“Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past.”
A phrase in the verse above arrested my attention when it says, “…while his heart is hot, and overtake him…” God established the city of refuge for Israel so that the innocent slayer could save his life from the avenger of blood. God knew that the avenger of blood would brood over the loss of a loved one, and the longer the journey was to get to the slayer, the hotter their heart would become, even to the point that the hot heart would overtake him. God wanted the city of refuge to be set up so that the avenger of blood wouldn’t do something that would cause them to do wrong.
A great lesson can be learned from this verse that will keep everyone from doing something they should not do while they are angry. Face it; everyone gets angry at some point. There are times when people do things against you that can cause you to want to react out of the heat of the moment instead of waiting until your heart cools down to let your head make the decision of what to do. This verse teaches several lessons that you need to apply to your life when you face a moment that you want to get revenge.
First, think with your head, not your heart. One of the things very evident in this verse is that God wanted the heart out of the decision-making. Any time the heart takes over, it reacts off the moment instead of what is right or wrong. You will regret any action taken any time you make a decision based on a heated heart.
Second, dwelling on the hurt doesn’t make you a better person. The verse above shows that the longer the avenger traveled, the angrier they became because they dwelt on the issue. You cannot allow adverse circumstances to take over your life. You must learn to set it aside while your heart is hot so that it doesn’t turn into bitterness.
Third, another’s wrong never makes your wrong right. One reason God set up the city of refuge is because He was trying to keep an innocent person from doing wrong out of anger. Just because someone else wrongs you doesn’t give you permission to do wrong. You are to do right even when others do you wrong.
Fourth, let time become your city of refuge to cool down. Another reason for God to set up the city of refuge is because He wanted the avenger of blood to have a cooling down period. Whenever you have to deal with a wrong that angers you, be sure to take the time to cool down before you start going into the decision-making process of what you are going to do.
Fifth, don’t do something in the heat of rage that you will regret later in life. There is nothing worse than having to right things you did wrong that hurt others in previous years. Rage always causes you to have to repair the damage that you caused. Always remember, you can apologize, but apologizing never repairs the damage that rage caused.
Sixth, seek the mind of God to determine what you should do. The purpose of the city of refuge was for God to reveal if someone was wrong. While you are cooling down from what happened, seek God’s mind as to what you should do. You will never regret acting off God’s mind, but you must take the time to learn His mind.