Parashat BaMidbar (In the Wilderness) Numbers 1:1-4:20
Haftarah: Hosea 2:1-22
In this week’s Torah portion, one reads,
“For to Me is every firstborn; on the day I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Me every firstborn in Israel, from man unto beast shall be to Me, I am HaShem.” Numbers 3:13
You have heard me say many times that because of the destruction of the Temple that one cannot obey the letter of the Law. However, as Paul instructs in Romans 7:6, we are called to observe the Law according to the newness of the Spirit. This being the case, then how should one respond to this commandment? In Judaism, there is a tradition of actually redeeming the firstborn son (The firstborn son only applies if the son is born first. This means if a daughter precedes the firstborn son; then this son is not considered a firstborn). Usually a symbolic sum of money is donated and this donation serves as the act of redeeming this child. According to the Torah, it was the Levites who then would serve in the firstborn’s place.
Today, we do not have functioning Levites. I personally believe this is providential and should cause parents who have a firstborn son to consider prayerfully in regard to this child. Those who devote themselves to full time Kingdom service usually respond to a personal call they sense from the Holy Spirit. This is fine, but just think if families prepared their firstborn son for Kingdom service in a cognitive manner. The fact of the matter is too few men are serving Yeshua through a vocational commitment. I am reminded of Yeshua’s words that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. One of the responsibilities of spiritual leaders is training the laity in how to combine full time work with ministry.
Now more than ever, one should see the need for well-trained men in the Holy Scriptures. I do not think it is a coincidence that persecution of believers is happening in locations where followers of Yeshua are least trained in the Word of G-d. Make no mistake, the persecution of believers is heading westward! This persecution may take a different form at first, but eventually there will be martyrs in the United States as well. Are believers ripe for such persecution? The fact that there is such little concern and attention for believers being killed and tortured in the Middle East and Africa demonstrates how quickly it will be in the West.
As I prayed over this verse (Numbers 3:13) I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to Matthew 9:38— Here Yeshua commanded believers to pray to the L-rd of the Harvest to send out laborers. Parents should seek G-d’s guidance and counsel in regard to all their children and whether He is calling them into full time service, but especially if you have a firstborn son.
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