14 Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the other Israelites, and the Levites shall be mine. 15 Thereafter the Levites may go in to do service at the tent of meeting, once you have cleansed them and presented them as an elevation offering. 16 For they are unreservedly given to me from among the Israelites; I have taken them for myself, in place of all that open the womb, the firstborn of all the Israelites. 17 For all the firstborn among the Israelites are mine, both human and animal. (Numbers 8:14-17a NRSV)
In Egypt, the firstborn of in all the land were slain on the night of Passover. The firstborn of the Israelites (animal and human) belong to God. What is the connection?
The firstborn were the heirs (sources – firstborn became head of household and received double portion on inheritance).
So… the firstborn who were to inherit leadership and the most were God’s! Is this a symbol of God’s supremacy? Of God’s ownership? Of God’s being the first Himself?
The Levites being given to God symbolized this ownership, this first-ness.
We are the firstborn, those dedicated to God. We belong to God. We are the one’s, too, who symbolize that God owns all in our giving of our all to God. We serve God not in the temple or tabernacle but in the church (meaning the body of those of faith rather than the physical building).
We are unreservedly God’s. We are called to make ourselves such an offering to the One who owns us anyway.
During Lent, those of us who follow Christ who sacrifice something should sacrifice our ownership, our control. We are the firstborn, the first-given to God.
O Lord, we offer ourselves anew to you. As the Levites were given without choice, so we choose to give ourselves to you: our time, our treasures, our talents are yours. We are yours. May we be a living example of such devotion… a living sacrifice to you, our God. Amen.