Ultimate Priority


Pharaoh refused to submit himself to the authority of God, and it eventually led to the death of all the firstborn in Egypt. Fresh off of a dramatic rescue, the Israelites weren’t about to make the same mistake. In today’s passage, God instructed them to consecrate their firstborn to him as a symbolic action that showed reverence to his place of prominence in their lives. God would not come second, or third, or take whatever was leftover. He would be the ultimate priority for the Israelites.

  • Is God the ultimate priority in your life? If not, what is?


13:1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.”

Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the Lord brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. Today, in the month of Abib, you are going out. And when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this service in this month. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the Lord. Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory. You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 9 And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the Lord may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt. 10 You shall therefore keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year.

11 “When the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as he swore to you and your fathers, and shall give it to you, 12 you shall set apart to the Lord all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn of your animals that are males shall be the Lord’s. 13 Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. Every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. 14 And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘By a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 15 For when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animals. Therefore, I sacrifice to the Lord all the males that first open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ 16 It shall be as a mark on your hand or frontlets between your eyes, for by a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What are all of the “firsts” that God required to be consecrated to him?
  2. Describe the abundant imagery around hands, eyes, and mouths (vss. 8-10, 16). What can we learn from these verses?
  3. What is the significance of verses 8 and 14? How can these same ideas be applied today?
  4. What are some of the responsibilities you place before God in your life, and what would it look like for you to put God first?


Some of us have the tendency to take God’s presence for granted. We’re right to believe that he isn’t going to abandon us. But that can also create priorities that can get out of order. We make all kinds of justifications. “God’s not going anywhere, but my schedule is hectic right now.” “God’s not going anywhere, but I need some time to get my finances in order.” “God’s not going anywhere, but I deserve an unhealthy indulgence.” This text reminds us that God owns the entirety of our lives. The first and the best goes to him, and we should offer it with thanksgiving for all he has done.

  • Confess to God where you’ve allowed any priorities or responsibilities to take precedence over him.
  • Pray that God would give you the courage to hand over all aspects of your life to him.