Thursday, September 18, 2008

Firstfruits

Another question raised was about firstfruits (vs 18). One of the groups mentioned it being the first of the harvest...YES!!!

James' readers would have been familiar with the term because Jewish custom was that firstfruits were offered to God in gratitude and recognition that all comes from Him and belongs to Him. To find out more about the term firstfruits look up all the places in scripture that talk about it (in a variety of ways)...Deut 26:9-11...1 Cor 15:20...Rev 14:4...Jer 2:3.

The image of firstfruits is an expectation of the ultimate fruit-bearing goal of God's work in us. It is a high calling to have God's character of holiness more and more clearly reflected in us...Thus, we all should present ourselves as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2) to Him (similar to the Israelites offering of the first of their harvest).

Reminds me of Kevin's action step...Take time to be holy...

2 comments:

GFish said...

Firstfruits had a couple different meanings in the Old Testament. It was often the term for giving. Deuteronomy 18:4 - The firstfruits of your grain, of your wine and of your oil, and the first fleece of your sheep, you shall give him.

It was also a sign of strength, of ten referring to the firstbron son. Genesis 49:3 - Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the firstfuits of my strength. And in Psalm 78:51 - He struck down every firstborn in Egypt, the firstfruits of their strength.

The idea of us being a "kind of firstfruits of his creatures" makes sense in the strength / firstborn sense. God has chosen us to be his "firstborn sons", that is he has adopted us. We are also the ones who are to have dominion over the other creatures, since we were made in God's image.

What intrigues me though is the idea of giving/tithing as firstfruits. Especially since the prior verse (17) James writes that Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.

So, are we God's tithe? The firstfruits of His labor?

He gives every good gift to us. One of those gifts is the "word of truth" that gives us a spiritual birth. We then become a worshipper of God, which is a gift back to Him. So God gives himself a worshipper by giving us new birth. His gift (firstfruits) -to himself- is people who seek after Him, find joy in Him, desire to glorify Him.

Agree, disagree?

Rainbow said...

Wow - never thought of it that way. Good thoughts. I think I would agree with that - definitely have given me something to think about.