As we continue our studies in “Sonship,” let us now begin to examine some of the principles concerning firstborn. In a figurative sense, the firstborn son represents that which is most excellent. The firstborn has its apotheosis in, reaches its zenith in our Lord Jesus Christ. But notice how the patriarch Jacob, in his deathbed prophecies over his twelve sons, spoke of Reuben, his firstborn son.
Genesis 49: 3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power.
This idea of the firstborn representing the strength of the father is applied on a corporate level, a national level, as the Psalmist speaks of God’s killing all the firstborn of Egypt.
Psalms 78: 51 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham.
This idea of the firstborn representing the strength of the father, denoting excellency, the best, the chief, is no doubt very ancient, probably going back all the way to the Garden of Eden. We can think of it simply as a natural assumption and observation, or it might be that it derives from the fact that from the very beginning God demanded that man consecrate or dedicate to God Himself the first of all that he possessed. Remember the story of Cain and Abel?
Genesis 4: 3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
There are a number of theories as to why God rejected Cain’s offering—for example, that God would only accept a blood sacrifice—and there may be validity to all of them; but what occurs to me here is that it is clear that Abel brought the best, the chief, the firstborn of his flocks as an offering to God. Whereas Cain possibly brought some inferior produce from his garden.
He did not bring the first and/or best produce. We cannot say that for sure, but we speculate that based upon the fact that verse 3 does not say that Cain brought of the firstfruits of the ground, merely that he brought of the fruits of the ground.
Is it not appropriate…is it not righteous and just for the creator, for the owner of all creation to demand the first portion, the best, to be given to him?— The first portion of man and beast and produce? This is, of course, the whole basis for the law of tithing. It is the principle of giving to God first.
We don’t wait until we see if all the bills are paid and then if there’s anything left over, we give it to God. No, instead, we should give to God first. Jesus said: “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven…” and what’s the rest? “…and all these [material] things shall be added unto you.”
In other words, give to God first and then don’t be anxious because He will provide for you. It is really a matter of one’s heart attitude more than a matter of money. God is testing us to see if our heart is right towards Him. He wants to see if we are willing to give to Him first. And the pocketbook is one very good place to test us, don’t you agree?
it did not take long after the fall in the garden for man to pervert the truth regarding the giving of, or the dedication of, the firstborn to God. Heathen religions soon engaged in human sacrifice to placate the gods. (To be continued.)