TODAY’S READING: Numbers 35–36
Cities of refuge were protection against vendettas or private revenge and they guaranteed that the community of people (when guided by God) were the only ones with the gathered wisdom to apply the most drastic punishment. In the same way that the Spirit of God in the people of God makes us moveable temples (God sends His Spirit into the world through a multitude of carriers), so, too, in our day are God’s people movable cities of refuge. The accuser and destroyer of souls hounds the lost from every people unmercifully—and there is no sanctuary. Who can escape the demons that pass through walls and glide over borders? None but the redeemed, for the fiends of the devil have no authority to penetrate the hearts of the saints. God sends His people out into all the earth as moveable temples (that the unreached might find salvation) and as moveable cities of refuge (that the unreached might find sanctuary).
Whatever your political opinion of affirmative action, it’s intriguing that God is intentional about maintaining an environment where diversity can flourish. When we read the end of the Bible, which is the beginning of eternity, we see men and women of every tribe, tongue, people, and nation around the throne. It is clear that the goal of God in history is not a number, but an inclusion. God is not aiming for unanimity of one race or people; He is aiming for the ultimate inclusion of representatives of every race. Every race, culture, people, language, and tribe that God created will, by His Sovereign power, be represented in heaven.
Pictures of this wonderful and intentional inclusion were given as Numbers concludes (Num. 36:1–13). Concern was raised that if ladies married outside their tribe, property would be lost over time to other tribes, with the result that some tribes would become dominant and others fade out. God’s solution was to make provision that every tribe’s inheritance be preserved, and the means was that women could choose their mates as long as they chose someone from their tribe (v. 6). The implications that ring across the centuries are empowering: It’s an affirmation of the equality of women with men. It’s an affirmation that God loves the unique races and cultures. He does not want our differences erased or boiled down to some boring uniformity. And it’s an affirmation that every race, people, language, and tribe are wanted in God’s heavenly house.
In this sense Numbers ends as the Bible ends: Every tribe with an enduring place in God’s land. Every people with an eternal place around God’s throne. Let us be diligent to always keep this inclusive passion of God before us. Let’s celebrate the tribes. Let’s remember that they combine to make one beautiful family of God. Let’s live out that unity now on earth as an invitation to that great family reunion above—a union and reunion without end. Will someone please let the Kuranko know they are missed? We don’t get to start the party until they join us.
 The Chronological Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 189.