Scripture: The LORD said to Moses, “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.” Exodus 1:1-2 ESV
Observation: Yahweh held the firstborn as sacred to him, whether it be the firstborn of Abel’s flock (Genesis 4:4), his chosen people (4:22), Israel’s firstborn (above verses), or his only begotten Son, the firstborn of all creation (Colossians 1:15). Indeed, we better understand God’s wrath toward Moses for failing to circumcise his firstborn son (4:24-26) en route to telling Pharaoh to let firstborn Israel go to serve him or consequently lose his firstborn (4:23). So now, at this particular point of Israel’s journey, God commands his people to consecrate their firstborn because they are soon to arrive at Succoth (12:37), the first resting place after the Exodus. And it fell within the seven days set aside for the Feast of Unleavened Bread (12:15), allowing time for the newborn boys to recover from their circumcisions.
Takeaway: Why consecrate the firstborn to God? In addition to the historical precedence above, we gain perspective from offering our first fruits to the Lord. It is not a tithe (for we should dedicate all our children to our Father) but an opportunity to express our gratitude to our gracious, loving Creator for blessing us with his firstborn Son and the gift of our children. By offering his Son to us to bring reconciliation and eternal life, we too become firstborns of the Father, grafted into firstborn Israel (Romans 11:11-24). And it is a declaration of trust: when we consecrate our children to God, we tell ourselves and others that our children will receive the best of care under the watchful eye of their loving Father.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for giving us your best in your firstborn Son. Would you please help us to not only consecrate our children to you but keep on offering them to you when they are making poor decisions, for we know that your love for them is unfailing? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling