Numbers 28:26 “Also on the day of the firstfruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the LORD at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work.”
The principle of firstfruits is a beautiful illustration of God’s provision and man’s praise. It is a command of God, not a suggestion. When the children of Israel were preparing to enter the promised land, the Lord spoke to Moses about how they were to treat prosperity.
The offering of first fruits had both physical and spiritual principles that God wanted to teach His people.
Leviticus 23:10 “Speak to the Israelites and say, ‘When you enter the land I am giving you and reap its harvest, you are to bring to the priest the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest.”
The priests represented God to the people. They were from the tribe of Levi and were not given land, they were given honor. To serve in the courts of the Lord was a special privilege and their supply was provided by the people. The offering of first fruits was out of the people’s first crop of the season. The offering or tithe was to be 1/10 of the first crop.
Deuteronomy 14:22 “You must be sure to set aside a tenth of all the produce brought forth each year from your fields.”
The offering didn’t just serve a purpose to supply the priests, it was a key act in recognizing that God has brought the increase so we will honor Him with the best of our crop. When that kind of worship was brought into the house of the Lord, the Lord said He would bless His people. King Solomon understood this principle quite well.
Proverbs 3:9-10 “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your harvest; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
In today’s language, the first fruits would be the income or wealth that we acquire each month. Since bringing produce into the priests isn’t practical, we submit our tithe to the Lord with our finances.
In the same way God has asked us to present our offering of thanksgiving, the Lord offered Himself first for us.
1 Corinthians 15:20-23 “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ the firstfruits; then at His coming, those who belong to Him.”
In the same way that Christ died and arose from the grave victoriously, all who die in Him will rise again with the same glory that Jesus did. We have been grafted into His vine and have been made righteous by the righteousness He demonstrated in obedience at the cross.
We bring our sacrifice of love to the King of kings.
We have many first fruits that we can present to the Lord, our resources are just part of the picture. Our time, our family, our careers, our children—these have all been demonstrated in history when the pure love of devotion gave rise in a people who gave it all to the Lord.
Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
The offering we present to the Lord must come from a pure heart.
The offerings we present to God are a sacrifice of love. If we come before Him lacking love for our brother, the offering becomes unacceptable. The way we love God is by loving others. The Father desires obedience before He wants our sacrifice.
1 Samuel 15:22 “So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.”
Why is obedience such a priority in our relationship with God?
There are many ways we offer sacrifices or offerings to the Lord, honoring the Sabbath is one such way. When we give the Lord the first part of our week we declare with our lives His faithfulness. When we show up to church because we think it will be a pleasing sacrifice and yet we live in sin—well, the sacrifice is not out of love but out of duty. Jesus said “you don’t love Me if you don’t keep my commandments”. Obedience shows a heart of true love, the sacrifice is then just an expression of that love.
Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”
What offering can we bring to the King? The Magi presented gold, frankincense, and myrrh at the time of Jesus’ birth. We have our resources, our time, and our love that we can give. Each tithe, each first fruit, every gift that we bring the Lord will not despise.
Malachi 3:10 “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.”
When our priority is obedience and our increase is given as an offering to the Lord, the Lord blesses such faithfulness. This is one of the few times in scripture where the Lord challenges us to test Him. I think He enjoys lavishing His blessing upon His children, especially when it’s reciprocating love.
Try to (out-love) the Lord….you can’t do it, it’s a losing endeavor that ends in a huge blessing.