Let's talk about families.
What's your family system like? Any favoritism going on? Any child given special rights, privileges or expectations just because of birth order?
Most "birth order" specialists share certain characteristics and patterns which are common to the first, second, third and fourth born children.
Most first borns are people pleasers who seek approval, especially from the "bread winning" parent; caregivers who are reliable, loyal and conscientious; driven people of action who are natural leaders who struggle with perfectionism; traditionalist who are very conventional; and people who always have things under control and want things their way. They are usually ambitious, logical and enterprising.
Middle children vary depending upon birth order. Child #2 is usually the opposite of child #1, connecting most easily with the "non-bread winning" parent, thus providing equilibrium to the family system. Number two child is usually quiet, sometimes shy; more often impatient and wanting to be alone. Sometimes very competitive, rebellious and attention seeking behaviors are demonstrated, especially during adolescence.
Children #3 and #4 are usually outgoing, loud, laid back, flexible and peacemakers. They like a lot of attention, but quickly learn diplomatic skills to try to get their way at least once in a while. (Older siblings call this "manipulation!")
Last born children, the "babies" of the family, have an idealistic outlook on life. They usually are up for a party and have a good sense of humor. They tend to be risk takers and work hard for what they are passionate about. At times they can act immature, even as an adult, but often feel it is hard to be treated as an "adult" by the rest of their family. They are usually very sensitive and more private and secretive about their lives.
Of course, there are many variables such as twins or other multiple births, only child syndrome and over 4 years between births, but you get the idea...
Ever wonder about the first born son thing?
If you are a first born son, you don't wonder at all; you just receive all the accolades (and pressure) with style (and maybe a lot of stress!)
If you are the first born and you are the daughter, my guess is that you sense the "favoritism" showered on the first born son, but hide it well. (You plot your revenge with a smile on your face!)
If you are the second born son or one of the following sisters, you know good and well that you will have fewer pictures in the family album, wear hand-me-downs, always sit in the back seat of the car and never have the same rights and privileges as the first ones out the shoot! But you also realize that many of your battles have already been fought by the first borns, and so you can sit back and relax in the midst of the conflict swirling around you. You know you have no rights and you're OK with that. (You'll find other ways to get your way!)
So with that little psychology lesson under our belts, how do you feel about the second verse in chapter 13 of Exodus?
"The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 'Sanctify to Me every first-born, the first offspring of every womb among the people of Israel, both human and beast; it belongs to Me.'"
In many religious families in the past, the first born son either became the inheritor of the family fortune or the one dedicated to the service to God.
We've talked before about the whole "first fruit" thing... but I think today, God is demanding a remembrance from the people of Israel.
Imagine what it was like to be the first born child/son on that frightful night of Passover. Can you imagine the screams and mournful cries of the neighbors whose homes' doorposts were not swabbed in blood? Can you imagine coming out into the streets to play with neighbors and finding your tribe of oldest siblings diminished by the thousands? Can you imagine what it felt like to survive that night?
God did not want the parents to forget the salvation of their firstborn child,
and God did not want the child to forget...
For you see, the first born of Israel were not just saved to be saved; they were saved to serve and be the leaders of the work of worship. They personally knew God's salvation in a clear, and oh, so dramatic, way.
And all their descendant were called to remember..."we would not be here were it not for the LORD."
Holy? Sanctified? You best believe it!
The LORD preserved their lives.
The LORD saved their lives.
Their lives were forever indebted to God.
"Sanctify them to Me."
"They belong to me."
They are set apart.
They are holy.