Monday, April 29, 2013

April 29, 2013 … Faithful First Fruits

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 119

Passage of the Day: Joshua 6: 19 [in the context of verses 16-19 [NLT] … 
16 The seventh time around, as the priests sounded the long blast on their horns, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city! 17 The city and everything in it must be completely destroyed as an offering to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and the others in her house will be spared, for she protected our spies. 18 Do not take any of the things set apart for destruction, or you yourselves will be completely destroyed, and you will bring trouble on all Israel. 19 Everything made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron is sacred to the LORD and must be brought into his treasury.” 
Contextual Study of today’s passage: Joshua, Chapter 6 [NLT] … Go to this link … 

Reference Passage #1: Proverbs 3: 9-10: [It’s all God’s… but He only asks for the first-fruits – in faith – to recognize His providence.] …[NKJV] …  
9 Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.

Reference Passage #2: 2nd Corinthians 9: 6-8: [And His first fruits should be given cheerfully and faithfully] …[NKJV] …  
6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

My Journal for Today: When the plate is passed for tithes and offerings in your church; and you put your faith-led offering into the plate, what are your feelings in that moment? ... Do you drop an amount which reflects your faithful and cheerful recognition of God’s providence in your life; or do you put the money in reluctantly and begrudgingly, feeling that the money could have been used in other venues of your life?

When Joshua led the Israelites to their first victory in the newly engaged “Promised Land,” their culture would have dictated that the spoils of victory would go the victors. However, God, through Joshua, used this moment to teach God’s people His lesson in the worship of giving; and that lesson is that everything is God’s anyway; but all He demands is a worship of our returning the “first-fruits” as a recognition of God’s providence and His promise to take care of those who willingly and cheerfully give back the first portion of His providence to/for God’s kingdom and for His glory.

 And that first-fruit giving is our sign of worship and the recognition that we believe God’s promises about our worshipful giving in such passages as those (memory verses) above which popped into my consciousness as I read and meditated on the story of Joshua taking Jericho in Joshua, Chapter 6, linked here for our study.

Please take in Proverbs 3: 9-10 and 2nd Cor. 9: 6-8, copied above, … and ask yourselves, as I’m reminded to do so here this morning, … ”Is my attitude in tithing and giving to my local church done with a cheerful and faithful attitude of my thankfulness for God’s providence in my life … as well as a recognition that it all comes from God anyway and I’m just giving back what He asks for – the first fruits – as a recognition of His providence and provision?”

I’ll leave it to you to ponder that one as I have today.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, may my giving of time, talents, and treasures be a “first-fruit” recognition of Your faithful providence in my life. … Amen

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