“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether man or animal.’” (Exodus 13:1, 2 NIV84)
I find this section of Scripture fascinating! The Lord had just saved the firstborn of all the Israelites from the 10th plague via the blood of the lamb that was placed over the door frames of their houses. The Israelites were not only to remember the redemptive act of God on the day of Passover, but every time a firstborn was born into a household, they had to redeem (buy it back) from God. Why? Because God declared that all firstborns were His. Whether human or animal, all firstborn were now the Lord’s. Just imagine for a minute that your firstborn child was not really yours. Put your feet in the shoes of the Hebrew people. In order to call their firstborn theirs, they needed to buy it back from the Lord. They had to offer a sacrifice to the Lord so that their firstborn could be theirs. But in doing so, they were forced to remember God’s redemptive act.
I am fascinated by how important it is for God that we know Him as redemptive. He knows that Satan can so quickly twist our religious faith into a self-centered righteous works kind of thing. He wants us, even today, to be focused on redemption and firstborns, because God sacrificed His own Son as the Lamb of God that took away all of our sins. The Lord doesn’t want us to ever forget that we are His and that He loves us so much that He redeemed us from everything that separates us from Him. The cost of forgetting has eternal ramifications. For the Old Testament Israelites and for us 21st-century Christians the challenge is to focus our faith on God’s redemptive grace.
Don’t ever forget that!