Lord what a seemingly complex system You dictated to the Israelites for justice.
You have told us before that the shedding of innocent blood pollutes the land, and that the blood has a voice.
You heard the voice of Abel’s blood calling to You from the ground and confronted Cain. Here, one who kills with intent is a murderer and is to be put to death by the blood avenger. The blood avenger is the male relative closest to the one who was murdered. He is to avenge the blood that was wrongly taken.
If there is a question about the motive, whether there was intention to kill or not, the one who killed can flee to a City of Refuge to stand trial, and be safe there from the blood avenger. At the trial, no one is to be put to death on the testimony of less that two witnesses.
Today, we call a ”witness” to testify as to what they “saw.” However, they have no way of judging the intent, or what was in the mind of the person accused.
But in the Hebrew culture, one teaching suggests that a “witness” is one who has already
- confronted the potentially guilty party,
- explained to them what they were doing is wrong,
- and the penalty they will bear if they proceed.
Thus, they can testify that the accused was aware that what they were doing was wrong, and that they had been warned of the penalty. If the accused proceeded with the act, it was with volition and intent.
Father, I pray You would send witnesses into my life if I begin to stray down a path leading to sin. Stop me in my tracks and confront me with the realization of where I am headed, so I can turn around before it’s too late.
Father, Jeremiah saw wicked people prospering and called for their demise. You answered saying their end was coming.
I see much the same today. People who have denied You and live their lives for fame, power or profit are indeed prospering.
My society elevates them rather than calling for righteousness. And every day the time approaches when You will uproot and destroy them.
So how do I choose to live in these times? I will remember that You have chosen me. You have set me apart. So I will not seek the things society promotes. But will seek to be like the believers at the church at Thessalonica. Paul said of them: “Your faith has become known everywhere”. Father, let me live a life that these words will be true of me also.
Many years ago, a Sunday School teacher was telling about believers who were being persecuted in another country. And she asked, ‘If you were on trial today, would there be enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian?’ That really stuck with me. Help me live in a way that my faith in You is evident without a doubt.
Like the Thessalonians, let me also show “[my] work produced by faith, [my] labor prompted by love, and [my] endurance inspired by hope in [my] Lord Jesus Christ.” Show me how to work alongside You, not just look for anything I can do to stay busy. Let me see where You are working, and join You in a faithful labor of love. Let my hope in You inspire and hearten me to continue in whatever task You show me.
The Thessalonians were inspired to endure hardship and trials by the hope that You would return to earth soon. I too am encouraged to be steady in my faith, believing that the time is nearing when You will return to earth, bringing eternal rewards. Thank You that Your Word is true. Thank You that Your justice is right. And that in Your Sovereignty and Authority, You are righteous! Amen
Jeremiah 12:1-17, I Thessalonians 1-2:8