Many Christians who attend church and are faithful in their service to the Lord feel that they have nothing to offer except money. But what of the spiritual fruit and graces that God has given us? For example, a news item in the Harrisburg area shared that a man, who apparently suffers from mental issues, caused quite a stir in the complex where he resides on Front Street. He was “holed up” there and had to be coaxed out. The situation held up traffic on Front Street, according to reports.
This individual needs grace and understanding as a part of his treatment. How many of us are stepping up to the plate in these situations?
“And it shall be, when you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from your land that the Lord your God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide”(Deuteronomy 26:1-2 NKJV).
On first reading this portion of scripture, the emphasis is upon tithing, as indicated by the reference to first fruits. However, there is a secondary truth within the passage that emerges, which shows more clearly the purpose.
Why bring the basket? Why the tithe? Is God so poor, so impoverished? Obviously not. Verse 1 states that the land that the Israelites are about to enter has been given by God. As Christians, there is a spiritual land that we enter. It is not carnal, not even natural. It is His gift, which is within. It is an inheritance as His redeemed child. We are expected to possess it and to live in it.
Then, we are to “put it in a basket.” The graces that the Lord has wrought in us, the fruit of the Spirit, all this is of Him. He has given them all. Galatians 5:22-23 enumerates the fruit of the Spirit: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. We are His baskets, in which He has abundantly given such wonderful fruit. We have a storeroom within that we may share with others – enough for all who may need.
Before we are able to partake of this fruit ourselves, however, or even share it with others, it must be offered to the Lord. That seems strange to us. He gives it, and we are to offer it back to Him. Deuteronomy 26:10-11 gives the instructions on how to offer to Him our “basket”.
- Set it before the Lord
- Worship before the Lord
- Rejoice in every good thing
“The Israelite did not offer the basket of first fruits in order to get into the land, but because he was actually in it” (The Pentateuch by CHM). There was no question, no doubt.
According to Exodus 3:7-9, the deliverance was all of God. Hebrews 12 assures us that we are come unto Jesus. If we doubt that we possess the land it is impossible to offer, to worship and to rejoice.
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