Key Verse: “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.”
—Leviticus 23:10, New American Standard Bible
OUR KEY VERSE HIGHLIGHTS Israel’s obligation to give God the firstfruits of the land of promise upon entering therein. Taking instruction from Paul’s statement that these things were an example for us, we look for the spiritual lesson in it. (I Cor. 10:11) As New Creatures, we dwell in a land of promised rest, being assured, “We who have believed enter that rest.” (Heb. 4:3, NASB) Having entered into this spiritual haven, what “first fruits” do we have to offer our Heavenly Father?
First, we are to offer ourselves. “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.” (James 1:18, NASB) Further light is shed on the firstfruits by Paul. “We ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”—Rom. 8:23, NASB
During the present reign of sin, footstep followers of Christ enjoy a unique blessing. They are the first to bear the fruits of God’s spirit. This fruitage is diverse in its manifestations. We are told, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Gal. 5:22,23, NASB) That such qualities of character are able to flourish abundantly in the present time is a glory to God. As Jesus stated, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”—John 15:8, NASB
Bearing the fruits of the Spirit also has other blessed effects. As we manifest more and more of such fruitage in our lives, it conveys a blessing to our brethren as we enjoy Christian fellowship with them. They are encouraged and comforted by our spiritual fruit, and we by theirs. In addition, it is a blessing to all those with whom we come in contact each day. For this reason, we earnestly strive to let our “light so shine before men.”—Matt. 5:16
“God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.” (Heb. 6:10, NASB) Our fruit-bearing will not go unappreciated or unrewarded. We accrue the treasure of which Jesus spoke, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”—Matt. 6:19-21, NASB
We who are now sowing the firstfruits of the Spirit in difficult experiences shall joyously reap. The psalmist poetically speaks of this. “Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Ps. 126:5,6, NASB) In the resurrection, we shall come again with shouts of joy, and bring our firstfruits to lay them before our Heavenly King.