The First Fruit
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24. I realize that with God there is a lot of seed sowing and harvest reaping.
Mark, 4:2-8 Jesus tells the parable of the sower and the seed and the various types of soil the same seed was sown into and the resulting harvests or lack thereof. In another place we are told that we will reap what we sow because God is not fooled by our pretenses.
The topic I want to share with you is first fruits. In the Old Testament God required the first fruits, and there are many places where He was displeased with His people for not doing so.
In Josh 6, when the children of Israel were ready to go in and take Jericho, they were told to leave the spoils and take nothing from the city. Jericho was the first city they were to take once they entered the promised land. However, one of the men, Achan, took some items and hid them in his tent.
Joshua, unaware of Achan’s transgression had his army to go up against a small city named Ai, which they were confident they could almost walk in and take. They were soundly defeated and sent running back to their camp suffering many losses. When Joshua appealed to the Lord, he discovered that there was sin in the camp because of Achan’s theft.
I think the city of Jericho was the tithe of the promise land. Pay God first and the rest of the land would be theirs along with all the blessings of a land flowing with milk and honey.
In the book of Malachi God told the priests and the people that they had robbed Him by withholding the tithe, and also offering defective animals and rotten wheat, but still expecting God to receive these offerings and continue to bless them.
There seems to be a shift in the New Testament after the crucifixion of Jesus. II Cor 9:6-15 talks about giving as you have purposed in your heart and giving cheerfully, not reluctantly. So, it seems that the demand has been removed and now it is giving out of love for God and for His people.
Now, we come to John 3:16 For God so loved… that He gave… So, you might say what does this have to do with first fruits? Glad you asked! First fruits are given, the tithe is paid. Did you ever wonder why Jesus had to be in the earth for three days and three nights? I am sure there are some Jewish traditions concerning the three days and three nights, but I love seeing metaphors in scripture.
I was reading in Genesis 1:11-13 And God said, Let the earth put forth [tender] vegetation; plants yielding seed and fruit trees yielding fruit whose seed is in itself, each according to its kind, upon the earth. And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation; plants yielding seed according to their own kinds and trees bearing fruit in which was their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good (suitable, admirable) and He approved. And there was evening and there was morning, a third day. (Amp)
This takes us back to John 12:24 Jesus was the grain of wheat that fell into the ground , died and on the third day He sprang forth to life with seed within Himself, after His kind. Scripture says that He is the first born of many brethren. Each of us who has received Him as Lord and Savior are a part of the harvest. I truly believe Jesus is the Tithe demanded by God, without spot or blemish to deliver us from the curse. Once the tithe is paid, not given, the curse is lifted, and the windows of heaven are opened to us. Now we give back to God with our lives, our resources, our devotion because we are fruit of the seed that brought forth after His kind.