The day has come! The Israelites are on their way! That first verse tho. Like the curious words of Arnold Drummond, “What you talkin’ ‘bout, God???” We did all that and believed all that and trusted you in all that, and now that you’ve got us loaded up and moving out, you want us to give you our firstborn sons??? Is that the price we have to pay? What a predicament! We learn later that God, of course, was not asking the Israelites to sacrifice their firstborn sons but rather to “dedicate” them, in a sense (I’m sure some families took this more to heart than others), and sacrifice a young goat or lamb in their child’s place (and no sacrificing donkeys, either! I love how God only requires sacrifices of edible animals. I believe we’ll find out in future chapters that the Israelites were allowed to eat certain parts of these sacrifices, so by worshiping God, He in turn was feeding his people). Whew! This opening verse is a good example of how Scripture can be read out of context. Imagine if someone who did not know the Bible picked it up and read that line and only that line. Egads. I might not want to explore anything more about it! But I also know my mind, and if I read something like that, I definitely would want to explore more about it! Some people don’t though. This is how gossip and fake news get spread like viruses, and had Moses posted this on social media, it definitely would have gone viral! I’ve preached it before, and I’ll preach it again: do some research before you hit that share button, friends! That first line of whatever you’re reading might be clickbait and contain only partial facts.
Speaking of facts, in verse 19 Moses squeezes in a little blast from the past. He loads up Joseph’s bones to take them to Canaan, just as Joseph had asked his brothers to do more than 400 years before that day! Now, how did this story stay alive? Moses wasn’t around to write it down. So, it was either recorded by another wonderful historian (there are so many scripts that were lost, and I have read few that have been recovered) or passed down by word of mouth (oral storytelling), but either way, it was important enough to survive and for Moses to record in his epic books about the beginning times.
Writing prompt: what if
Let’s play the game of “what if.” What if you were an Israelite marching out of Goshen and you heard only the first verse of this chapter: God demands your firstborn son as the price for your freedom! Would you panic? Would you ask more questions? Play it out on paper, and tell us what your reactions might be.