We have been ‘REDEEMED’ by God’s FIRSTBORN SON: Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: "Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites instead of their livestock. The Levites shall be Mine: I am the Lord. And for the redemption of the two hundred and seventy-three of the firstborn of the children of Israel, who are more than the number of the Levites, you shall take five shekels for each one individually; you shall take them in the currency of the shekel of the sanctuary, the shekel of twenty gerahs. And you shall give the money, with which the excess number of them is redeemed, to Aaron and his sons." (Num 3:44-48)
The book of Numbers starts with God directing Moses and Aaron to number the people of Israel by their tribes or armies (Num. 1:3-4) in order to organize them and assign them specific duties. Previously, when God had killed all the firstborn of the Egyptians and spared the firstborn of the Israelites, He had sanctified all these firstborn of Israel, both man and beast, for Himself (Num. 3:12-13).
However, among the tribes of Israel God established the Levites as the priests to care and do the work in the tabernacle, and chose the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the children of Israel (Num. 3:11-13). This is what God declared repeatedly: “The Levites shall be Mine” (vv. 11b, 45b). When the Levites were numbered by Moses and Aaron, all the males from a month old and above added up to 22,000 (v. 39). When all the firstborn males from a month old and above in Israel were numbered, their total number was 22, 273 (v. 43). This meant that an excess of 273 firstborn Israelites were to be redeemed by the Levites (v. 46) that was done by Moses taking 5 shekels from each of the firstborns individually (v. 47). So, for the total of 273 excess firstborn Israelites, a total sum of 5 x 273 = 1356 shekels was collected by Moses and handed over to Aaron and his sons as the total redemption price (vv. 49-51).
What does this mean for us? One thing that we need to understand is that God’s laws are constant and timeless, and God does everything through His foreknowledge and infinite wisdom. While the firstborn among the Israelites were redeemed by the Levites, they paid the redemption money @ 5 shekels per person. For the sins that we were born with and committed during our lifetime, being the New Testament ‘Levite’ and belonging to the priesthood of God (1 Peter 2:5, 9), the redemption money had to be paid by God’s firstborn Son, Jesus Christ. He could not pay it through just money for the cost of the redemption was too high. So, our Lord Jesus Christ paid our redemption money by paying the price of His own blood on the cross of Calvary!
Thus, we have been redeemed by God’s firstborn Son, and He gave up His own life doing that. What a wonderful God we serve and worship! Do we need a better reason to be more thankful to God and glorify Him today?