OFFERING the ‘BEST’ that WE HAVE to GOD
January 22 Bible Reading: Exodus Chapters 13-15
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine...and it shall be, when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as He swore to you and your fathers, and gives it to you, that you shall set apart to the Lord all that open the womb, that is, every firstborn that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be the Lord's." (Exodus 13:1-2, 11-12)
Immediately after the children of Israel left the land of Egypt for the Promised Land, God set up a clear directive for them to follow. The directive was that every male firstborn child born in any Israelite family and every male firstborn animal born in their stall shall be consecrated to God. The firstborn sons would become priests of God, until the tribe of Levi was later set apart for this service. The firstborn of clean animals were to be sacrificed to God within a year. God gave this command so that every Israelite family will thereby prove their allegiance to God!
The first child born in any family is considered as the most valuable gift that God gives to any parents. The perceived value of the child is multiplied if it is a male child as this child will grow up to inherit the major portion of the family estates, and carry on the bloodline of the parents forward. So is the case of the firstborn male animal that is considered to be of immense value to the animal owner, and usually that animal is retained in the fold for propagation of that animal’s species.
There was however a deeper message for the children of Israel within God’s ‘law of the firstborn’. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to release the children of Israel, whom he considered a good labor force to serve the interests of Egypt, God took away from him and all the other Egyptian families a greater value through killing all their male firstborn children and all their male firstborn animals. God had delivered the firstborn of every household of faith in Israel. He had done this by redemption, by purchasing the firstborn with the blood of the Passover lamb. Therefore, the firstborn of men and animals were to be “set apart” for His service!
This commandment also speaks to us, who are the New Testament Israel, about offering the ‘best’ that we have to God. Whatever we possess belongs to God, for "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (James 1:17) God demands that we offer Him our very best for His use just like He demanded the very best from Abraham when He said these words: "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." (Gen 22:2)
When we are ready to offer our very best to God, whether it is our very best time, talent or treasures, God will bless us greatly even as He blessed Abraham (see Gen. 22:15-18). Not only that, God will provide for us everything important that we need in our lives!