Friday, February 15, 2013

Our own firstfruits offering

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Deuteronomy 26:1-11

TO CHEW ON: "'He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.'" Deuteronomy 26:9

The ceremony described in our reading today is the Offering of Firstfruits. Moses' instructions for it are part of his last talks given to the Israelites shortly before he died. The next big event for them would be entering Canaan, routing its inhabitants, and settling there themselves. They were supposed to give this offering the very first year they grew a crop.

We notice that:
  • No specific amount of offering was prescribed. This was not a tenth (tithe). The instructions for the tithe follow (Deuteronomy 26:12-15) and were to start in the third year.  It was just "some," a token amount standing in for the whole crop.
  • They were to present this offering to the priest along with a speech. This speech declared God's goodness along with the general story of how they got there (Deuteronomy 26:3-9).
  • It was to be a worshipful, joyous event celebrating their deliverance from slavery in Egypt and God's faithfulness in bringing them to this place.
  • No one was excluded. This ceremony was for " and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you" - Deuteronomy 26:11.

Wouldn't bringing an offering of firstfruits be a meaningful practice for us to follow? Not as in dutifully adhering to an Old Testament command but as a way of reminding ourselves that we belong to God, reviewing our history with Him, and acknowledging His first place in our lives. For the Israelites it was an offering of produce. For us it would most likely be money, given to our church or the place we are spiritually nurtured.

This would be an especially meaningful thing to do at a time of beginning something new—getting a job, a new job, or a promotion, making our first sale, seeing the first profits of a business venture. It would be an excellent reminder of how we got to this place, how every part of life belongs to God, and how He comes first—even in getting the first of our labour.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for blessing my life. Whether I give an actual firstfruits offering or not, help me to have the thoughtful, thankful, joyful attitude about Your deliverance, provision and blessing that was to accompany this offering. Amen.

MORE: More about the firstfruits offering

Want to read more about the offering of firstfruits? The website asks: "What was the firstfruits offering? Should Christians give a firstfruits offering today?" It ends:

"In summary, firstfruits symbolizes God’s harvest of souls, it illustrates giving to God from a grateful heart, and it sets a pattern of giving back to Him the first (and the best) of what He has given us. Not being under the Old Testament Law, the Christian is under no further obligation than to give cheerfully and liberally (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)."

Read the entire article HERE.

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  1. We are so blessed. We love Him because He first loved us. We can't get ahead of Him in loving or giving, but we can thank Him first thing for everything. I enjoyed your thoughts, Violet.

  2. Thanks Mary. "We can't get ahead of Him in loving or giving" - so true Mary! And something good happens (at least within me) when I express that faith in a tangible way by giving in an intentional way.


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