Redeeming Blood 6 - Robert Godfrey
Very strikingly, I think we also have the law of redemption relative to the birth of the first born. Exodus 13, "Every first born of the donkey, you shall redeem with a lamb, and if you will not redeem it, you shall break its neck. Every first born of man among your sons, you shall redeem, and when it time to come your son asks you what does this mean? you shall say to him, by the strength of hand, the Lord brought us out of Egypt from the house of slavery, for when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed all the first born in the land of Egypt, both the first born of man and the first born of animals. Therefore, I sacrifice to the Lord all the males that first open the womb, but all the first born of my sons, I redeem." (Verse 4)
Every time there was a first born in the house of Israel, they were to remember they were a redeemed people by redeeming that first born, and remembering how the Lord had redeemed them from Egypt at the price of Egypt's first born. Now sometimes I suspect some of us have thought, maybe God was a little hard on the first born. Why the first born of Egypt? Well, God explains. If we listen carefully enough, there is almost always a reason for what God does.
Exodus 4, Moses was sent by God to Pharaoh to say this, "Then you shall say to Pharaoh, thus says the Lord, Israel is my first born son, and I say to you, let my son go that he may serve me. If you refuse to let him go, behold I will kill your first born son." Pharaoh, forgetful of all that Joseph had done for Egypt to save them from starvation, had enslaved Joseph's sons, but they were not just Joseph's sons, they were God's first born as His people, and God warned Pharaoh, "If you try to destroy my first born in slavery, then I will destroy your first born. I will redeem my people at the cost of your first born Egypt. I will display my power over the gods of Egypt. I will drown your living god in the Red Sea. I will kill the first born of your families and of your animals to display that I am the Lord." Pharaoh hardened his heart. Though he was warned again and again until at last His judgement came and Israel was redeemed. At the cost of Egypt's first born, Israel came out of Egypt and out of the house of bondage.
You see, the picture of redemption throughout the Old Testament is a picture of life coming out of death, of life at the cost of death, at life as being bought by a substitute who dies--that's a picture being painted over and over and over in so many marvelous ways in the Old Testament.