“Offering the First-fruit” 08/13/17
Everyone likes a celebration, even God. When God established the covenant with Israel at Sinai He included times for celebrating. Some of these were the Passover to celebrate their redemption from Egypt, the Feast of weeks to celebrate the first-fruits of the summer harvest of wheat, and the Feast of Booths to celebrate the fall harvest. Each of these were also reminders of what had done for them. But there’s another significance as well.
Each of these feasts point ahead to the coming of Jesus and the new covenant. Passover prepares for his sacrificial death in our place, the Feast of Weeks (also known as Pentecost) points to the beginning of the church by the coming of the Holy Spirit, and Tabernacles looks ahead the Second Coming of Christ and restoration of all things.
Today we are looking at the Feast of Weeks.
Deuteronomy 16:9–10 Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. Then celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you.
First fruits of the wheat harvest
Called the community together
Called on to recognize that they depended entirely upon God for their material prosperity
Giving thanks for God’s provision
Giving an offering to God
Freewill – voluntary, the offering was to be shared with the priest, Levites, and the poor.
In proportion – over and above the tithe
By the time of Jesus, the feast was also associated with the giving of the covenant at Sinai, and was a time for renewing the covenant
Pentecost – which means “fiftieth,” was selected because the rules for calculating the date of the festival prescribe that it be celebrated on the 50th day after the “sheaf of the wave offering” was presented during the feast of unleavened bread, 50 days after Passover. The interval between Passover and Harvest festivals was to allow the pilgrims to return home, complete the barley harvest and then come back to the central sanctuary again.
1 Corinthians 15:20–21 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
James 1:18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
I don’t think anyone here grows wheat, but the principle still holds.
Everything we have is a gift from God reminds us of our dependence
We show our gratitude by giving back to God
Not just what may be left after everything else is taken care – the first-fruits
The best we can offer