Summary: When we present our first fruits to God we confess our dependence on him and trust in him.
1. Tornado Story
A husband and wife from California were driving through Texas. They saw a tornado coming and they were scared. They pulled the car off to the side of the road and got out a crouched down beside it. The twister was moving directly toward them but at the last second veered off across a field and then hit and totally demolished a small wooden house. The man and woman still shaking with fright got up and ran toward the house which was now nothing but kindling wood and a hole in the ground. They looked down into the hole and saw an old man holding on for dear life to a piece of timber, his eyes tightly closed.
The woman called down to him. “Hey down there, are you all right?”
The old man opened his eyes, looked around cautiously and said, “I guess so.”
The woman asked, “Was there anyone else with you?”
The old man replied, “Just me and God, and we were having an urgent conversation.”
2. The crisis times are those in which we easily look to God
3. What about the Good Times?
4. Deuteronomy 26.1-11
“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, 2 you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there. 3And you shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come into the land that the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.’ 4 Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.
5 “And you shall make response before the LORD your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father. And he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. 6 And the Egyptians treated us harshly and humiliated us and laid on us hard labor. 7 Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. 8 And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders. 9 And he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O LORD, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God and worship before the LORD your God. 11 And you shall rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you.
I. A Priority Matter
Comes from ‘resheet – Beginning
A. First Can Be:
1. Order – First Fruits; Firstborn – Exodus/Passover;
2. Importance –
a. First Love of Ephesians in Revelation 2.4 – the beginning love; also love that is most important – high priority;
b. Yeshua (Jesus) – First Fruits of resurrection
3. Principle – Genesis 4.3-4
4. Purity – 2 Corinthians 11.3
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
a. Satan’s attack – take away our “first” to God in Giving; then in Prayer; then in Study; and on and on – once we start giving in we lose over all
b. Often we selfishly rearrange our priorities
Riddle: Why is a person with six kids is more satisfied than a person with six million dollars? Answer: The man with six million dollars wants more.
B. First Pays Dividends – Proverbs 3.9-10
Honor the LORD with your wealth
and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
10 then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.
II. A Personal Matter
A. Personal Responsibility – No Substitutions
1. During the Civil War northern draftees were allowed to pay for a substitute and then were free of their responsibility to their nation; Proxy Voting
2. Demonstrated by God
a. Animal sacrifices – temporary nature – pointed to the permanent
b. God’s Personal Sacrifice (and Resurrection)
26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. Hebrews 7.26-27