Numbers 35:29-31   “These are to be legal requirements for you throughout the generations to come, wherever you live. Anyone who kills a person is to be put to death as a murderer only on the testimony of witnesses.  But no-one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. Do not accept a ransom for the life of a murderer, who deserves to die.  He must surely be put to death.”

Sadly these verses have come up on my radar for today’s devotions!  The question of capital punishment is an extremely vexed one for Christians this side of the cross, and I certainly don’t have either the wisdom or the space to deal with it here!  I remember having to debate it in the Senior Debating Team at High School, but I have no memory of the outcome, whether we won or lost, or what I really believed about it when the dust settled.  At least all the debaters ‘kept their head’ throughout!

It might just have to be one of those questions on which, having studied all the Biblical evidence, and the credible arguments from both sides, we need to shrug our shoulders (which is a bit of a challenge for me at the moment, after a should operation!) and keep an open, teachable mind. Nevertheless, there are very important lessons for us to take home from this chapter.

Firstly, the provision of the ‘cities of refuge’, and the relevance of the life and death of the high priest in connection to them, is clearly foreshadowing God’s promised provision of our Great High Priest and Rock of Refuge, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Secondly, the Lord God wants to impress on us as strongly as possible, the value he places on human life.  This is why the trajectory our present culture is on is so dangerous, and ought to give all Bible-believing Christians serious prayerful concern.  As the implications of the ubiquitous, scientifically-lacking and unproven theory of evolution continue to influence our culture, and secular humanism continues its all-out war against the importance and truth of Scripture, we find parliaments throughout the world enacting laws that not only support abortion and euthanasia, but that make it illegal for Christians to speak out against such practices.  The proposed government take-over of Calvary Hospital in the ACT, and attempts to silence  the teaching of clear, comprehensive Biblical truth and worldview in Christian Schools are current cases in point.

These are decisive days.  Let us take heart, and action, from the Apostle Paul: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5), remembering that our most powerful weapon is prayer.
– Bruce Christian