When Adam and Eve sinned, everything changed; the garden looked different, they saw each other differently, even their response to God’s voice changed. With one bad choice their once beautiful life seemed to disappear into the past. In fact, from that moment forward it seemed as though everything good was in the past. There was nothing to look forward to because man was against God. Everything great was gone and humans developed a sickness of trying to live in the past.
We created little idols of God to relive the good times in the garden. We built a tower as tall as the sky to prove to God we could be close to Him again. We pretend that we never sinned, that there is no sin, that there is no God. It’s our way of trying to capture what we lost, in the past.
You may catch yourself doing this. Maybe you are trying to live your sports dreams through your kids. Maybe you force your family to relive the same Christmas or New Year’s tradition because one year, way back when, it was amazing. Maybe you are unhappy in church, or work, or home because it’s not like it was “that one time.” We have a way of convincing ourselves that things were always better “back then” and if we can just get it back we would be happy.
The funny things is, you know that isn’t true. If you really dig deep enough, if you are honest with yourself, you know that you are missing really amazing moments right now because you are trying to get things back to how they were. Here is the truth, God is growing new things in your life right now and they are better than what came before. It’s time to stop holding on to that one moment years ago and open your eyes to what Jesus is growing in your life right now.
See, God knew this would be an issue for humans so He addressed it in a really unique way. To combat our desire to not trust God and want what used to be, He commanded the Hebrews to observe something called the firstfruits offering. Now, maybe you’ve heard of this and you are tuning me out because you think I am going to talk about money. I’m not and here is why; even though this practice of firstfruits had its roots in a yearly offering from crops, the message behind why they were commanded to do this is bigger.
The Hebrews were commanded in Exodus 23 to observe a special firstfruits offering three times a year. This meant that after Passover, after Pentecost, and in the fall, Hebrews were expected to give the first of their crop to the priest as an offering to the Lord. The beauty comes with why they were commanded to do this.
They were commanded to give the first and best of what grew because they needed to remind their souls that something even better was coming.
The Hebrews suffered from the same thing we do. We don’t trust that God will actually keep His word. We are convinced that what we have is the best it will ever get. We believe the lie that everything belongs to us. To combat this God instituted the firstfruits offering.
Firstfruits reminds us that God always comes first.
This is the main idea behind our new message series for January. It’s called Firstfruits and it looks at the biblical principle of putting God first by trusting Him to be faithful. If you would like to read ahead for Sunday, check out Exodus 23:10-19. I’m really excited about this message series and I believe God will do some amazing things in 2016.
- Marshall Ochs
A few things to pray for
As you spend time in prayer this week, join with us by praying for these things:
- Pray joy over the churches in our city
- Pray unity over the churches in our city
- Pray for your heart to become tender to letting things go
- Pray for a closer walk with Jesus