Giving God Our First and Our Best
Day: 26 | Plan: Deuteronomy
Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 26
Deuteronomy 26:9-10 (NIV) “’He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, LORD, have given me.’ Place the basket before the LORD your God and bow down before him.”
In Deuteronomy, we find God’s people standing on the verge of receiving the blessings promised in God’s covenant with Abraham, most especially entrance into the Promised Land. This land was described by God as “a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Exodus 3:8) It was a fertile and prosperous land, abundantly rich in resources.
As much as God loved the Israelites, He knew their fickle hearts and how easily they might forget from whom their blessings had come. So in this chapter, God established a ceremony of firstfruits, asking the Israelites to set aside the first and best of what the land produced.
God set forth a specific method for this ceremony. Each person placed the offering in a basket and took it to the central sanctuary (a place determined by God). There he or she presented it to the priest as a thank offering. As each one gave his offering, God asked him to recite the history of God’s people … from Abraham to the present day.
This statement of faith emphasized God’s miraculous work and provision every step of their journey. By making this confession with each offering, God reminded them that they started with nothing. They were a wandering people, small in number, who God grew into a great nation. But then the Egyptians enslaved them, and they cried out to God. He heard and delivered them with a mighty hand and outstretched arm, performing miracles and wonders. God then went before them in a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night and delivered them into the Promised Land. Each man had to close his recitation with these words, “and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, LORD, have given me” (Deuteronomy 26:10).
Reciting these words each and every time they brought an offering built a foundation of faith and identified them as God’s beloved and chosen people.
We too are God’s beloved. His chosen people. Our identity is rooted in Christ and what He did for us. Through His crucified Son, God rescues us from the “wilderness.” Frees us from slavery. Forgives us. Redeems us. Adopts us. And gives us a new and abundant life now and for all eternity! Remembering these truths helps ensure we too willingly give God our first and our best.
Prayer: Father, today I reflect on the well-known and beloved Apostles Creed, but pray it from my heart in my own words: I believe in You as the Creator of Heaven and earth. I believe in Your Son, Jesus Christ, as my Lord and Savior. I believe He was conceived by Your Holy Spirit, miraculously born of a young virgin girl named Mary. Because Jesus submitted to Your will, I believe He was crucified, died and was buried. The third day He rose from the dead. After ministering to His friends, He ascended into Heaven and now sits at Your right hand. One day He will come back to judge this world. I believe Jesus came to forgive my sin. I believe He sent His Spirit to indwell and empower me and give me abundant life now and for all eternity. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read Deuteronomy 26:16-19. Moses concludes this chapter calling for God’s people to fully... Read More
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