Friday, February 12, 2016

First fruits - a custom to revive?

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Deuteronomy 26:1-15

TO CHEW ON: “…behold I have brought the first fruits of the land which you, O Lord, have given me. Then shall you set it before the Lord your God. So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the Lord your God has given to you and your house and the Levite and the stranger who is among you.” Deuteronomy 26:10-11

It is one thing to declare that we and all we have belongs to God. It is quite another to demonstrate it with action. The Israelites found this out when they were about to enter Canaan after wandering around in the desert for 40 years.

In today’s passage they were on the border of their new home and Moses was giving them farewell instructions. When they finally entered this land of legendary abundance, they were not supposed to stop trusting God. To illustrate this trust, they were to bring part of their first picking of grapes, olives, figs, wheat – whatever this land of ‘milk and honey’ produced – to God as an offering of first fruits.

Though these first fruit offerings were used to feed the Levites and the poor, that wasn’t their main purpose. Rather it was to remind the Israelites that God continued to be their source of supply. As my old New Bible Dictionary explains it:
“Their purpose was not to consecrate it but to deconsecrate it. All was God’s until the first portion had been offered and accepted in lieu of the whole. Only then was the restriction on the human use of the remains removed.” p. 1117.
Giving an offering of first fruits is no longer part of our tradition. But reviving it might not be a bad idea. There is nothing that drives home a theoretical point like a little action to illustrate it. So if you’ve entrusted yourself to God and yet continue to worry about how your needs are going to be met, maybe you should give yourself a little object lesson and in faith present a first fruit offering of your next cheque. Just saying…

PRAYER: Dear God, “I bring my tithes and offerings into the storehouse, and I believe and confess that You, Lord, open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. I honor You, Lord, with the first fruits of my increase. I confess that my storage places are filled with plenty in the name of Jesus.” from Praying with Fire by Barb Billett, p. 91.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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