Most of us know the story of the Israelite’s deliverance from Egypt. The destroying angel goes throughout Egypt and puts to death every firstborn animal or child. The only people exempt from this destruction were those who had slaughtered the Passover sacrifice and put the blood upon the doorframe of their home.
The instructions from the Lord that we read in Exodus 13 are given to the Israelites after their deliverance from Egypt.
The Israelites were commanded to do two things:
They were to “consecrate” every firstborn male to the Lord.
Consecrate: sacrifice; belonging (ownership)
Commemorate: remember as affecting present feeling, thought, and action
Here is something very important for us to remember:
Passover and the consecration of the firstborn were intricately linked together.
It took the shedding of blood – that of the firstborn of Egypt to free the Israelites. Nothing else accomplished the purpose.
Notice what was said in Exodus 4:22:
Then say to Pharoah, “This is what the Lord says: Israel is My firstborn son, and I told you, “Let My son go, so he may worship Me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’”
Why the firstborn?
In this period, the firstborn son was the heir of the household. He was the heir to a double portion of the inheritance. He was the favored son – the son who would inherit the father’s authority and who would be responsible for caring for the household.
Also, the “first” was also symbolic. The consecration of the “first” whether it be a son or harvest or animal symbolized holiness and brought blessing upon everything.
The destruction of the firstborn of Egypt delivered the Israelites and set them apart as God’s own people. As God’s own people, they owed Him everything. To symbolize God’s position as “first” in worship and love, all their “firsts” were given over to Him.
They were delivered and redeemed = free from bondage to Egypt and purchased from slavery by blood.
The Lord delivered them by sacrifice – the firstborn of Egypt. Their relationship with a holy Lord was maintained by sacrifice – the consecration of their “firsts” to God.
Now, fast forward to us.
Deliverance from Egypt is one thing. Deliverance from the evil residing in the heart of man is another. Salvation has come to all humanity. It comes through the sacrifice of Jesus, the holy Only Begotten, and therefore firstborn Son of God.
If the price of deliverance from Egypt was the imperfect, firstborn of Egypt and that sacrifice consecrated all the firstborn of Israel as God’s……….What do you think the sacrifice of the Holy Firstborn Son of God consecrated in our lives?
Would it consecrate any less? It purchased our lives and made us His own possession. It made Him our first love – before any other loves. If that was manifest through the giving of the “firsts” in the OT, how is it manifest now?
When your son asks you, “What does this mean?”
“I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt. Verse 8
“With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, both man and animal. This is why I sacrifice to the Lord the first male offspring of every womb and redeem each of my firstborn sons.”
The Jewish Passover consecrated all their “firsts” to the Lord. Consequently, my Passover sacrifice – Jesus consecrated all the “firsts” of my life to the Lord.
Passover (my salvation) and the consecration of the firstborn (the belonging of every “first” in my life) are intricately linked.
When you understand this principle then many other principles like tithing make sense as well.