Dedication of the First-Born
1The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Dedicate to me the first-born son of every family and the first-born males of your flocks and herds. These belong to me.”
The Festival of Thin Bread
3-4Moses said to the people:
Remember this day in the month of Abib. It is the day when the Lord's mighty power rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves. Do not eat anything made with yeast. 5The Lord promised your ancestors that he would bring you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, and Jebusites. It is a land rich with milk and honey.
Each year during the month of Abib, celebrate these events in the following way: 6For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast, and on the seventh day you are to celebrate a festival in honor of the Lord. 7During those seven days, you must not eat anything made with yeast or even have yeast anywhere near your homes. 8Then on the seventh day you must explain to your children that you do this because the Lord brought you out of Egypt.
9This celebration will be like wearing a sign on your hand or on your forehead, because then you will pass on to others the teaching of the Lord, whose mighty power brought you out of Egypt. 10Celebrate this festival each year at the same time.
11The Lord will give you the land of the Canaanites, just as he promised you and your ancestors. 12 From then on, you must give him every first-born son from your families and every first-born male from your animals, because these belong to him. 13You can spare the life of a first-born donkey by sacrificing a lamb; if you don't, you must break the donkey's neck. You must spare every first-born son.
14In the future your children will ask what this ceremony means. Explain it to them by saying, “The Lord used his mighty power to rescue us from slavery in Egypt. 15The king stubbornly refused to set us free, so the Lord killed the first-born male of every animal and the first-born son of every Egyptian family. This is why we sacrifice to the Lord every first-born male of every animal and save every first-born son.”
16This ceremony will serve the same purpose as a sign on your hand or on your forehead to tell how the Lord's mighty power rescued us from Egypt.
Being human, we are often “me centered” and we tend to forget really important things. When this forgetfulness moves us away from God, we need to find ways to remember.
The Lord did not want Israel to ever forget that he, the Lord of salvation, delivered them from slavery in Egypt. God delivering Israel was like God taking his own son out of Egypt. Literally, we see this in God sparing the firstborn sons of Israel on the night of Passover. Every house in Egypt that was covered by the lamb’s blood was spared. To keep this truth firmly in place in Israel’s collective memory, God gave them a ritual; a yearly reminder that he was the true Redeemer of Israel. They belonged to him.
It was to be in the month Abib at the time of Passover called by Israel the Feast of Mazzoth. Their bread was unleavened as they did not have the time to let it rise. But there was another reason. The restriction on the use of yeast (the symbol for sin) was to speak to Israel about their need for purity. Israel was to be pure as they left the bondage of Egypt. What was God saying? God was telling Israel that he requires his people to be holy, clean and committed to him alone. God himself is our Redeemer.
Ultimately, this feast points to the Lord Jesus. Jesus is the firstborn Son of God who is wholly pure. He is the perfect sacrifice that delivers us from the slavery and bondage of sin and death. Jesus is the Lamb of God, who gave himself for men and women. Today we celebrate the Lord’s table, the ordinance of communion instituted by Jesus for his disciples. Jesus did this so that they would not forget his death and resurrection. He came to deliver them from the bondage of sin and death. Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).We must go further than remembering him just in the communion service, and everyday remember the sacrifice Christ made to free us.
Father, thank you for reminding us through your Word the amazing story of redemption. Help us never to forget the sacrifice of your Son, Jesus, our holy substitute. Keep this truth firmly hidden in our hearts, so that we remain aware of your grace. We give you glory and honour.