First Fruits, A Broader View
By Debbonnaire Kovacs, Feb 9, 2016
Deuteronomy 26:1-11 has to do with the very first harvest the Israelites will get from the new land God has brought them to. They were told to “take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground” to the sanctuary, where they would officially declare to the priest that they had “come into” the land God had promised. Then they were to recount a summary of the history from Abraham to their time, giving all the credit to God, and conclude, “So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.” You shall set it down before the Lord your God and bow down before the Lord your God. Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.”
I’ve been thinking—we ought to still do this. Of course, I happen to be one of those weird Adventists who do still celebrate and honor the Old Testament feasts as being fulfilled by Christ (though the fall feasts will not be completely fulfilled until Jesus comes again and takes us to the true Promised Land.) So, in the spring, April 22-30 this year, I will eat symbolic foods in a house from which all leaven has been removed, and will hand make unleavened bread all week.
But you wouldn’t have to specifically celebrate any biblical feast to honor the spirit of this passage. In fact, it isn’t even specific to spring. Every time we feel that God has brought us to some new place, whether physically as in a new house or job, mentally as in a graduation or some other learning, emotionally as in—well, almost any new undertaking—or spiritually, most important of all; every time we find we’ve reached some new level on the path of life we could follow the steps outlined in this passage.
- Bring the first fruits. That is, find a way of showing our new situation in as concrete a way as possible, and offer that to God.
- Bring this offering to the sanctuary. This might not actually be church, though I think it would be lovely to have a service like this seasonally and invite all to participate. If it isn’t church, then we could at least have friends as witnesses of our ceremony.
- Tell the story. This is essential to the human soul in all ages, places, and times.
- Make the offering clearly. A bow would be nice. It symbolizes an attitude many of our modern cultures have nearly lost.
- Celebrate the bounty together. And here is an often-overlooked detail that seems to be endemic to the entire Bible, but rarely mentioned today—celebrate with the local poor and resident aliens.
Then wait and see how the LORD your God blesses and increases you and yours.