The Passover took the firstborn from the Egyptians, all the Israelites were spared. Now God directs a simple gesture of gratitude: “Consecrate to me every firstborn male.” So what does it mean to consecrate? When was the last time someone asked me to consecrate something?
Answer: In the Bible the word consecration means “the separation of oneself from things that are unclean, especially anything that would contaminate one’s relationship with a perfect God.” Consecration also carries the connotation of sanctification, holiness, or purity.1
In Romans 12:1, Paul provides a New Testament view that extends consecration to everyone, we are all a “living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God…” Over and over we are reminded of the good things God has done. For some reason the Israelites needed constant reminders, how about us? Their memories were so bad AND they witnessed miracles on a scale that we have not seen in our lifetime. Will we remember?
It didn’t take long for the grumbling to begin, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?” Exodus 14:11. Seriously? Yes. That’s the plan. No! This was an opportunity for God to demonstrate his power, his desire, in front of a million Israelites: The crossing of the Red Sea.
Pharaoh pursued the mass of people to retrieve “his slaves” and restore the brick industry, but God had other plans. God needed to intervene. These people had been slaves for generations, 430 years. All they knew was slavery. The eldest elder was the son of a slave. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the concept. They didn’t know how to muster an army, they had just packed up everything they had and headed out of Egypt. They were probably pretty unsure of their decision when God intervenes and demonstrates a sample of what he has in mind:
And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. Exodus 14:31
I wonder if I see the small miracles in my everyday life, the evidence of God’s hand in little things. On one hand, God provides additional funds for our family with a requirement to work day and night for a period of time. On the other, money is ripped out from our family and given up for unplanned reasons. At the end of the day, somehow, it all balances out. Do I have the faith to believe? Will I put my trust in God?
I don’t know your ways, my Lord, but I will follow you all of my days. Let me learn from those that watched amazing wonders and yet got confused, but keep me from becoming the grumbling fools I read about.