Summary: Following the instruction of the Lord is better than sacrifices.
GOD’S TRUST FUND [PART TWO]
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to your navel, and marrow to your bones. Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase.”
Now the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel that there will be several festivals they will they celebrate each year when they gathered to worship. And these were in addition to the Sabbath they were to keep. These were holy days to be observe, The Passover of the Lord was at the end of March, then the Feast of Unleavened Bread followed by the Feast of First Fruits.
Then the Feast of Pentecost came fifty days later, followed by the Feast to Trumpets in mid-September which was a solemn time for the people to meet for worship. And then the Day of Atonement followed nine days later leading to the Feast of Tabernacles.
Last week we talked about the tithe, tonight I want to share some thoughts about first fruits. You will see that first fruits and tithes are closely related but they are different, the tithe is ten percent of the total while first fruits are a gift of the first gathered.
The name is a good introduction to this topic. First Fruits, First, that which comes before all else; Fruit, that which is the result of planting to produce a harvest. The term first fruits were used to describe the presentation of the harvest. God commanded the people of Israel to present the first fruits to the Levitical priesthood, and that offering was used for their food.
“They were told to take the first of the fruit of the earth and place it in a basket, and go unto the place which the Lord would choose and give it to the priest, and they would place it on the altar of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 26: 1/5 In Israel, it marked the end of the barley growing season and the beginning of the wheat season, which has symbolic and spiritual meaning.
I found it strange that the Feast of First Fruits was instituted when the nation of Israel was still wandering in the wilderness without land or crops. This feast was observed by faith that God would lead the people to the land that He had promised.
I believe that the first fruits were a reminder to God’s people of the blessings, and pointed to a better covenant that was to come. The barley season was a token of their former life in Egypt, while the wheat was representative of the land that God would give them.
The wheat also pointed to the better covenant that God would usher in. In the life of every man there is a Friday, but remember Sunday in on the way. On Friday they placed Jesus on the cross and then into the tomb, but on the third day He came forth victorious over death hell and the grave. This was God’s first fruit offering given, so that all men might come know the son of God.
The first fruits celebration was a Jewish feast held in the early spring at the beginning of the grain harvest. It was observed three days after Passover and on the second day of the Feast of Unleavened bread, this was a time for thinking God for what He had provided.
By giving the first fruits, Israel acknowledged that all good gifts come from God and that everything belongs to God. Giving the first fruits was also a way of expressing trust in God’s provision; just as He provided the first fruits, so He would provide the rest of the crops that were needed.
The people were to bring a sheaf of grain to the priest, who would wave it before the Lord. A brunt offering, a meal offering, and a drink offering were also required at that time. And no grain was to be harvested at all until the first fruit offering was brought to the Lord.
This offering was presented as a reminder of Israel’s hardship in Egypt, their deliverance from slavery, and the promise that God made to them of “a land that flowed with milk and honey.”
As we view this feast day there is also a prophetic meaning, Israel was described as the first fruits of God’s harvest. The prophet Jeremiah said, “Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, thus says the Lord; I remember thee in the kindness of thy youth, [when you were a young nation] when you went after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.”