Date: Tuesday, August 27
Scripture: Exodus 4:18-31
Verse: Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord: Israel is my firstborn son. (Exodus 4:22)
I’m a firstborn son. The eldest child of my parents, and the eldest grandchild in both their families. I bear the name of my father (I’m a junior), and many say I look like him. I remember as a kid trying to be like my dad. I saw him as big, strong, and fearless. In many ways he is still my image of what it means to be “a man,” and still go to him for advice on all kinds of topics.
In Biblical times, being a firstborn son meant you were privileged. The firstborn son received a double portion of the family inheritance – counting as two people rather than one. With that status though, there also came quite a bit of responsibility, namely the expectation that you would care for the other children int he family and represent the father in the family business.
In today’s reading God tells Moses to say to Pharaoh that Israel is God’s firstborn son. This means as Pharaoh has in enslaving Israel, he has been holding God’s representatives, and in a sense God himself, captive. It is time for those who have been given the responsibility of caring for the other nations of the earth, the other children of God, to fulfill the call God had given Abraham, “in you [and your descendants] all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).
When we read of Jesus opening the Lord’s Prayer by addressing God as Father, we think it makes sense because Jesus was the “Son of God,” meaning God is his father. This is what we celebrate at Christmas, right? But I wonder if when the disciples and others heard Jesus address God as “Father,” they thought of these verses from Exodus. Did they hear Jesus calling them to a renewal of the call made to Abraham and confirmed through Moses, to be God’s firstborn in the world – bearing his image, representing him, and caring for the rest of the family? Do we?
Prayer: Teach us, Father, to live up to the call of being your children. Amen.
Action: Check out this simple explanation from Cigna Behavioral Health about what your birth order says about you.
Respond: In what ways do you see your parents in you – looks, actions, speech, etc.? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below. If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.