Remembering Whose We Are
Father, I praise You in astonishment. I adore You in gladness. I thank You in gratitude for who You are, for what You do.
Read Exodus 13:1-16
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
As we sometimes sing in church, “we give thee but thine own”. That’s because all that we have already belongs to God and is given us as a trust. We must be good stewards.
When life is prosperous and peaceful it is easy to forget who we are as humans made in the image of God, and what it means to live as people set free through Christ. This danger was anticipated when God commanded two regular ritual activities based on what he did in the Exodus. Eating bread without yeast for a week (3-10) is an act even children will notice–a time to tell of the Lord’s “mighty hand” (9) and how it enabled the Israelites’ speedy, dramatic move from slavery to freedom. This deliverance was not only in the past, for “them,” but for “me” and “you” (8, 9). Celebrating the Passover week was central during the later spiritual reformations under Hezekiah and Josiah (2 Chron. 30, 35). Ritual expresses and reinforces faith and relationship with God.
Likewise, the giving of firstfruits to God is an affirmation not only that all belongs to God, but also that God acts in history (2,11-16). To redeem the firstborn male (12,13) is a reminder that the Lord killed the firstborn in Egypt to deliver “my firstborn son,” Israel. Now, as then, God’s deliverance from forces of oppression and injustice and all forms of evil involves conflict, but God does deliver. Persistent rebellion against his purposes is met with judgment. Nowhere is the cost seen more clearly than in the death of Christ, the Son of God, guaranteeing that continuing struggles will lead to final victory over Satan (Rom. 16:20).
Regular joyous worship celebrating God’s deliverance, remembering the conflict, cost and generous giving of firstfruits are contrary to today’s outlook. Such attitudes as “my life is my own,” “what’s mine is mine,” “victory belongs to the strong” are widespread. Living differently will raise questions, not least from children who face these attitudes from their peers!
What are the answers you give when people ask you, “why”? How are you giving the “firstfruits” generously to God?
Lord, at times it can be hard to be countercultural. So often I want to go along to get along. Empower me with courage to stand for You.
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