As we move along on our annual Holy Day journey, let’s be sure to carry the things we have rehearsed forward with us. For example, in the instruction regarding the wave sheaf offering, Israel was told, “You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God …” (Leviticus 23:14). The offering consisted of the firstfruits of the harvest. One thing we are taught by this law is to, “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase” (Proverbs 3:9).
This positions God relative to a person’s life. Not only were they not to have any other gods, but God must come first in their lives. He is not to be an after-thought behind all the things we get involved in on a daily basis. In a physical material world, we need help to keep a spiritual perspective. This law provides a focus for the things our hands find to do. As we experience increase, we must give the credit to God and not to our own efforts.
In Isaiah 44, verse 6, we are told, “Thus says the Lord; the King of Israel, and His Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no other God.” Some things we can note here — God is King over Israel. God is sovereign and as Lord of hosts, is sovereign over all the hosts of heaven and earth – that means the angelic realm and the realm of man. As He is our Redeemer, we are added to the picture as spiritual Israel. He is our King and our Redeemer. Our daily lives are due to Him.
Importantly, He is eternal – first and last. He existed before the heavens and the earth were created. He created them – “the earth is mine” – “the land is mine.” This also means that He is in control now and into the future. Without God, nothing would exist, and without His upholding what He created, all would come to nothing. “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36). He is Alpha and Omega – He is God alone, and beside Him, there is no other God.
These may sound like platitudes because we hear so many platitudes from people who think they know God but don’t. These are serious words for us and had better become our internal compass – always pointing to God first.
The pressure to decrease the emphasis on God is growing. “Now also many nations have gathered against you, who say, ‘Let her be defiled and let our eye look upon Zion.’ But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord, nor do they understand counsel; for He will gather them like sheaves to the threshing floor” (Micah 4:11-12). There are those in authoritative positions who want to control the place that God should play in our lives. Their eyes are looking on Zion with disrespect and they want to define the place that God should play in our lives.
The need for God to be first in our lives is only growing in importance. He shares His thoughts with us, and we can know His counsel. As the Apostle Paul acknowledged to the Church in Corinth, “So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:7).
We have the honor to know God and to experience true “increase” as He works with and through us. So we need to be placing God first in all aspects of our lives.