If you are a firstborn child in your family, undoubtedly your upbringing profoundly deferred from the rest of your siblings. The privileges and responsibilities were drawn from religious, cultural, and social norms. For instance, in most of our cultural and legal frameworks, the firstborn were the ones who received a double inheritance and would inherit the father’s role as the head of the family.
However, due to modernity and inter-marriages, there is limited intentional ways of raising first born children, sometimes leading to disastrous societal deficits. This was the focus of the recently held parenting network hosted by Dr. Eunice Adubango that provided a platform to dig deeper into the significance of the firstborn child based on biblical principles.
First and foremost, there are two types of firstborns, one is more literal, referring to the fact that this is the firstborn of the father or of the mother. God sometimes reversed this order, as he did with Jacob and Esau in Genesis 25:21-26 and as Jacob did with Ephraim and Manasseh in Genesis 48: 13-22. Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob, but his rights as the firstborn were taken away because of his sin. The second is due to the rights and authority of a person because they are the first born. Our Lord is the “firstborn” in several ways. Suffice to say, the first born possessed definite privileges which were denied to other members of the family. Israel as compared with other nations is entitled to special privileges.
According to Exodus, 22:29-31, it is written that the firstborn were to be given to Yahweh to serve in the temple. If the father wished to opt out of this relationship, the first born was redeemed by paying five shekels. The “Kohen” who performed this duty, would pronounce the Aaronite blessing.
What is the relevance of all this today?
In Genesis 49:3 as Jacob was blessing his sons, he offered a blue print for the first born. He said, “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power.” This means that the first born must show the strength of the family, must excel in honor and power. Undoubtedly, the devil has attacked this area severally and reversed the anointing of the first born leading to the loss of the spiritual covering over the rest of the family.
In conclusion, our role is to ensure that the first born is honored and recognized for their eminent status and family leadership. For the young families, family leadership will not just happen but needs to be nurtured by becoming intentional and purposeful in how we raise the first born. Equally important, where there has been a reversal of roles, prayer, fasting and inquiring of the lord on how to restore this order needs to be explored.