Devotionals Tragedy!


Including today, there are three days left in the year 2022. At this time of the year many people will be thinking about “New Year’s Resolutions”. What are the things they ought to stop doing and what are the things they ought to start doing? Some use this time to decide which foods or “sweet things” they shall stop consuming and what would be a healthier option. For them it would be weight loss and healthier living, for others it might be something else. To do this sort of thing you need to be dedicated … that is, you need to consecrate yourself to a new life style to achieve your objective. You might have noticed the word “consecrated” in yesterday’s reading … please look at it again:

Lk 2:22 When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

It is easy to miss those words … Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord … because the focus seems to be on purification, presenting Jesus to the Lord, offering a sacrifice and pair of doves or two young pigeons.

1) The concept of “consecration” goes back to Exodus:

Ex 13:1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether man or animal.”

Ex 13:11 “After the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites and gives it to you, as he promised on oath to you and your forefathers, 12 you are to give over to the LORD the first offspring of every womb. All the firstborn males of your livestock belong to the LORD. 13 Redeem with a lamb every firstborn donkey, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem every firstborn among your sons.”

In the Law of Moses (Pentateuch), the word was applied to “sacrifice” and “considered as belonging to God”. Sacrifice would firstly mean “slaughtered on the altar” because what was sacrificed as “belonging to God”. It was the best of the first fruits from the womb or fields. But equally, sacrifice could mean a person, the first born son, dedicated to God for the purposes of God and His Kingdom. Although the concept of sacrifice is applied, redemption of the first born son was done through an animal sacrifice.

2) The concept of “consecration” was a memorial to the Exodus from Egypt. Let’s take a journey down memory lane. In Egypt God built Israel into a great nation. A king decided they were a threat to the nation, so he enslaved them. At the right time God raised up Moses as a messiah to lead His people out of bondage. He required blood be smeared on all the Israeli home doorframes so that when the Angel of Death passed over Egypt, he would pass over theirs, protecting their homes from death. The requirements and promise of God were:

Ex 12:12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”

God fulfilled this promise:

Ex 12:29 At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. 30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

Then God applies what He did to Egypt to Israel:

Ex 13:1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether man or animal.”

Knowing that the firstborn son would question this exercise, God said:

Ex 13:14 “In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the LORD killed every firstborn in Egypt, both man and animal. This is why I sacrifice to the LORD the first male offspring of every womb and redeem each of my firstborn sons.’ 16 And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the LORD brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand.”

In other words, the dedication or consecration of the first born son to God was a constant memorial of God delivering Israel from the bondage of Egypt.

3) The concept of “consecration” in Jesus’ case was the same as His circumcision and baptism (much later) … to fulfil all righteousness. He needed to identify with the Jews in every way.

4) The concept of “consecration” for you and me. Though Jesus’ substitutional death and resurrection is for all believers—and we have been redeemed, not having to pay the sin price and by faith appropriate this salvation—never forget:

Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

What would be these “good works”?

Ro 12:1 in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

That is Christian consecration … “a living sacrifice” that is both holy and pleasing to God. The practical outworking is no longer conforming to the offering of this world, because our minds, the center of all actions and deeds, has been transformed through the Holy Spirit and through our daily intake of God’s Word and Prayer we are being renewed!

Thank You, Lord Jesus for the privilege of being able to consecrate ourselves to You out of thankful, joyful, committed hearts. Amen.

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