Proverbs 3:9–10

"Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine."

God again and again in Scripture calls upon His people to honor Him with the first-fruits of all that is ours. Cain's sacrifice, for instance, was rejected because it was not an o’ering of the first and best of his harvest. Unlike his brother Abel, he gave second best to the Lord (Gen. 4:3–4). The ancient Israelites were commanded to celebrate the Feast of Firstfruits, which was held on the day after the second Sabbath of the Passover (Lev. 23:9–14). At that festival, the people were to bring a portion of the firstfruits of their harvest as an o’ering to the Lord. Ezekiel looked forward to the day when the restored community of Israel would bring its firstfruits to the Lord (Ezek. 44:30).

The Wisdom Literature gives us the same exhortation, and in today's passage we read that we are to honor God with our wealth and the firstfruits of all our produce. We are to give to Him and the work of His church not after we have spent enough on ourselves but beforehand. This is a visible act of worship that manifests the intents of our hearts. Giving the first of what we have to our Creator is a tangible way of expressing our trust in Him to meet all our needs. If we take the first and best for ourselves and leave to God only what is left over, we are at least implying, if not outright declaring, that we are not sure whether the Lord can meet our needs. We have to take what we need first; otherwise, we might not be satisfied. It is not that the Lord needs our possessions in any absolute sense; rather, the call to tithe and to sacrifice unto Him is for our benefit. It keeps us from "robbing God," as Malachi so memorably puts it (Mal. 3:6–12), and it enables us to develop the kind of whole-hearted trust that pleases Him. If we give to the Lord before we give to ourselves, we are put in a position where we must trust God to make up for what we have surrendered to Him. Such giving also helps us see the Lord for who He really is. Matthew Henry comments, "God, who is the first and best, must have the first and best of every thing; his right is prior to all other, and therefore he must be served first."

If we are faithful to give to the Lord, Proverbs 3:10 tells us, our blessings will not only be spiritual but also physical. The Lord will give us so much that our barns will be full and our wine vats overflowing. These are images of incredible abundance, and the principle applies even for those of us who are not farmers. God will reward all those who give sacrificially to His mission both now and especially in the age to come (Mark 10:39–40

Coram Deo

The truth of Proverbs 3:9–10 is seen ultimately in the new heaven and earth where we all will possess a mansion (John 14:2 KJV). Moreover, the incredible truth of the gospel is that God makes us into His firstfruits, the first and best of what is given to Him. As James 1:18 states, the Lord has brought us forth as firstfruits. Our giving to God and His work is a tangible expression of the trust by which the Lord makes us into the first and best of what He owns.

For Further Study