Bible In One Year-Day 174 (Sunday, June 23, 2013)
Commentary: 2Chronicles31-33. Hezekiah was a man who had the zeal of the Lord just like his ancestor, David. He loved the Lord and the things of God. Hezekiah, as we read, was the first king who delighted in taking care of the priests and the Levites because he wanted them to do the work of God with the totality of the heart. He campaigned for their support;
2 Chronicles 31:4 “Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the LORD. And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.”
Hezekiah made his people to be engaged in what is called deeds of faithfulness. Since God gave it as a commandment to bring their firstfruits, Hezekiah was the first king that enforced it on God’s people and the result was wonderful;
2 Chronicles 31:10 “And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the LORD hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store.”
God’s overflowing blessing is the first thing to point at in faithful tithing and firstfruits offerings. A firstfruits has been a controversial theme in Christendom. In clarifying this aspect, we need to first know that it was a commandment by God to the Israelites before they ever entered the Promised Land.
Exodus 23:16 “And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.”
Secondly, it is a faithful deed or a deed of faith. It shows how faithful you are to God, i.e. you are reliable, and God can trust you with His blessing. Whatever He gives you, you can easily do away with it to bless others. It is a sign of your giving attitude or involvement in charity, i.e. nothing can come between you and God. As a matter of fact, faith is the only thing you could use to honor God and faith is the only thing God honors in you;
Proverbs 3:9 “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:”
Therefore, thirdly, it is an act of honoring God through faith. When you don’t give it, it means you are walking by sight, in the flesh and not by faith; you have idolized you money or produce. Also, it shows the position of God in your heart.
The forth thing about first-fruit is that it has no measure attached to it, i.e. it is invaluable. Rather, it is something you cherish most, the first harvest which you would have eaten or love to taste. For instance, if you have 10acres of farm, your first-fruit is not an acre; rather, it is what you would have taken as your first taste in a seating. I searched the scripture and found nowhere “a tenth” is attached to first-fruit or the totality of your harvest in terms of first-fruits. Only the tithe did the scripture indirectly attach a measure of a tenth. First-fruit, in essence, is to tell God that you gave Him the honor to have the first taste of your harvest, i.e. God first. It is the honor attached to it that matters. Therefore, in the beginning of every year, you need to give, qualitatively, to God without considering whatever the need on ground; this honors God as the first partaker of what you harvested. As for tithe, it is the tenth of what you worked for after tax and not after settling the debts you owe. These two deeds of faith should be done with all the heart just as Hezekiah did;
2 Chronicles 31:21 “And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.”
The first-fruit, fifthly, makes the whole harvest holy, i.e. it sanctifies every other harvest afterwards.
Romans 11:16 “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.”
The writing on the theme “Tithes and First-fruits” is beyond the scope of this medium. However, I need to let you know that this is based on what is seen in the light of the scripture. Your Pastor might have his or her own interpretation about it. In whichever way, make sure it is done in the faithfulness and integrity of the heart.
Through Adam, law of sin and death took mankind captive, but through Christ there is resurrection into life. Christ is the first-fruit in resurrection, but at His coming those who are His will be harvested. Christ being the first-fruit, made us to be holy as a lump unto the Lord. Therefore, our holiness and righteousness are not our doing but what Christ did for us; a perfected work.
1 Corinthians 15:23 “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”
This is why holiness is absolutely important in a Christian’s life.
Let us seek for the old path where we could find rest. Let us listen to the trumpet’s sound, wherewith we could escape the calamity to come. Our reading for today is 2Chronicles34-36. Keep the fire burning and alive.
Leviticus 23:10 “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:”
James 1:18 “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
Pastor Supo Abayode
Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries