Exodus 13

Exodus 13 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence

To consecrate a person, place or thing is to declare it to be sacred, to set it apart from ordinary use and to dedicate it to the service of God.  In v.2, the Lord tells Moses to consecrate all the firstborn creatures in Israel whether man or beast in commemoration of the Lord’s redemption of the firstborn of Israel living in the land of Egypt during the time of the plagues.  In the previous chapter, the Lord struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt as an act of judgment, and the only thing staying his hand from killing the firstborn of Israel was seeing the blood of a lamb smeared upon the doorposts and the lintels of their houses.

It’s not as if God needed help in distinguishing between the homes of the Israelites and the Egyptians.  The application of the blood was both an act of faith in the word of the Lord as well as an acknowledgement that the Israelites were just as deserving of death as the Egyptians because of their sins.  The only thing that set them apart from their Gentile neighbors was this divine gift of redemption through the death of a substitute in the form of a lamb.  Of course, we now understand that the lamb itself did not assuage God’s wrath on that day but only represented the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ who would come at that appointed time and lay down his life as the Lamb of God; his sacrifice alone could appease God’s righteous indignation over sin.

This ancient act of consecration illustrates that salvation doesn’t take place in a vacuum.  In the Bible, salvation is always connected with redemption.  We are not saved from our sins in order that we might go on living in the same way as before but without the consequences.  We are saved in order that we might live an entirely new life that is not our own but belongs to someone else.  Thus, consecration is an outward demonstration of our new reality as the redeemed of God.  Our lives have been purchased by God through the blood of his son Jesus Christ.  As the first answer in the Heidelberg Catechism teaches, “I am not my own but belong body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.”  It is because we have been redeemed that we are now called to live consecrated lives unto God.

In the New Testament, in Hebrews 12:23 the saints are referred to as “the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven.”  It is not merely those who were physically born first that are spoken of here, but all those who have been elected by God, redeemed by Christ and sanctified by the Holy Spirit that are under obligation to serve the Lord, offering our bodies as a living sacrifice to God, holy and acceptable in his sight, for this is our reasonable service to the Lord in light of his great salvation.

It is because God did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all, that we are now called to live our lives wholly for Him.  Once we really understand this holy calling upon both our body and our soul, our lives will never be the same.