Monday, March 11, 2013


Read Exodus 34, I Peter 1

All the first born of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty handed. Exodus 34:20
For you were not redeemed from the futile ways inherited by your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. I Peter 1:19

Redemption is the costliest work. Redemption needs to buy back the person himself. Not just something that he may have lost, like a car or a house, or a business, but the very person. In most primitive societies, the family was obligated to take care of the other family members. The strong man in that family was required to be the avenger of any wrong done. In Numbers 35 God gives the rules of what the avenger is allowed or not allowed to do when taking care of his duties for a family member. The religion of Islam began as an effort to reform the system of family vengeance (family redemption) gone amuck.

In western society this natural law of family redemption has lost much of its meaning. The ties of families have become tenuous as each person pursues their own interests, and  the government and charitable organizations are now charged with taking care of the victimized person.

But the liabilities of having a child are remain high. Financial “experts” say the cost of responsibly raising one child is over a quarter of a million. But the financial is only part of the cost. There is the worry, and the heartache, and the guilt, and bewilderment, and the invasion of privacy, and there never being an end date.

The Israelites were told they needed to redeem every first born son. The first born son is the first fruits of a husband and wife. While the blessings of having children are incalculable, so are the costs that parents are obligated to meet.

But children are not very old when parents discover they cannot meet the costs. We do our best to nurture and to discipline. But we cannot weed out their sinfulness, or implant a virtuous character.

There was a time in our son David’s life when he had racked up debts far beyond what I could possibly pay. My father stepped in and said he would make him a large loan. “You can’t leave your son in such fix,” my father told me. I explained to my father that I did not think I could ever pay him back but he still chose to make him the necessary loan.

Miraculously, my son’s life turned around. There was a time when he was literally on the edge of a mountain and he cried out to the Lord and the Lord came to his rescue, both physically and spiritually.

Through a combination of generous loan terms and about seven years of monthly payments, he has almost paid my dad back. Though he was my son, it was beyond my resources to “redeem” him.

Certainly the Lord recognizes how limited are our resources to redeem our children. We are told that in coming before the Lord for our children, we must not come empty handed. During my son’s difficult times we came before the Lord with prayers and tears, we even fasted for him. Of ourselves, we had very little to bring before the Lord for our son’s redemption. But we did have His Son and we had His promise, “But showing steadfast love to thousands of generations of those who love Me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:6

Question: If you’re in trouble, who do you have out there willing, and with the resources, to to redeem you?

1 comment:

  1. What I find interesting about the concept of redemption is not just who is being redeemed or how they are being redeemed, but also from whom they are being redeemed. Christ redeemed saints from the judgment of sin. The prodigal son may be redeemed from a life of financial and spiritual destitution. From what or whom was the firstborn of Israel redeemed? Ex 34 seems to indicate that they were being redeemed out of the hands of God Himself.

    In Ex. 34 we see reference to several other matters of redemption. The feast of unleavened bread reminds us of God's redemption of the children Israel through the death of Egyptians, as well as the redemption of the first born children through the death of the Passover lamb. Also mentioned in Ex. 34 is the death of countless Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Is it possible that their death was the price that God was willing to pay for the redemption of His firstborn Israel?

    Larry cited the cost for raising a child to be estimated at approximately $250,000. For those of you who are considering having children and fear the financial burden I think it is important to qualify this figure. There are several sources that report similar numbers, yet when you begin itemizing the cost of raising a child based on these figures you find that the numbers may be skewed to the extreme. For example, the evaluation of a quarter of a million dollars indicated at assumes paying for private college education, as well as, daycare and education expenses factored in from birth. In addition, this figure accounts for transportation and housing costs that are already applicable to many married couples. As well it is important to note that this figure does not increase proportionally with each additional child.