First Fruits

First Fruits

Firstfruits – Opportunity for Prosperity – Part IV

The Investment of A Lifetime

2 Chronicles 31st Chapter

5  And as soon as
the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the
firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the
field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly. 6  And concerning the children
of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in
the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were
consecrated unto the LORD their God, and laid them by heaps.

7  In the third
month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the
seventh month. 8
 And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed
the LORD, and his people Israel. 9
 Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the
heaps. 10  And Azariah
the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people
began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to
eat, and have left plenty: for the LORD hath blessed his people; and that which
is left is this great store.

Last week we shared with you all how one of the members who committed her
firstfruits was told she was getting a raise. Well this week, we have more
of the same to share. Last Wednesday, another member of our ministry told me
that she was getting a raise. She said that her supervisor came to her and
said, "Congratulations on your promotion"– pretty much to her
surprise. This person had not asked for a promotion or a raise, but surely
she’s receiving one because she, too, committed her firstfruits to her pastor.
So what’s going on here? The simple fact is the people of God are getting
blessed, and this lines right up with this week’s text. But before we go into
the text, we need to give you a little history surrounding it.

Hezekiah had replaced Ahaz as the king over Jerusalem. During Ahaz’s reign
he (1) made idols to worship, (2) condoned human sacrifices and (3) followed
the ways of nations that had been cast out by the Lord. Because he had done
these things, God handed Israel over to the King of Syria. So as Hezekiah took
over, the first thing he had on his agenda was reform. He knew that the people
of God had been unfaithful to their God which led to their downfall (2
Chronicles 29:6-9). Therefore, Hezekiah was out to do two things: (1) build a
covenant with the Lord so that His anger would no longer be against them (2
Chronicles 29:10) and (2) rebuild the temple of the Lord. So to do both of
these things it took material wealth. Now let’s go to the fifth verse.

5
 And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel
brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of
all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in
abundantly.

What I like about this text is the way it starts off: "And as soon as
the commandment came the children of Israel brought in abundance the
firstfruits." The Israelites didn’t wait for things to get a little
better. As soon as they got the word they acted—probably because they were
tired of their situation and knew that it took a change to bring about a
change. What we can learn from this is that there is no time like now to make
our change so that we can get our change! Why wait for the next
increase/promotion/raise? You just might be delaying it by waiting for it.

After the people brought their tithes and firstfruits, one of the priests,
Azariah, noticed a change. He stated in the 10th verse, "Since
the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had
enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the LORD hath blessed his people; and
that which is left is this great store." Let’s focus on one word — SINCE!
This word is defined in Webster’s as "during the time after which."
In other words, "since" is a turning point, and believe me, God knows
that many of us need turning points — especially financial ones.

From this turning point, the children of God went from the land of "not
enough" to the land of "more than enough" which the 10th
verse confirms: "for the Lord hath blessed his people; and that which is
left is this great store." Let’s tap into this. After the children of
Israel gave, they got blessed. And after getting blessed, they had much
to give. And for what they gave, the priests consumed part of it. And
even after that, there was a "great store" (great quantity) left
over.

What we want to glean from this is "increase cometh." Remember,
the priest Azariah noticed a change, so there had to be a change. They
couldn’t do what God wanted them to do with a buck and a quarter. God had to
bring some increase to get His temple restored. Let’s just be real — It took
money! Consequently, as God’s people were faithful to His word, He was faithful
to them. God kept bringing them increase as they kept bringing Him increase.
But the key to the supernatural increase was the firstfruit along with the
tithe. Let’s go back to the 5th and 6th verses for an
explanation.

5  And as soon
as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance THE
FIRSTFRUITS
of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase
of the field; AND THE TITHE of all things brought they in
abundantly. 6  And
concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah,
THEY ALSO BROUGHT IN THE TITHE of oxen and sheep, and the tithe
of holy things which were consecrated unto the LORD their God, and laid them by
heaps.

These two scriptures clearly tell us that there is a difference between
tithes and firstfruits. The tithe is for covenant because it is consistently
given; God expects that of you. The firstfruit is to honor and thank God for
increase. Together the two (tithe and firstfruit) work mightily to get us
blessed into an entirely new area.

Now when it comes to finances, it should be our goal to become like the
Israelites who gave firstfruits often. Focus on that statement. They gave
firstfruits — OFTEN! Why? Because when they gave firstfruit offerings, they
received increases to give more firstfruit offerings. Another way of putting
this is, God desires for money to find you! God wants increase to run you down
and run you over! And guess what? For you to do everything financially God
wants you to do, you’re going to need more than just one firstfruit offering.
It’s going to take more than one to get you to the land of "more than
enough." It’s going to take more than one to get you out of debt. It’s
going to take more than one to bring some peace into your life and make the
debt collectors stop calling! More is coming if you’re faithful in your giving
of the firstfruits. How do we know this? By the simple fact that the last
increase/raise/promotion we received wasn’t enough to build a temple. It
probably wasn’t even enough to build a car port, but through our faithfulness
in giving, God can and will get us enough increase to build His temple.

Most of us would sooner invest with Solomon, Smith and Barney than with the
Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with
investing God’s money (which is what you have). The question is, do you trust
Him enough to invest it in His kingdom? He has promised us more than once that
the increase will come, and it surely will. The land of "more than
enough" is only a few investments away. The only question that remains is
"Are you willing to give up the FIRST firstfruit to get more firstfruit?