Exodus 13:11-16 (NKJV)
“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. But every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. So it shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ that you shall say to him, ‘By strength of hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. And it came to pass, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all males that open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ It shall be as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes, for by strength of hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.”
Well, that’s inconvenient. God is demanding that all the firstborn males be sacrificed to Him, or redeemed by the sacrifice of a lamb. Why would God impose such a great burden on his people? They’re heading into a desert. Survival will be challenging. This will be hard to obey.
Good. That’s the point.
Separating real believers from the poseurs is a relentless theme in the Bible. Doing something like this, which makes absolutely no sense from a secular point of view, is a test of seriousness.
But tests don’t just separate winners from losers. God’s tests also turn losers into winners. The Israelites will learn to depend on Him and that they can count on Him. Their faith will grow through tests.
That will be the story, over and over, as they wander in the desert.
For an American, Christianity isn't anywhere near this costly. For a politician, being a Christian can be a big advantage. This holds for other things too. We may choose to sacrifice for Christ, but it’s still a choice. This results in a lot of weak believers.
Many Christians around the world don’t have this problem. Persecution is rampant, especially in Muslim countries. That keeps out the riff-raff. There’s no such thing as cheap faith there.
Please pray for these persecuted Christians. I couldn’t handle one hour of the deprivations they endure every day. We rarely even witness the kind of evil they live with – or live under. Pray for their physical protection. Pray that the forces of darkness will be thwarted.
Also pray for the unfortunates who are tools of the evil one. Pray like this is war.
It is war.
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