We tend to be a forgetful people, which, of course, God knows. This is why He uses signs of His promises and instructs His people to make memorials so often throughout Scripture. He wants to help His people do what is needed to remember who He is and what He has done. Or else, left to ourselves, we will forget. We know this to be true, because even with memorials and signs, we still forget. We are a people who have the completed Word of God at our fingertips—perhaps multiple copies in our homes and digitally on our devices—and yet, we still forget.
Here in Exodus, we see God command His people to consecrate—set apart as the Lord’s—every firstborn male, both humans and animals. Now, we know that all the earth and all its inhabitants belong to the Lord, not just the firstborn (Ps. 24:1). Why, then, consecrate the firstborn males? Because God wanted His people to remember what He had done in Egypt, how He had spared the firstborn from the plague of death by the blood of a lamb.
In this command, God was calling His people to look back, but also ahead. God’s rescue of His people out of Egypt did not start or end with providing life for the firstborn males during Passover. He also provided life to all the people by rescuing them through the Red Sea, by providing food and water, and by guiding them through the wilderness. But all of these acts of God’s deliverance have pointed toward a greater rescue—the one from sin and death that was to come through Christ. This is what He wanted them to understand. Their rescue, as amazing as it was, pointed to this greater rescue to come.
How does looking back at God’s work in your life help you look ahead with hope and assurance?