Sunday School Lesson May 13, 2018 Bringing Firstfruits
To follow along, visit your local Christian bookstore, and ask for the Bible Expositor and Illuminator
Time: 1445 B.C. Place: Mount Sinai
Golden Text: When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest. (Leviticus 23:10).
The Israelites to acknowledge that all which they received had come from the Lord and to guarantee further productivity the Israelites were directed to offer the very first portions or perhaps a selection of the very best as soon as they were harvested or processed. They could partake of nothing until these offerings had been made. Such offerings might consist of produce directly from the field, including cereal, grapes, or fruit, or prepared substances including grain, wine, oil, and honey. The cereal offering of firstfruits was made with fresh kernels of grain, crushed and parched by fire. When the Israelites planted fruit trees they were forbidden to eat the yield of the first three years. The harvest of the fourth year was considered holy and was offered in the sanctuary as praise to the Lord and eaten by the priests. Only from the fifth year could the harvest be eaten. Offerings of the firstfruits were made also on the behalf of the entire nation during the annual pilgrim festivals. On the second day, the day following the Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which came to be incorporated into the Passover celebration, a sheaf of the firstfruits of the barley harvest was brought to the priest for a wave offering.
Lesson Outline: I. Instructions for the Offering – Leviticus 23:9-13
Leviticus 23:9 – And the Lord spake unto Moses saying. The Lord gave Moses specific instructions for the Israelites’ part in the Feast of Firstfruits. The Firstfruit offering was not a tenth of the harvest; it was simply representative of the harvest. It was offered to thank God first; then the rest of the grain God had blessed them with was harvested.
Leviticus 23:10 – Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest. They were to observe this feast when they entered the Promised Land. “Promised” indicating God had already given them the land before they entered. It was theirs while they were still in captive in Egypt. They just had to go through the process of getting there to receive it. The land they were entering wasn’t given to them through their efforts but God gave them the land. When the Israelites were ready to harvest the grain each year they were first to cut a few stalks and bring the sheaf to the priest. This offering was the Israelites’ way of thanking the Lord for the harvest that year and dedicating the rest of the harvest to Him.
Leviticus 23:11 – And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. When an Israelite brought the sheaf of grain to the priest as the priest received it he would wave it before the Lord as an expression of thanks and dedication. To wave the offering probably meant the priest lifted it toward heaven and waved it back and forth. The wave offering was saying to the Lord ” You have been so good to us this year before I harvest the rest of my crop, I present to You this first sheaf to say thanks and to acknowledge that You are the source of all our provisions”. Notice, they couldn’t go before the Lord with their offering, they had to give it to the priest, and the priest would do the wave offering. Thank God for Jesus, we don’t have to go the priest to go before God, we go before God in the name of Jesus!
Leviticus 23:12 – And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the Lord. The unblemished lamb showed the importance of giving God the best of the flock and reminds us of the Lord Jesus, who was an “a lamb without blemish and without spot”. Along with the grain offering the people sacrificed a male lamb as a burnt offering expressing their dedication or surrender to God. The person offering the lamb put his hand on the lamb’s head, showing he was identifying with the sacrifice. He killed the animal, and the priest sprinkled the blood around the altar. The animal was burned with the smoke ascending up as an aroma pleasing to God. Jesus the Lamb of God has sprinkled His blood on us, we’re now the altar where God resides as we give ourselves as a living sacrifice.
Leviticus 23:13 – And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, and offering made by fire unto the Lord for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of a hin. The Lord wanted His people to carry out the Feast of Firstfruits as a way of thanking Him. The Israelites brought their best flour mixed with oil with salt added. “Salt” as a preservative was a reminder of God’s covenant faithfulness. The priest burned a portion of the flour releasing a sweet savor to God. The remainder of the flour was food for the priests. When we present ourselves as a living sacrifice to God when we praise Him with our hands, mouth, with a shout or dance it’s a pleasant smell ascending before the Lord.
Lesson Outline: II. Further Regulations – Leviticus 23:14, 22
Leviticus 23:14 – And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. The Israelites were not to eat anything from the harvest, bread, parched corn nor green ears until they first brought their sheaf of grain to the priest. With the Firstfruit offering, there was to be the offering of a yearling lamb without blemish, a grain offering, and a drink offering. The Firstfruit offering was not complete in itself. A special part of this offering was that it would be carried on perpetually by the nation and individuals throughout their future generation.
Leviticus 23:22 – And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the Lord your God. God specified that when they reaped the harvest, the Israelites were not to clean up every last bit of grain but leave some for others. This was to benefit the poor who had no fields to reap. It was also to provide provision for those who were not Israelites, like some of the Egyptian who came with the Israelites when they left Egypt. God has always and will always have compassion for the less fortunate its people who categories and make status whose consider to be somebody. We’re all dust and no matter how you dress it up, no matter how much money, fame or education one has when they die they shall return to the dust from whence they came. Every day we awake, we should be thankful for all the blessings God has given us. We can honor God with our time, give Him the first portion of your day with prayer and thanksgiving. Giving your tithes and offering to help your church to continue to be open so that souls can come in a be saved. Tithes and offerings are needed to keep the ministry functioning, as you bless your church and others, God will bless you, its the law of giving which is still in effect.