Read Deuteronomy 26
Firstfruits and Tithes
26 When you have entered the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, 2 take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the Lord your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the Lordyour God will choose as a dwelling for his Name 3 and say to the priest in office at the time, “I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the land the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.” 4 The priest shall take the basket from your hands and set it down in front of the altar of the Lordyour God. 5 Then you shall declare before the Lord your God: “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few peopleand lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous. 6 But the Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, subjecting us to harsh labor. 7 Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression. 8 So the Lordbrought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. 9 He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; 10 and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.” Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before him. 11 Then you and the Levitesand the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household.
12 When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. 13 Then say to the Lord your God: “I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them. 14 I have not eaten any of the sacred portion while I was in mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor have I offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the Lord my God; I have done everything you commanded me. 15 Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.”
Follow the Lord’s Commands
16 The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in obedience to him, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws—that you will listen to him. 18 And the Lord has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. 19 He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised.
In the Old Testament, one sheaf of grain was to be brought before the priests as the “first fruits” offering. No other grain could be harvested until the first fruit offering was brought before the Lord (Leviticus 23:9-14). The offering served as a reminder to the Israelites that God delivered them out of slavery, and He blessed them with a land flowing with milk and honey. It was also an expression of trust and faith that the rest of the harvest would come to pass.
In the New Testament, instead of a sheath of grain, the first fruits offering is found in Jesus. “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Just as the first fruit offering paved the way, through faith, for a plentiful harvest to come, Jesus’ resurrection paved the way, through faith, for our resurrection to come.
While we are no longer obliged to tangibly give of our first fruits, we can learn a valuable lesson from the first fruit offering.
We like to make sure we take care of ourselves and then give what we have left. It is much more difficult to give first to God. Giving first costs us something. Yet the first fruit offering calls the Israelites to do just that—to give the first of their crop. Imagine how difficult this must have been for the Israelites, who for so long dreamt of dwelling in the Promised Land, free from the hands of the Egyptians. They finally reap a harvest and are commanded to give.
The act of giving an offering to God serves as a reminder of His character of deliverance and provision, and as an opportunity to rejoice for all He has done. He wants to be the first place in our hearts. He wants to be before all that we do. He wants our trust and faith to rest in Him. By giving to Him first, we remind ourselves of what He has done for us, what He will do for us, and who He is to us. We express our trust and faith in Him. Everything else we do is just an overflow of our hearts being surrendered to Him. For “everything comes from God; everything exists by His power; and everything is intended for His glory” (Romans 11:36).
- If you were to answer honestly, does God come first in your life? If not, how can He become first?
- What does the first fruit offering reveal to you?
- How can you give generously of your time, talents, and treasures out of the overflow of your heart?
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5 thoughts on “Deuteronomy 26”
All who follow Christ have “arrived” and the special possession we’ve been given is forgiveness of our sins, an eternal home in heaven, and a relationship with him that guides and daily sustains us. What more could we ask for or need? How do we acknowledge that he has brought us from the desert places of our sin and shame into the freedom of the promised land of his glorious light and presence? We do this at times corporately as a church body when we partake of the elements, but what if we daily remembered his broken body and spilled out blood that covers us in redemption. Maybe we need to write down our story/ personal testimony and then share it with someone often. V17 is key to remember that he calls us to obey and walk in his ways. God is willing to fulfill every promise he ever made provided we join him in obedience. Obedience is the first fruit of our lives.
Just this week I’ve had a unique opportunity to reflect on the power of personal testimony. How critical it is to #ShareOurSacredStory! How thankful I am to belong to a body that encourages its members to do just that.
I love the words of Psalm 119 on this subject:
“May Your lovingkindness also come to me, O Lord, Your salvation according to Your promise; So I will have an answer for the one who taunts me, For I trust [completely] in Your word [and its reliability]. And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I wait for Your ordinances. I will keep Your law continually, Forever and ever [writing Your precepts on my heart]. And I will walk at liberty, For I seek and deeply long for Your precepts.
I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings And shall not be ashamed.”
-Psalms 119:41-46 AMP
We are to speak!
Speak of who God is. Speak of all God does.
Tell the WORLD what we have found, openly and unashamed.
Giving thanks today for you as always for your faithful, daily testimony.
To God be the glory.
God wants us, all of us. Follow His ways with ALL your heart and ALL your soul into obedience. When and if you truly Love someone you give them your all. When you court your someday spouse or hold your first child or grandchild, you give them “things” because of that love. So God so Loved YOU that He gave His ONLY begotten son, we should so LOVE Him back with All our heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. Be obedient, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.
God thank You for Loving me even when I slip and slide on being obedient. Thank You for my hearts desire to be more than I am or what I am doing for You. Guide me to be the best for You. I LOVE You in Jesus name amen
If we truly worshipped the I AM, giving is joyful. We want to give back what our Heavenly Father sacrificed to give us. We strive to manage our accounts and do without (sacrifice) so that in return, we give back bc of gratitude. If tithing is a sensitive discipline, or difficult financially, seek wisdom. The true blessing is giving, not receiving.
When I first got saved as a younger single woman I learned about giving God the first 10 percent of what I earned. I was excited to start this discipline with my first paychecks. It has continued to this day. Through marriage, lean years, blessed years. Even the opportunity to grow that percentage as we have felt led. It’s all God’s so it is a joy to say thank you by always giving to him first and addressing the rest of life’s needs.