“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 13:2.
Exodus 13:12-14 says: “…All the firstborn of your animals that are males shall be the Lord’s. Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. Every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?”
I’m sure there are people who read this passage of scripture and have the same question: what does this mean? Let me explain in a little more detail. If you had an animal and your animal was considered a clean animal, then you sacrificed the first born. If your animal was considered an unclean animal, then you had to sacrifice a clean animal to redeem the unclean animal. You probably are thinking that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is wondering what God is doing. As I said on Sunday, this all points to Jesus.
Think about what the verse says. If it’s unclean, it has to be redeemed with the sacrifice of the clean. Now, let me say that again. If it’s unclean, it has to be redeemed with the sacrifice of the clean. And if it’s clean, it has to be sacrificed. I asked the question on Sunday whether all those in attendance at all of our campuses were clean or unclean. The answer: unclean. We were all born into sin.
But, was Jesus born clean or unclean? The obvious answer is clean. The clean Jesus had to be sacrificed so the unclean, or all of us, could be redeemed. In the Multiply series we are going to be talking about finances because the Bible teaches about finances. So think about this. Jesus was sacrificed so we could be redeemed. So let me say it another way because this is referring to giving the first to God. Jesus is God’s tithing.
God gave Jesus in hope, or in faith, that we would give our lives to Him, that we would give our lives to God. In other words, God didn’t wait to see if we would get our act together and then give Jesus. The Bible says that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) So God gives Jesus before anyone really believes in Jesus. He gives Jesus as that sacrifice. So, the first born must be sacrificed or redeemed.
God said, “When your sheep has a lamb, give me the first one.” It takes faith to give the first one before you have any more. You don’t know if the sheep is going to produce any more. That takes faith. God didn’t say, “Wait until your sheep has ten, and then give me one of them. And You can give me the one that keeps getting into your garden that you don’t like.” No, He said, “You give me the first one before you have any others.”
When you begin your week with God, the rest is blessed. When you begin your day with God, the rest is blessed. And when you give the first portion of your finances to God, the rest is blessed. That’s this principal. The first born must be sacrificed or redeemed.
- God is a God of order; if Christ is first in your life, everything else will come into order. Agree or disagree?
- What does the principle of first mean to you, and do you agree or disagree that it is important?
- What are some things in our lives that might conflict with the principle of first? Explain.
- What types of fears or concerns, if any, do you wrestle with most when thinking about the principle of first?
- Read Proverbs 3:9. How can we give our time and talents to God using the principle of first? How do you view the difference between commitment and trust? Which of the two values do you identify with the most?