February 12, 2014
READ: Deuteronomy 26:1-13
And now, O LORD, I have brought you the first portion of the harvest you have given me from the ground (v.10)
John started his new job. When he received his first payslip at the end of the month, he wanted to celebrate by buying lunch for me. During our meal he told me that his first payslip was his “firstfruits”. With a grateful heart he wanted to give a significant portion of it back to God.
Moses repeatedly reminded the Jews that God was their Deliverer, the Giver of their land and the Provider of their material blessings (Deuteronomy 26:1,3,7-10). As God blessed them materially, they were reminded to do four things:
Firstly, they were to return to God “some of the first produce from each crop [they harvested]” (v.2). This gift was their personal act of thanksgiving, acknowledging that God was their Provider (vv.3-4). It was also their public act of worship, as they placed the offering on the altar (v.4), “[bowing] to the ground in worship before Him” (v.10).
Secondly, they were to tell the story of their redemption. They were nobodies, nomads and slaves. But God made them into a great nation and gave them a land to call their own, a land of plenty (vv.5-9).
Thirdly, they were to celebrate, rejoice and enjoy the good things God had given to them (v.11). God wanted them to enjoy it all: “Rejoice . . . because the LORD your God has blessed you” (12:7).
Finally, they were to be generous and share their material blessings with the poor (26:12-13). Knowing their selfish hearts (15:11), Moses reminded them to “remember to include the Levites and the foreigners living among you in the celebration” (26:11).
God has given us plenty of things to enjoy and to share. We also have a story of redemption to tell—proclaiming who our God is, how great, good, gracious and generous He is. —K.T. Sim
Read Deuteronomy 16:10-12 and find out what it means for you to celebrate the Festival of Harvest.
How do you honour God with the firstfruits of your harvest today? What does it mean for you to bring your best to God?