against their idolatry and immoral customs that were infiltrating the people of Israel. (CCC 2327-2330)


Psalm 99 God is both holy and transcendent-infinite in every perfection-and, therefore, BEYOND THE REALM OF OUR COMPREHENSION. Nevertheless, God chose to communicate directly with us through Moses and the prophets. He revealed his Laws and his great love for us, which culminated in the Incarnation, by which God the Son became visible by taking on a human nature. (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audience, November 27, 2002)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)


  • Numbers 18: We hear about the duties of the Levitical Priests

  • We heard before that all the Tribes of Israel are going to be given land and flocks with work for themselves to do

  • The Levites are NOT given land

  • They are NOT given inheritance

  • Why?

  • BECAUSE GOD IS THEIR INHERITANCE

  • Their job is to SERVE GOD, LEADING WORSHIP OF GOD

  • The price of this is that means they don’t get land

  • They don’t get to have another occupation

  • They don’t get to have an inheritance

  • But the good news is they get to SERVE AND WORSHIP

  • They get to be at the Tabernacle in the Tent of Meeting in the Temple

  • But the Levites also receive the TITHE

  • Many of the sacrifices would be what supported the Tribe of Levi

  • Guilt Offering, Sin Offering, etc.

  • Part would be burnt up, and the rest would not only be offered to the Lord, and then given to the Tribe of Levi for their food for their families and food for their lives

  • That was how the Tribe of Levi made a living

  • The support of the Tribe of Levi came through the people of Israel

  • The great way in which this would have to cooperate is pretty remarkable for us

  • Remember the Tribe of Levi has no inheritance or property

  • They rely upon the fact that the other Tribes of Israel are going to be worshipping God and supplying their needs

  • At the same time, The Tribe of Levi had to give a TITHE OF THEIR TITHE

  • Even though they receive a TITHE from the people of Israel, they also had to offer a TITHE to God

  • This is so beautiful and fair and just

  • Deuteronomy 19: JUSTICE

  • There were three CITIES OF REFUGE at first, before they get into the Promised Land

  • But when they come into the Promised Land, they will have SIX cities of refuge

  • In God’s justice, if someone murders another, THEY HAVE TO DIE

  • But if it is ACCIDENTAL, someone in the HEAT OF ANGER will want to AVENGE THAT DEATH

  • So these people could go to the CITY OF REFUGE and the Avenger (Ironman, Hulk, Captain America, take your pick ;) We all know it wouldn’t be the most useless Avenger, Hawkeye ) CANNOT ENTER AND KILL THAT PERSON

  • If you are someone who has killed someone ON PURPOSE (MURDER) and you enter a city of refuge, and the accuser comes (along with 2 or 3 others) then the elders of the city of refuge will hand you over TO TRIAL

  • This is IMPORTANT

  • It is trying to avoid CRIMES OF PASSION OR REVENGE

  • They are only going to exact JUSTICE when it was EXPRESSLY PROVEN THAT IT WAS MURDER AND NOT MANSLAUGHTER

  • Remember the people of God were being brought from a place that was like the Wild West to a place of LAW AND ORDER and JUSTICE, NOT VENGEANCE

  • Deuteronomy 20: WAR!!

  • God told them to always give a people they attack the option to surrender or the option to have peace

  • UNLESS…..it was certain tribes in the Land of Canaan

  • These people were not to be given an opportunity to surrender

  • WHY?

  • This is difficult for us to understand

  • This is a very unusual kind of warfare

  • It strikes us as being SO BACKWARDS AND VIOLENT AND DOESN’T SEEM TO BE JUSTICE

  • THIS SEEMS UNFAIR AND CRUEL

  • These are WARS OF JUDGEMENT

  • These are NOT SIMPLE BATTLES

  • In this context, and we MUST UNDERSTAND THIS, the people of Canaan are living VIOLENT, DESTRUCTIVE, AND WICKED LIVES

  • A number of times we have heard God EXPRESSLY NOTED that in the Land of Canaan where they are about to enter, the people of Canaan SACRIFICED THEIR OWN CHILDREN-THEIR SONS AND THEIR DAUGHTERS-TO THE FALSE “god” MOLEK

  • They literally KILLED THEIR OWN CHILDREN (Bear with me here, but this made me wonder something....Abortion....is that another way that people sacrifice their own children to a “false god” of career, or circumstances, or whatever the reason may be? No judgement, just wondering 🤔)

  • God’s judgement HAS TO COME AT SOME POINT

  • We have questions about this and it is hard for us to understand God is saying that judgement is COMING FOR EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US

  • The people of Canaan were UNDER GOD’S JUDGEMENT

  • God was using the people of Israel to DELIVER HIS JUDGEMENT UPON THE PEOPLE OF CANAAN

  • Of course, if WE took this position, and took the law into our own hands, that is NOT WHAT GOD IS COMMANDING US TO DO (You and I do NOT live in those times, we live TODAY in the 21st Century so remember that)

  • But it is what God commanded the People of Israel to do

  • If we are cynical when we approach this…

  • If we are skeptical when we approach this…

  • If we decide WE DON’T LIKE THIS…

  • You may want to STOP READING

  • You may want to DISTRUST the Word of God

  • Look at that word….DISTRUST (Then the question is not so much, “Can I trust God?” but rather it is “Can God trust me?” I got that from Fr. Mike’s Homily on 3/7/21 for the 3rd Sunday of Lent. If you haven’t yet seen it, I highly recommend you do. Here is a link :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYZzMPmGo1E Watch from 9:04 to 31:12 for the Homily, it’s the best Homily I have ever heard)

  • We can wrestle with things

  • We can have questions

  • That’s not a BAD THING

  • Ask God what his Word is TRYING TO TEACH US

  • One of the things we MUST increase in our own hearts is our TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN GOD

  • When God led his people of Israel, the people he made a covenant with, into the land of Canaan, the Promised Land, there is devastating warfare

  • It wasn’t because God was being UNJUST

  • In fact, these wars of judgement on the people of Canaan but also they were wars because of the fact the God knew (GOD KNOWS EVERYTHING) that if the Israelites lived among these broken, evil people of Canaan, they’re going to CHANGE THEIR HEARTS

  • They are going to GIVE THEIR HEARTS TO THESE FALSE “gods”

  • These were not false “gods” like we have in our modern pluralistic society

  • We coexist with other religions today

  • But back then, God knew that the People of Israel had an incredible role

  • THEY HAD TO BE FAITHFUL

  • BECAUSE IT WAS THROUGH THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL THAT GOD WOULD BLESS THE WORLD

  • God KNEW that if the Israelites co-mingled with the Canaanites, they WOULD NOT REMAIN FAITHFUL

  • Guess what’s going to happen?

  • They are not going to do what God asked

  • They will not be faithful

  • At the end of Deuteronomy, Moses tells the Israelites, “After giving you all these Commandments, I know you are not going to do it.”

  • This may upset a lot of us

  • The context is that these were WARS OF JUDGEMENT

  • Against a people that had HARDENED THEIR HEARTS TO THE TRUE GOD

  • Against a people that had SACRIFICED THEIR OWN CHILDREN TO THEIR FALSE “gods”

  • God had to PRESERVE THE ISRAELITES’ FAITH so that you and I and everyone we know RIGHT NOW, THIS DAY could be BLESSED

  • At the same time, God knew that they wouldn’t be faithful and they wouldn’t do this

  • Maybe this can give you peace: God gave the commandment knowing they wouldn’t do it because He is revealing something in their hearts by this commandment

  • He is giving them PREDICTION rather than INSTRUCTION

  • Even though it is CLEARLY INSTRUCTION

  • Don’t let this be a FALSE PEACE

  • We aren’t done……

  • Whenever this gives us pause or trouble, IT IS OK

  • God is FAITHFUL AND JUST

  • HE NEVER EVER COMMANDS US TO DO ANYTHING UNJUST

  • God cares for EVERY PERSON

  • God makes the sun shine on the GOOD AND THE BAD

  • God makes the rain fall on the EVIL AND THE GOOD

  • GOD LOVES YOU

  • Even in our BROKENNESS, GOD STILL CHOOSES US BEFORE WE EVER CHOSE HIM

  • So we come before God, knowing that HIS JUDGEMENT IS JUST

  • God has the RIGHT TO JUDGE US

  • So we ask for His MERCY upon us

  • Lord, have mercy on us

  • Pray for Fr. Mike

  • Pray for each other



Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise. We thank you. We give you glory. You are the God of Glory and the God of Justice. Lord God, you care for the people, you care for justice, you care for us. So we ask you today, as we ask you every day, Lord, make our hearts like yours. Make our hearts the kind of hearts that desire justice, that run away from vengeance, but pursue after what is true and what is good and what is beautiful. Fill our minds with what is true. Fill our hearts with what is good. Fill our lives with what is beautiful. We give you praise, Lord God. Thank you and be with us today and every day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”