Today's devotion from Numbers 3.
Our reading today is hard to process. We see death at the mention of Aaron's sons, the plagues, and those who approach the sanctuary unlawfully. We see life in the discussion of the newborn. We see the potential of chaos being structured meticulously by God.
As I read through this account, there was one particular phrase that jumped out at me. We read, "At the time I struck down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated every firstborn in Israel to Myself, both mind and animal. They are Mine: I am Yahweh." (Numbers 3:13, HCSB)
I'm not sure why this one particular statement resonated with me, but I couldn't shake it. When we think back on the incident referenced we see that we must reframe it. We remember the institution of the Passover. We imagine the blood staining the doorposts with families hiding inside. I think of the old hymn we used to sing in the churches of my youth:
Christ our Redeemer died on the cross, Died for the sinner, paid all his due. All who receive Him need never fear, Yes, He will pass, will pass over you.
When I see the blood, when I see the blood, When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.
I've always associated the salvation of the firstborn among Israel as the angel seeing the blood and passing over, but until now I have never really thought through what happened. It was not only that the blood covered and hid the Israelites, but through their faithful obedience they were consecrated by God. In that moment, He did more than just let them live. He consecrated them. He called them sacred. He claimed them for His own.
We get too fixated on wanting God to "pass over" us. In reality, His desire is not to pass over us, but to draw us closer to Him. I know I'm jumping all over the place, but I'm trying my best to follow the thread. Too many people think their highest goal is to not go to hell. Churches are filled with people motivated to nominal faith by negative beliefs. God's plan was never just to keep the Israelites from dying, but to consecrate them to life. The same is true today. God doesn't just want people to avoid Hell, but to enjoy being with Him.