Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Exodus 13:1-2 (NIV)
The Lord said to Moses, “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal.”
Exodus 13:1-2 (MSG)
God spoke to Moses, saying, “Consecrate every firstborn to me— the first one to come from the womb among the Israelites, whether person or animal, is mine.”
“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Sanctify to Me [that is, set apart for My purpose] every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of animal; it is Mine.”” -AMPLIFIED
Jehovah speaks to Moses with instructions on the need to set aside the firstborn of every human and animal unto God. The particular words used were consecrate or sanctify; which means to anoint, dedicate, or set apart for sacred purposes. This act was to be a reminder of what God had done for the children of Israel by sparing their firstborn; while the firstborn of the Egyptians were taken.
We will find in chapter 13 instructions, once again, about the Passover, but we also find directions on the consecration of the firstborn; both human and animal. “When God brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as he promised you and your fathers, and turns it over to you, you are to set aside the first birth out of every womb to God. Every first birth from your livestock belongs to God. You can redeem every first birth of a donkey if you want to by substituting a lamb; if you decide not to redeem it, you must break its neck.” -Exodus 13:11-13a (MSG)
We also find the reason why they were to consecrate the firstborn to God, “Redeem every firstborn child among your sons. When the time comes and your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you tell him, ‘God brought us out of Egypt, out of a house of slavery, with a powerful hand. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, God killed every firstborn in Egypt, the firstborn of both humans and animals. That’s why I make a sacrifice for every first male birth from the womb to God and redeem every firstborn son.’ The observance functions like a sign on your hands or a symbol on the middle of your forehead: God brought us out of Egypt with a powerful hand.” -Exodus 13:13b-16 (MSG)
The sanctification of the first-born was an obligation given by Jehovah. It was not an option, it was a command; given by the Creator of all things. By consecrating the firstborn it was also an acknowledgment that without the intervention of Jehovah the people would still be slaves in Egypt. It was also a recognition and acceptance of the great mercy and grace of God extended to the children of Israel.
All of this should be a reminder to the followers of Christ of our need to be consecrated and sanctified to Him. For we too would still be slaves of sin, but for the saving grace of Jesus Christ in our lives. We need to recognize the amazing mercy and grace extended to us. In fact, we have been called to be living sacrifices to Him. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” -Romans 12:1 (NIV)
God spoke these words to the children of Israel in the Old Testament. “Set yourselves apart for a holy life. Live a holy life, because I am God, your God. Do what I tell you; live the way I tell you. I am the God who makes you holy.” -Leviticus 20:7 (MSG)
In the New Testament we are reminded by the Apostle Peter of the need to still be consecrated and sanctified to God. “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:13-16 (NIV)
Are you living a consecrated, sanctified, holy life for God?
Lord God, my desire is to live a life holy and acceptable unto you. I want to be that living sacrifice for you. I know there are times that that living sacrifice is squirming to get off the altar and not very obedient and cooperative. Forgive me, Lord. Help me to be holy, as you are holy. Help me to keep my eyes focused on the goal; eternity spent with you. Help me to be pleasing in your sight, dear One.