He will protect His flock like a shepherd, He will gather the lambs in His arm, He will carry them in His bosom; He will gently and carefully lead those nursing their young.
Isaiah 40:11 AMP
I want to show you how there are no insignificant details in the Bible by uncovering hidden truths concealed in the names of the six cities of refuge found in Joshua 20. Read along with me and let’s see what the Lord has for us: “So they appointed Kedesh in Galilee, in the mountains of Naphtali, Shechem in the mountains of Ephraim, and Kirjath Arba(which is Hebron) in the mountains of Judah. And on the other side of the Jordan, by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness on the plain, from the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead, from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan, from the tribe of Manasseh” (Josh. 20:7–8, boldface mine).
Let me give you the meaning of the names in order of their appearance. Kedesh means holy place or sanctuary. In the cities of refuge, people sought asylum in the sanctuaries. Then we have Shechem, which means shoulder. Shechem, by the way, is where Jacob’s well is. Our Lord Jesus met the woman at the well in Shechem. Joseph was buried in Shechem and his tomb is still there. Next, we have Kirjath Arba, which is Hebron. Hebron means friendship or fellowship and is the place where Abraham and Sarah were buried. Then, on the east side of the Jordan River, we have Bezer, which means fortress, followed by Ramoth, which means heights or highly exalted. We end with Golan, which means rejoicing or joy.
Now, let’s put these names together to see the message for us: You can find sanctuary (Kedesh) on the Lord’s strong shoulders (Shechem), which He offers in fellowship (Hebron). He is our fortress (Bezer) and He highly exalts (Ramoth) us above all our troubles with great rejoicing (Golan).
Hallelujah, all praise, and glory to the Name above all names! The names paint a stunning picture of our Lord Jesus, stooping down to where we are, and offering His stronger shoulders to us when we are fearful and weary. What a beautiful picture of the Good Shepherd rescuing His lost sheep!
Beloved, when we have failed and are completely worn out by the fights of life, He offers His shoulders in fellowship. He is our sanctuary. He is our holy place, where we are set apart from the world. When we respond to His desire for fellowship and climb on His broad shoulders, He lifts us up.