The Hebrew year 5782, on our calendar year 2022, is what is called a “Shmita year” – the seventh sabbath year of rest. So this is a very important year for you as you obey God- we are literally witnessing an end of something old and a beginning of something new…
First Fruits in Hebrew is “bikkurim” and literally means “promise to come.” And there is ONE who never breaks His covenant promise – God! When you KEEP FIRST THINGS FIRST through faith and obedience, you turn God’s promise into provision… Because He wants to see His people who honor Him succeed greatly, He has put a principle into place FOR YOU called: “First Fruits.”
He wants to see YOU succeed and prosper, but He desires it HIS WAY, not ours. It is all about Him, not us.
First Things First Pt. 2
Understanding God’s Principle of First Fruits
by Paula White Cain
PROVISION OF OBEDIENCE
During the days of Elijah, there was a widow who lived in a town called Zarephath. A severe famine fell over the land because there had been no rain for crops or herds. They were in a deep recession. So naturally, that is where God sent His prophet.
“When [Elijah] came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, ‘Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?’ As she was going to get it, he called, ‘And bring me, please, a piece of bread.’ ‘As surely as the LORD your God lives,’ she replied, ‘I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.’ “Elijah said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son’” (1 Kings 17:10-13, NIV).
Can you imagine? Elijah would seem rather audacious, but you have to understand … he was operating under revelation of first fruits with an understanding of the faithfulness of God and a love for people. He wanted the best for this woman and her son. The love God puts in you for those that He “assigns” you to often moves you to act on revelation with a boldness and authority. God had already told Him that He had commanded a widow in Zarephath to provide for him. That part is easy to understand. But what would make that poor widow—who had conceded that she and her young son were to suffer death by starvation over the coming days—give any of what she had to a stranger? Revelation, or the uncovering and discovering of God’s truth.
Elijah told her not to be afraid because, “The LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land’” (1 Kings 17:14, NIV). In the face of despair, that widow woman suddenly got revelation from the man of God. He told her to give her first fruits—even though she had next to nothing—to him, and she would receive the blessings of God. She was reminded to put God first and she willingly obeyed, bringing Elijah the water and cake he’d requested. As a result of her first fruits offering, “there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah” (1 Kings 17:15-16, NIV).
No matter what situation you may be in, you have the Word of the Lord just as this widow woman did and God will always honor your obedience to His Word!
IGNORING THE TRUTH?
Sadly, too many people either ignore or fail to learn about the principles of God’s Word. And the lack of knowledge of God’s Word brings death to things that should be abundant in your life. It causes you to lean on the arm of the flesh and make decisions from that position more than trusting in God. Wherever there is lack in an area of our lives, we should search our hearts—and His Word—and find out what is missing, or perhaps what we don’t know.
When Jesus was being tempted in the desert to turn the stones into bread, He answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4, NIV). God’s Word cannot fail to operate in our lives when applied appropriately. Yet with all the teaching, prophecy, books, tapes and different versions and colors of the Bible that are available today—people are still perishing for a lack of knowledge of God’s Word, and not doing what God has revealed through His Word (see James 1:22). It takes application with understanding to see the provisions and promises of God flourish in your life. This does not mean we will obtain every fleeting desire and whimsical want in our life. It does not mean we will never have any challenges, obstacles or even disappointments on our journey. What it does mean is that the Word of God will guide, equip and transform you by His truth for the intention of God.
We must question if we are bored with the Truth. Are we so well fed on God’s Word that we have become numb to its principles and precepts? We must heed the word of the prophets of long ago, and set our hearts to knowledge and understanding. We cannot approach the Word of God with a “cafeteria and buffet-style dining” attitude. In other words, we cannot pick and choose what we want or have a “taste” for at that moment. We must eat of the full discourse of His Word. I personally know what it is to live in a place of “lack” for a long time—a lack of love, wholeness, provision, protection, security and peace. I also know what it is to live in “abundance,” to be content in all things with a peace that passes all understanding and to have provision for each season and an inner fortitude to build the life God had masterfully designed for me.
If we will gain God’s greatest blessings, we must embrace His highest purpose. I do not want you to have lack in any area of your life, and I am going to do everything I can to show you the things that God has revealed to me over the past several decades that will show you how to live in the fullness of His covenant.
The key is living according to God’s patterns and principles. You cannot plead promise and violate principles to see provision from God. There are costs to attaining God’s best. If we want to have His greatest provisions, we must be willing and obedient to live a yielded and surrendered life. We must be willing to give to God what we love the most. Just as there are results for being out of alignment with God, there are rewards for keeping His divine patterns. Following, or aligning yourself, with God’s principles and policies brings positive results and a satisfied life.
Always remember: Abundance is not limited to financial increase. In His parable of the sheep and the good shepherd, Jesus is the one who gives life (as opposed to the thief who kills), and life more abundantly, meaning for sheep: good pasture, safety, health, guidance, etc. Just as lack is not limited to affecting only your finances, likewise, abundance relates to every area of your life. Many believers would ponder why, if “provider” is the nature of God, they would not see this manifestation in their life. Part of the answer is that the provisions of God are not given randomly or to support selfishness or the fulfillment of “fleshly” desires and demands. Much like Abraham—who had been brought to a place of spiritual fulfillment when he had to choose between his love for God and his love for what God had given him when the Lord commanded him to take Isaac, his son, to Mount Moriah—we will come to a crossroad in decision of surrendering our greatest loves and desires to God! The provisions of God are without limit to those who give their “all” to Him!
NO SECRET TO GOD’S BLESSINGS
God has good things for you—He wants you to be blessed. That is why He tells you exactly how to go about receiving His abundance.
All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:
You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.
The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you. The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you.
The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none (Deuteronomy 28:2-13, NIV).
What an exciting list of blessings and provision! This passage gives us a glimpse of the depth and purpose of God’s blessings. The word “blessed” really means to be empowered to prosper and to succeed. When you are empowered, you live life with an advantage.
Essentially every aspect of life is included in the blessing of Deuteronomy 28. Moses gave great detail in this passage to explain the blessings available to the children of Israel before they even took their first steps into the land of promise. These blessings were critical to their success in claiming the land God had provided.
It is the same with you and me. Ultimately, we only glorify God when we, like Jesus, accomplish the work that He has given us to do (John 17:4). Everywhere you go, your children, your herds, your flocks, your crops, your barns (in modern terminology that means your business, your bank accounts, your relationships, your mind and your home) will all be blessed and overflowing with the presence of God and His goodness, and everything you put your hand to will prosper. And your success glorifies God!
We will take a closer look at the depth and width of God’s covenant of provision—His blessings, His fullness, anointing, abundance, restoration and more—throughout this book. But understanding the principles and order established by God in His Word is the key to living under this umbrella of divine confirmation, endorsement and supernatural results.
So if you feel out of balance or off-track today, there is hope. You can experience God’s blessings! Within the pages of this book, I’m going to outline the process by which you can keep first things first and release all the benefits of His goodness. If you are living without focus, I want to show you from God’s Word how you can begin to see a perfect alignment of your unique destiny with God’s plan and purpose.
Are you ready to honor God?