CONSECRATION AND PILLARS
God directs Moses to consecrate every firstborn among the Israelites whether man or beast. God had called Israel his firstborn; he struck Egypt's firstborn, and now he lays claim to the firstborn of Israel's families and flocks. The consecration of the firstborn reflected a total commitment of the people to the God who had redeemed them. God instructs his people to remember the day that they came out of Egypt from the house of slavery. God kept his promise, and now he establishes ways to commemorate all that he had done for his people. The practice of eating only unleavened bread during a specified time would serve as a way to help the people remember that God delivered them and would bring them in the land of Canaan to a good land where they would experience the fulfillment of God's promise to their fathers. For seven days, the people would eat unleavened bread and then on the seventh day they would celebrate a feast to the Lord. This memorial would not only direct people to remember how God had saved them, but it would also serve as a way to teach future generations all that the Lord had done for his people. The feast would act as a link between the past and the present and also serve as a pledge to keep God's law. The feast was to be observed annually to perpetuate this story of God's goodness and his power. When the people possessed the land that God had sworn to their fathers, they were to continue in these practices. Every firstborn would belong to the Lord which represent Israel's devotion to the Lord. God also includes the command to either redeem or forfeit the firstborn of all the unclean animals. Redemption would be practiced toward firstborn sons as well. When asked, parents would teach their children that they are God's people and because he had delivered them by his power, they would live according to their covenant obligations with gladness as a redeemed people.
Lest The People Change Their Minds
God led his people out of Egypt on a route that would take them to the Red Sea even though it was not the most direct route available to them. God did this to encourage his people lest they change their minds and return to Egypt. When God's people left Egypt, they were equipped for battle, and Moses took the bones of Joseph, fulfilling the promise made to him so many years ago. Joseph believed by faith that Egypt was not his home and that God would visit his people and bring them into the land he had pledged to their fathers. God led his people by day in a pillar of cloud and at night he guided his people by fire. God's presence was constant. The God who rescued and redeemed his people would also guide and protect them as well.
Things To Consider:
- How are we consecrated today?
- Why are rituals, symbols, and stories important for communities of faith?
- Why is redemption so important?
- How are we redeemed?
- How do we know God is with us today?
- Why does God sometimes take us less direct ways?
- Why does it matter if God keeps all his promises?