When the last plague struck Egypt, every firstborn son in the entire land was marked for destruction. However, God gave His grace and showed the Israelites, His people, the key to their redemption – the blood of a lamb on the doorposts. With this sign, the angel passed over the home, sparing the firstborn. However, these redeemed firstborns now belonged to God since it was He who spared them.
Recently, we read a second grace that God gives His people in this area. The firstborn of all people and animals are God’s, it’s true, but God would allow those people and animals to be redeemed again with an offering given to the priests. This offering essentially bought back the lives of these firstborn from God.
Today, we read a third grace that God gives His people in this area. In lieu of the offering for the firstborn of Israel, God takes to Himself the entire tribe of Levi. The Levites are now to be the servants of the temple and holy to God. The Levites take the place of the firstborn. Why the Levites? Why not the tribe of Dan or Asher? According to Jewish commentary, the Levites were purer than any other tribe because they had not committed the sin with the golden calf at the foot of Sinai. And because they were purer, they were chosen to be God’s holy servants.
The Old Testament is full of foreshadowing of Jesus’ ministry and redemption, and here is a big one, though one that is seldom discussed. We often see Jesus in the Passover Lamb. But He is there in the second grace, paying the price for the redemption of those firstborn sons, namely us. And He is there in the third grace, the Eternal Priest taking the place of those firstborn sons.
God is a God of grace, and grace abundant. Our redemption comes from Him and Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross for us. Hallelujah.