A firstborn male donkey may be redeemed from the Lord by presenting a lamb in its place. But if you decide not to make the exchange, the donkey must be killed by breaking its neck. However, you must redeem every firstborn son. — Exodus 13:13

When the Moral Majority was making headlines, many people suspected that the movement was really an arm of the Republican Party. This meant that committed Democrats were not always enamored with their statements and activities. One such person, fortunately not lacking a sense of humor, wrote to a national magazine editor, “If Jesus had wanted us to vote Republican, he would have ridden into Jerusalem on an elephant!” Of course, the donkey is the symbol of the Democrats and the elephant that of the Republicans. Astute readers will remember that Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey.

A case can be made that God is looking for dedicated donkeys. The children of Israel were delivered from Pharaoh’s tyranny in Egypt only after the angel of the Lord killed the firstborn male of every Egyptian family, while sparing those of the Israelites. In commemoration of this dramatic deliverance, God ordained that all firstborn males in Israel should be dedicated to the Lord. As the Egyptian firstborn males perished during the Exodus, by the same token the firstborn Israelites owed their lives to the Lord’s protection and should, out of gratitude, be dedicated to the Lord.

The expression “All firstborn sons and firstborn male animals must be presented to the Lord” (Exodus 13:12), meant that they should be slaughtered as a sacrifice of thanksgiving—with two notable exceptions: Firstborn sons and donkeys could be redeemed. That means a substitute animal could be sacrificed for them. The reason for this exception in the case of sons is obvious. In the case of donkeys, it is less so. The donkey was such a “workhorse” that its slaughter would seriously jeopardize the well-being of the people. Therefore, donkeys should be spared. This idea of a substitute sacrifice echoes Paul’s words: “I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will accept” (Romans 12:1).

Sometimes God calls men to lay down their lives for Him and His cause—to make the ultimate sacrifice. More often, the Lord does not ask us to die for Him—something that may be accomplished in a moment. Rather, He calls us to live for Him—a matter of a lifetime of service. God is looking for dedicated donkeys!

For further study: Exodus 13:1-16

Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.