Day 80: Cities of refuge

Numbers 35:1-8 The Levites, who were designated to give priestly service to all the tribes, would not be assigned land. All the tribes, however, were responsible for their support and livelihood and each tribe was to contribute land within their boundaries for use by the Levites.

Ch 35:9-34 The Lord called for the establishment of six “cities of refuge” where persons who killed someone accidentally might flee and avoid vengeance while awaiting justice.

Ch 36:1-13 Under a new clarification of the Law, women who held inheritance of land from their fathers had to marry within their own tribe; otherwise, tribal lands would transfer to the tribe of the woman’s husband. The rule comes about not as a restriction on women per se but in compliance with God’s plan that land within the boundaries of a particular tribe could not be ceded to another tribe. 

Deuteronomy 34:1-12 Before his death, Moses took one last look at the Promised Land to which God had led his people. The stage was set for their triumphal entry under their new leader, Joshua. 

Psalm 121 Hills: This may be a reference to the “high places” of the pagan shrines erected throughout Israel by idolaters. Pagan worship usually had the purpose of obtaining prosperity in the present life; obviously, this is a temptation very alive today (Prosperity Gospel, anyone? Or maybe Genies? 🤔). The faithful must be able to distinguish between the true mountain, which is Christ, from the hills of idolatry that invite us to a worldly blessing that soon vanishes. We must keep our minds and hearts fixed on God “who made heaven and earth” for our strength, protection, and true fulfillment. (Cf. Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, October 12, 2005)

The Lord is our keeper: This is essentially an answer to the question in the opening verse. God’s fatherly protection of his people means he is trustworthy. This fact does not rid us of difficulties in life; rather, it assures us of his constant help in overcoming all obstacles. 

“Our God never lets us out of his sight; he is like a mother who watches closely over her child as he takes his first steps...What consolation the Christian feels, to know that God is ALWAYS WATCHING OVER HIM, that he witnesses his trials and struggles-to know God is on his side” (St. John Vianney, Sermon on Corpus Christi). (CCC 239)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. We thank you this day and every day for being with us on this journey. We thank you for guiding us on this journey through these desert wanderings. We thank you for your faithfulness because, Lord, you meet us in our weakness, you meet us in our unfaithfulness even in the small call to be faithful to hearing your Word every single day. Lord God, when we fail in that, today is our day 80. Even if we failed a bunch of times, this is day 80 of this journey through the Bible. We are all so grateful that you continue to guide us on this journey and you continue to lead us and you continue to speak to us and you continue to shape our hearts to be more and more like yours, to shape our vision of you and of the world to be more and more like yours. Help us to see like you. Help us to live like you. Help us to love like you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”