Through the Bible Day by Day
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
THE FIRST-BORN SET APART UNTO JEHOVAH
Two Hebrew customs dated from the Exodus-first, the dedication of the first-born to God’s service, and second, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. See Luk_22:7. The first-born had been especially redeemed and so were especially God’s. On them all was branded the one brief word Mine. What a lesson for us all who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. We are His by right of purchase; we ought to be His by our own choice and indwelt by His Spirit. Whenever we take up this position with regard to God, we may count on His strong hand. In after years the first-born sons, who performed the priestly rites, were replaced by Levites, Num_3:11-13; but still they were ransomed by a slain lamb. Every first-born son lived because a lamb died. In this he stood on the same level as the firstling of an ass. What a parable is here! See Rom_3:22; Rom_10:12.
And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
THE PEOPLE ARE LED OUT AND PURSUED
There were two routes to Canaan, the nearest through the land of the Philistines; but to take that would have exposed the Hebrews to the very sights that so dismayed the twelve spies. See Num_33:1-56. They might have had to fight every mile of advance. This would have been too great an ordeal for their young faith. So God, like the mother eagle, bore them on His wings. The Angel who conducted the march in the cloud chariot, led them about. Thus God deals with us still, tempering the wind to the shorn lamb. Patience and faith are still severely tested by the circuitous and laborious route, but when in the afterwards we understand God’s reasons, we are satisfied. There are many lessons learned on the wilderness route. How often God leads us into what seem to be impossible positions, that in our absolute extremity there may be room for Him to work. All is love. See Psa_136:1-26.