OFFERING OF THE FIRSTLINGS

rodney howard browne

Thoughts on Stewardship – Lesson 27 from Deuteronomy
Foundation Scriptures: Deuteronomy 15 verse 19-21

Offering of the Firstlings

All the firstling males that are born of your herd and flock you shall set apart for the Lord your God; you shall do no work with the firstling of your herd, nor shear the firstling of your flock. 20 You shall eat it before the Lord your God annually in the place [for worship] which the Lord shall choose, you and your household. 21 But if it has any blemish, if it is lame, blind, or has any bad blemish whatsoever, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God.  Deuteronomy 15:19-21 AMP

1.  It is very important to God that His people set aside and bring the firstling of their flocks and herds to Him

a. They had to be firstlings – the firstborn of the flock  
b. It took faith to bring the firstling – you had to believe that there would be a “secondling”, a “thirdling”,
    and a “fourthling”, etc.
c. This firstling was to be set aside ahead of time and then brought to the place of worship
d. It was sacrificed to the Lord at the place of worship and then eaten in His presence
e. The firstling could not be lame or blind – it had to have no blemish or imperfection whatsoever
f. It would need to be carefully inspected
g. If something is inspected, it means that it has to be considered and carefully looked at – with much
    contemplation and thought – rather than something brought haphazardly or as a mere afterthought

2.  Even though this command was given under the Old Covenant, why would we – under the New – assume that we are free to dishonor God by giving to Him any other way?

a. Maybe we don’t raise animals – but we do earn a living – we must bring the Lord the “firstling” – right
    off the top
b. We honor God by putting Him first, rather than last in our priorities
c. We should set aside our offering with much thought, contemplation and inspection – and then bring it to
    His house as an act of worship – to honor Him for His goodness, His mercy, His grace, His loving
    kindness, and all of His bountiful blessings
d. If we really respect a person – a man or woman – and we really want to bless them, we will do
    something to honor them, such as bringing a gift that reflects our gratitude and appreciation
e. It is extremely appropriate – and in some cases, expected – that you bring a gift when you are meeting
    someone very important
f. Your gift sends a message. For instance, we give gifts to our husband, wife, family, or friends, on
    birthdays, or anniversaries, or other special occasions, that reflect how much we think of them
g. They would be offended if we forgot to bring something or if we gave an inferior gift
h. What about our Heavenly Father? Is He not more important – is He not more precious to us – than any
    mortal man? We expect His generous, abundant, timely blessings on us and so we should also honor
    Him in kind

Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:
Isaiah 43:22-25 AMP says, “You have not called upon Me [much less toiled for Me], O Jacob; but you have been weary of Me, O Israel! You have not brought Me your sheep and goats for burnt offerings, or honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not required you to serve with an offering or treated you as a slave by demanding tribute or wearied you with offering incense. You have not bought Me sweet cane with money, or satiated Me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have only burdened Me with your sins; you have wearied Me with your iniquities. I, even I, am He Who blots out and cancels your transgressions, for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
Is this you? Have you taken advantage of God’s grace and generosity? Have you offered God nothing but your sins and iniquities? Have you done nothing but burden Him and weary Him? If so, it’s time for a change. It’s time to make up your mind to start to please God and bless Him with your obedience and your blemish-free firstlings!

Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:
Everything we have comes from God. Nothing we have comes from ourselves. He loves us – we love Him. He blesses us – we bless Him. It amazes me how many people expect the blessing of the Lord in their lives and yet the Kingdom of God is neither their priority nor their concern. When we make the Kingdom of God our priority – when we put God’s house first and bless and honor Him – then He will bless and honor us. Let’s honor God by bringing our first and our best – not the last or the lame or the blind.

Prayer and Confession:
Father, I honor You with my firstlings and I honor You with the best that I have. I will obey You and bless You, because everything I have is Yours.

DON’T FORGET

rodney howard browne

Thoughts on Stewardship – Lesson 22 from Deuteronomy

Don’t forget where you came from
Foundation scriptures: Deuteronomy 8 verses 10 – 20

When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for all the good land which He has given you. 11 Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His precepts, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 Lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses and live in them, 13 And when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all you have is multiplied, 14 Then your [minds and] hearts be lifted up and you forget the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, 15 Who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, but Who brought you forth water out of the flinty rock, 16 Who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. 17 And beware lest you say in your [mind and] heart, My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth. 18 But you shall [earnestly] remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 And if you forget the Lord your God and walk after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. 20 Like the nations which the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 8:10-20 AMP

1.  People have a tendency to forget where they have come from very quickly.

a.    They get their eyes off of the Lord and onto their circumstances.
b.    This is not only when they are in peril, but also when they are blessed.
c.    If it was important for the children of Israel to not forget from whence the Lord had brought them, how much more is it very important for us today?
d.    The Word warns us to be careful and not to be deceived by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
e.    We have to be anchored firmly in the Lord, and His Word, and not in possessions or people.
f.    We must remind ourselves, on a daily basis, where the Lord has brought us from, and where we could have been. We must keep a humble and a pure heart before the Lord.

2.  In this passage, God was warning His people not to forget Him, but to continue to gratefully remember Him.

a.    Some people turn to the Lord only in a time of extreme trouble, but when it all turns around, they quickly forget their deliverer.
b.    God says you must remember Him. It is HE who gives you the power to create wealth.
c.    Don’t ever be lifted up in pride, where you think it’s you, your talents, your abilities, and how great you are.
d.    It’s ALL Jesus and NOT us.

Pastor Adonica’s Thoughts:
The Lord provided for the Israelites in the desert, where there was no natural provision for them. Without God, they were as good as dead. But He also provided for them in the Land of Milk and Honey. ALL of it was from God. Just because you are in a good place and you seem to be able to provide well for yourself, don’t forget that it is God who has given you, not only the things you have, but also the very ability to provide for yourself. Nobody enjoys being taken for granted – especially the Lord. Never take the blessings of God for granted. Don’t treat Him only as your last resort. If you want to maintain the blessings of God in your life, you would be wise to always remember to thank the Lord for all that you have and thank Him and trust Him also for all you need – now and in the future. Look to Him as your source and supply and honor Him as such.

Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:
I have had the privilege of observing many different people over the years and have noticed that modern day people are no different from the Old Testament saints. Many times, businessmen who become successful, forget Who got them there. Preachers are the same way. The Word plainly states that one of the things God hates above all others is pride. God tells us over and over that He resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. So take time today to reflect on where you’ve come from and give the Lord all the glory.

Prayer and Confession:
Father, I thank You that You are my source and supply. Without You – I am lost. I remember that You are the one who gives me the ability to make a living and to create wealth. I humble myself before You today and I continue to keep my eyes fixed firmly on you.