In last week’s Parashah (Ki Teitzei, “When You Go Out”) something remarkable is found, wherein 74 of the 613 commands of the Torah are listed, dealing with moral obligation, character and Israel’s calling to covenant relationships. Continuing, with this week’s Parashah (Ki Tavo, “When You Go In”), Moses finishes his legal discourse by establishing the law of “Bikkurim” (firstfruits), where in the “firstfruits” of the harvest is to be taken to the cohanim for their care in the work of God in the holy Temple in stating,
“When you have come to the land Adonai your God is giving you as your inheritance, taken possession of it and settled there; you are to take the firstfruits of all the crops the ground yields, which you will harvest from your land that Adonai you God is giving you, put them in a basket and go to the place where Adonai your God will choose to have his name live.” (Deuteronomy 26:1-2, CJB)
In context, to fulfill this mitzvot (command), at the time of the harvest, the head of the household was required to travel and go up to Jerusalem and the holy Temple with not just the first of his harvest, but also the best of its fruits for Adonai. According to Jewish halacha and tradition, these firstfruits of the crops were known as the shivat ha-minim (the seven species [of the fruit of the harvest]) consisting of wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates (cf. Deuteronomy 8:8). When the Jewish farmer would discover the first sign of his ripening fruit, he would construct a reed around it and designate it as a “Bikkurim.” From this he would select the best elements of his harvest, place it in a basket that is woven in gold and silver (or for the poor, in willow) and offer it to God’s appointed cohanim.
For us as Messianic-believers, the imagery of the firstfruits of Bikkurim is two-fold - first in reminding us of Yeshua, who himself is the firstfruits of the resurrection in stating, “... that the Messiah has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have died,” (1 Corinthians 15:20) and in our calling to bring to God, not the “left-overs,” but instead to surrender and give back to him our very best!
When Messiah came and bore our punishment, he came in perfect sacrificial love, in giving us all for the sake of our redemption. This is not something that began 2,000 years ago with the incarnation, but instead has been God’s purposes for us, his people from the very beginning.
Because God has given us so much and pour out upon our lives - grace upon grace, should we not want to give him in everything our very best? Whether it be in our devotion to pray, how we handle our finances for the things of God, in the service of other, the building of God Kingdom or even in our service to Adonai here at Beit Hallel - it is our very best, yes, our FIRSTFRUITS that we must bring to the Lord every moment of every day.
Let’s give God all that we have - for in Messiah, the Lord has certainly given us more then we could ever deserve!
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