Happy New Year!
Some of my friends chose a word for the year. Maybe there’s a “one word” thing circulating, and I’m just realizing it! My one word for the year though came easy. Firstfruits.
I woke up thinking about that on January 1 and spent some time studying what it meant in the Bible, just using my simple concordance at the back of my Bible.
When the Israelites came into the land, they were to offer firstfruits of their harvest to God (Lev. 23:9-14, Ex. 23: 16, 19, Ex. 34:26, Deut. 26). In Nehemiah 10:35-36, they brought the firstfruits of the ground and the firstfruits of fruit and trees. My Bible notes say, “The firstfruits of the ground were given to the Lord as an acknowledgement of His status as landowner.”
In Exodus 23:17, we see the Feast of Harvest was one of the three annual feasts at which they would bring the firstfruits of their labors which they had sown in the field.
My Bible notes say, “The Israelites were to offer to God the fruit that ripened first, even though there was always a possibility that the rest of the crop would not ripen or be harvested because of some unforseen circumstance. By offering the first of the produce to the Lord, the people expressed their trust in God’s provision and their gratitude for His good gifts.”
I also looked into the New Testament. Romans 8:23, we have the firstfruits of the Spirit.
James 1:18, which follows a beloved verse of mine (every good and perfect gift is from above, James 1:17), says, “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”
Revelation 4:4, being redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.
Then this: Christ is risen from the dead and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep! (I Cor. 15:20) My notes say, “Because Christ rose from the dead, those who are asleep in Christ have a guarantee of their own resurrection.”
Obviously, this could become a very in-depth and exciting study!
These are just some glimpses of what I read. I can give my firstfruits of all I have been given (what all does this include?), but is my very life a kind of firstfruit (James 1:18)?
As I thought about giving my firstfruits, the area I was convicted to give this year is of my time, the firstfruits of the day, trusting God will make the rest of the day effective, even when I’ve given up time in the morning.
So my 2015 goal is to spend time in the morning reading the Bible and praying – before I do anything else — before I get ready, before I eat breakfast, before I make lunches, before everything! I am using the M’Cheyne reading plan to read through the Bible in a year. So feet out of bed and on the ground, downstairs, praying, reading, before anything else.
I want to be realistic – anything we do in a new way can be hard to keep going. But I’ve pushed through and here I am on the 8th day. I’ll take it a week at a time and see how it goes. But I can tell you this so far: it’s been a complete blessing! I’m learning so much in my time in the Word. It’s amazing how four select passages can intertwine with one idea. More on that in a future post.
For today, my word for 2015, firstfruits.
Honor God 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 (Proverbs 3:9-10).