Each month our congregation celebrates First Fruits. First Fruits is an opportunity for us to invite the Lord to direct us through the month. First Fruits in the Scriptures was a "faith" gift of the first fruits which were produced by crops, orchards, herds or flocks. When the first of the harvest arrived, the owner would take a sheaf of grain - take it to the priest or temple - and wave it before the Lord as an offering. It signified their desire for the Lord to bless the entire crop. It also gives us an opportunity to ask the Lord to reveal His heart to us and to direct our path through the month. One of the key things He has shown us this month is this - choose carefully who you will worship.
This is a month of choosing who you will worship. During this month on the Hebrew calendar, the Israelites constructed the Golden Calf at Mount Sinai. They tired of waiting on Moses and decided to establish a god created in their image. The decision to choose the wrong gods continually plagued the Israelites. It led to pain, warfare, captivity and exile. During this same month the walls of Jerusalem were breached (first by the Babylonians in 586 BC and again by the Romans in 70 AD).
"One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD
And to meditate in His temple." (Psalm 27:4)
It is a season of choices – who will you worship; who will you serve? The answer may seem simple but we are tempted continually to leave our devotion to the Lord. Guard your heart. The enemy will seek to breach your walls. You must remain vigilant and watchful in prayer.
But the Lord revealed something else to us. In our walk with Him, He gives us fresh weapons and strategies of war. He arms us to fight our ancient foe. Also during this month, the Lord stopped the sun in order for Joshua to gain victory (Joshua 10:1-15) and Israel carried out a successful rescue at Entebbe in Uganda in 1976.
As a prophetic symbol of this truth, my wife and I gave a gift to each member. It was an army knife. It can be used to carry out many functions just as the Lord presents us a multiple of strategies. For many of the members it was a new weapon - they had never owned one. Each of them were encouraged to embrace the Lord's desire to use them to fight off darkness with His light and presence. Choose the Lord. Seek Him alone. Allow Him to use you to infiltrate your culture.
P.S. On the following Tuesday I was visiting with our associate pastor who had just returned from ministry in China. She brought me a gift. She was unaware of the content of my Sunday message. She brought me a new weapon - a jade knife from China. The Lord is guiding us. Choose Him. Choose your weapon!