The Firstfruit Offering
Text: Ex. 23:19
Ex.23:19 “The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God…”
The phrase that God used here “the first of your firstfruits…” is His way of saying the very first produce of your job, business or any financial endeavour should be brought into His house.
- The firstfruit is a freewill offering, separate from and in addition to your tithe.
- Giving a firstfruit offering should have no bearing on your giving your tithe.
- The firstfruit offering and tithe are not interchangeable or substitutionary. While the firstfruit offering is not measured in specific quantities, God specifically demands that a particular proportion of one’s total income be remitted as tithe.
- In the Old Testament, it was an offering God required be given to Him from the earliest ripening produce (the firstfruit) of any grain or fruit harvest. It was the same with the first male born of the womb, whether human or livestock, it was (and still is) to be dedicated to Him (Ex.13:1-2, 11-15).
- It was given before the entire harvest was taken. It is basically a deposit or down payment guaranteeing God’s blessing upon the rest of the harvest.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO US TODAY?
- God uses principles & practices like this throughout the Old Testament to teach us how to relate with Him.
- Throughout the Bible, God uses figurative elements and allegories to teach sinful man how to relate and walk with Him, this is such a case. God is basically telling us that He should be first in our lives, that He comes before everything else in our lives – even our own needs and wants.
It’s a yearly event where we give God an offering based on what we are believing our financial harvest to be.
Important Lessons/Reasons for a Firstfruit Offering Today:
- It’s an acknowledgment or declaration of God’s ownership of all we call our own. You are basically acknowledging God as your source instead of your job or seeming means of livelihood.
- A demonstration of your faith or trust in His continued provision for every need you have and might have.
- To secure the guarantee of His blessing upon the rest of our financial harvest for the year.
It is basically an offering that reflects your expected financial harvest.
This practice is mentioned several times in the first five (5) books of the Bible alone. The importance of the firstfruit is highlighted by its frequent repetition (almost words for word) for emphasis (e.g. Ex.23:19 & Ex.34:26) so the practice and what it symbolizes (that God is first in our lives) is not forgotten in the euphoria and celebrations of victories or new jobs and businesses.
God specifically instructed Israel through Moses (in Lev. 23:10) again to:
“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.”
CENTRAL TO THE PRACTICE OF THIS OFFERING:
The Firstfruit Offering:
- Should be taken to God’s house (Exodus 23:19; 34:26). Or given directly to the ‘Man of God’ ( 4:42). Today, I believe that the giver should have the freedom to decide.
- Shall be delivered to the High Priest of the Nation (Lev. 23:10).
- Shall apply to all a man engages in for livelihood (Deut. 18:4)
- Must be accompanied with Worship (Deut.26:10).
- Must be offered once in every cycle of harvest i.e. yearly (Neh. 10:35)
- In multiple planting seasons within a year, the firstfruits becomes due after each harvest.
- Must be given promptly along with payment/giving of the Tithe (2 Chron. 31:5).
- This is my personal opinion – practically, your firstfruit should be determined to be the very first gain that comes into your hand for the year. It might be your first profit as a businessman, it might be the first part of you wages (maybe your weekly wage), it might be a gift that was given to you. So in addition to this firstfruit, you should give your tithe in addition to it.
BLESSINGS OF OBEDIENCE
Faithful givers of the firstfruit offering will:
- Enjoy God’s Comprehensive Insurance.
- As the phrase comprehensive insurance in terms of your vehicle insurance means, you and all that is yours are protected on every side.
- A pronounced judgment is on whoever/whatsoever attempts to devour them. Anything that tries to harm you or devour your resources is subject to the judgment of God.
Jer.2:3 “Israel was holiness to the LORD, The firstfruits of His increase. ‘All that devour him will offend; Disaster will come upon them,’ says the LORD.”
- God’s Overflowing
Prov.3:9-10 “Honour the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase;  So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.”
- Those who honour the Lord with this offering are not only assured of His overflowing blessings of every sort; but will themselves be honoured – ”… But now the LORD says: … those who honour Me I will honour, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.” (1Sam.2:30).
- Protection for the Rest of Your Income/Resources.
Rom. 11:16 “for if the firstfruits be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.”
- Like the Firstfruit, God will consider the rest of your finances holy, keeping the enemy away from your home even as you enjoy God’s unlimited Favour.
- Impartation of God’s Blessing On Your Home.
Eze.44:30 “The best of all firstfruits of any kind, and every sacrifice of any kind from all your sacrifices, shall be the priest’s; also you shall give to the priest the first of your ground meal, to cause a blessing to rest on your house.”
- Most times, it’s not financial blessings we need most in life; but God’s “Blessing” over our homes. That means even greater blessings such as good health and physical healing. Provision for our spiritual and emotional needs. Holiness, fruitfulness, welfare, growth of your children, peace on all sides, good sleep at night that the Lord makes available to your whole family.