This blog post will cover the devotionals #58, 59 for Exodus Chapter 13.
**Pictures will be added at a later date.
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 Exodus 13:1-16
God said all the firstborn (of the men and cattle) should be sanctified to Him. Moses called the people to lodge two things in their memory: the day in Abib that God delivered them from Egypt, and the requirement to keep the Passover when He brought them into the promised land—eating unleavened bread for seven days. He explained the whole process and reasoning, and what they should explain to their children when they inquired about it—just as God had explained to him in Exodus 12. Verse 13 says every firstling of an ass must be redeemed with a lamb, otherwise, its neck must be broken, and all the firstborn of men would be redeemed. The animals would be sacrificed, but the children of men would be redeemed. The firstborn of man and animal were to be God’s, only to be bought back by a ransom. This was to acknowledge that when the Egyptian firstborns perished—Israel’s firstborns were also exposed to the same fate, but were spared by the atoning sacrifice. If any of the Hebrew families had failed to do the steps required for protection during the Passover, their firstborns wouldn’t have been saved. After the tabernacle service was instated, God chose the tribe of Levi for the sanctuary work, in place of the firstborns (see Numbers 3:13). However, all of Israel were still required to acknowledge God’s mercy by paying a redemption price for their firstborn sons (see also Numbers 18:15, 16). This is why the law that God gave to present the firstborn to Him was so significant. It was a memorial of His deliverance of Israel, but more importantly, it pointed to a greater deliverance, which’d be accomplished by God’s only-begotten (firstborn) Son. Israel’s firstborns were saved by the lamb’s blood on their doorposts, and the world would be saved by the Lamb’s blood. Psalm 17:3, 4 says, “You have proved my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me, and will find nothing…concerning the works of men, by the word of Your lips I have kept myself from the paths of the destroyer.”
 Exodus 13:17-22
When Pharaoh finally let Israel go, God could’ve led them through the land of the Philistines—because it would’ve been a shorter route for them, but He didn’t. God was concerned for His children. He knew that if they experienced war (or the threat of it), they’d regret leaving and try to return to Egypt. The Philistines would’ve quickly considered them to be runaway slaves and jumped to war against them. Israel wasn’t prepared for that type of encounter. Their limited knowledge and faith concerning God would’ve led them to terror and discouragement. They weren’t armed, and not used to war. They were in low spirits after years of slavery, and heavy-laden with their families and animals. Thus, God didn’t want His children to even fear war, let alone experience it. What a loving Father! Thus, He led them a different way—through the wilderness of the Red Sea. Verse 18 says that “the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.” Strong’s Concordance defines ‘harnessed’ as ‘able-bodied soldiers—armed’. It’s interesting that God didn’t want them to be a part of war, and yet, they left Egypt armed with weapons. Did they leave their homes (in Goshen) with weapons, or did they obtain them on their way to the promised land? We’ll see more about that in devotional #63. Verse 19 tells us that Moses took Joseph’s bones with him out of Egypt, because Joseph had required Israel to swear that they’d do that (as we saw in Genesis devotional #205). His bones were an invaluable legacy that’d been a constant reminder of Israel’s future deliverance. The long-awaited fulfillment of God’s promise had arrived. From Succoth, they went to Etham—which was at the edge of the wilderness. As they traveled, God led them in a pillar-shaped cloud during the day, and in a pillar-shaped fire by night—so they could always see where they went and be assured that He was with them constantly. The canopy of His presence protected them from the scorching heat and refreshed the parched desert travelers.