11 But if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities: 12 Then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.Deuteronomy 19:11-12
It may seem very obvious to say that the Bible is against murder. God values human life as a separate category. It is not meant for us to have the ability to take a human life.
The context of these verses, as we have seen for the past couple of days, is instruction to Israel about cities of refuge. Cities of refuge were intended to be used by people who were involved in accidental deaths, or manslaughter, fleeing the wrath of people who wanted revenge or who were responsible for prosecution and execution. The danger of having cities of refuge is that they could be used by people who were guilty of homicide, not manslaughter. The instruction to the leaders of these cities was that they were to investigate the claims of those who entered their city for refuge. People lie. Especially people who have the moral scruples to murder. It was up to these leaders to verify those claims.
Notice that the verse 11 goes in steps:
- Hatred for someone internally.
- A plan forms.
- Cover up.
In the scripture, as we pointed out before, Jesus condemned numbers 1-4. Murder begins in the heart. If we have something against someone, we must get that right. The scripture says:
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil.Ephesians 4:26-27
And just a few verses later it says:
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.Ephesians 4:31-32
It is important that we maintain our heart attitudes toward others before it gets to hatred, planning, murder and cover up!
- Is there anyone that you are harboring hatred towards? Take a moment to search your heart. Ask God for forgiveness and make a plan for making it right.
- Is there anyone you need to forgive? Remember the basis of forgiveness is not that they deserve it, but that we have been forgiven.