Today’s reading: Numbers 3-4.
The Bible has been laying down many foundational principles so far, such as God’s faithfulness and our need to obey him, but it’s also practical in application. Let’s look at the foundation for today’s passage, then apply it to daily living.
The LORD also said to Moses, “I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine, for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether man or animal. They are to be mine. I am the LORD.” Numbers 3:11-13
There is a transaction here. God is exchanging something for all the firstborn male Israelites that would have died when the death angel came through Egypt. He says in that moment they became consecrated to him. Now he exchanges the tribe of Levi for all those firstborn males, and Moses counts the Levites and all the firstborn males of Israel to see how they match up. There were 22,000 Levites and 22,273 firstborn among Israel. The Israelites pay money to account for the extra 273 firstborn, and the exchange is completed.
I think God consecrates the firstborn in honor of his son. The application requires us to honor God by giving him our first.
- the first of our earnings
- the first of our time
- the first of our energy
- the first of our devotion
How easy we find it to push God down the list. Rather than first, he gets the left-overs. There are many days where my heart and time are given to other things, when I should desire God first of all.
Consider one more application. God required that the firstborn be given back to him because he saved them from death. But now, God has given us his firstborn son and we are saved by him. This is the ultimate exchange: we all become God’s consecrated firstborn when we believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection.
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. Hebrews 12:22-24
Image by RTD Photography on Flickr, CC by-sa 2.0