Hosea: Are you murdering on the way to Shechem?
As robbers lie in wait for a man, so the priests band together; they murder on the way to Shechem (Hos. 6:9).Shechem was no ordinary city, it was a city of refuge (Josh. 20:7). There were six of these cities in the promised land and their purpose was to protect people if they accidentally killed someone.
Appoint the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, that the manslayer who strikes any person without intent or unknowingly may flee there. They shall be a refuge from the avenger of blood (Josh. 20:2-3).The cities of refuge provided protection and a fair trial. If the manslayer did not have intent they were protected in the city until the death of the high priest, at which time they were set free and could return to their home.
Jesus is our city of refuge and high priest. When we had yet to receive the gospel we were in essence unintentional participants in the death of Jesus, since our sin resulted in the need for His sacrifice.
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34)."However, once we run to our city of refuge by believing in the gospel, we are set free from the penalty of Jesus death, since He is our high priest.
During the time that Hosea prophesied the priests were corrupt. Instead of teaching the people how to obey the commandments of God, they transgressed them in the most egregious way, by intentionally corrupting the justice of God. They were twisting the justice of God and using it as a license to sin.
Since we know that Jesus' death frees us from the penalty of sin, we often error on the side of sin. "Christians" who intentionally sin are committing murder on the way to Shechem, but we also must be careful not do things that we think may be sinful since our intent is no different. Trying to walk a fine line with sin, is in essence sin, since the intent is to do things our own way. We need to be vigilant that we don't become so familiar with the grace of God that we use it as a license to sin.