Exodus 23:19 (HCSB)
19 “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your land to the house of the Lord your God. “You must not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
This pericope is first concerned with the Sabbath, and the extension of it. Although there may be agricultural benefit to leaving a field fallow every seventh year, Exodus 23:10 tells us that the reason for the seventh year Sabbath is to allow the poor and the animals to eat from it. Likewise, although there is most certainly a spiritual benefit to the weekly Sabbath, we read here that it is for the refreshing of beast of burdens, slaves, and foreigners. These Sabbath rules are meeting needs, humanitarian needs, as much as they are accomplishing anything else.
Then scripture shifts to the three annual festivals that are to be observed by Israel: Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering. All three of these a celebrations and remembrances of God’s provision. He brought them out of Egypt, He provides the grain harvest from the fields, and He provides the fruit harvest. These festivals provide an opportunity for the Israelites to remember and honor God.
As we see in Exodus 23:19, these festivals include the bringing of the firstfruits. That would be the first of the harvest, therefore a symbol of returning back to God what is His, and honoring His provision. It is not the “lastfruits”, or “extrafruits” either. God should be first, He does not wait. And these festivals, and the accompaniment of the firstfruits, served as a reminder and application of that.
Lord, thank You for providing for us! Not only do You provide the crops, the fruits, and all that sustains us physically, but You provide spiritual nourishment, guidance, and salvation as well. None of it is possible on our own, only through You. I pray we constantly remember this, and not wait for special days to honor You with our firstfruits, but do so constantly. Amen.