"Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops.." (Proverbs 3:9).
Among the Hebrews, just like most of Africa, being first born came with special recognition and rights. As Isaac was about to pass on he decided to pass on a special blessing to his first born, the twin Esau.
But for some reason his mother Rebekkah tricked him out of it, and the blessing went to Jacob. Esau was infuriated upon discovery and vowed vengeance. Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob" (Genesis 27:41).
When Jacob had grown old and was about to pass on he decided to pass on a special blessing to the household of his son Joseph. The father brought his two sons Mannessah and Ephraim. Joseph lined them up expecting the first born, Mannesah, to be blessed first. However, when "Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. Joseph said to him, “No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head " (Gen 47: 17-18).
Perhaps Joseph was only mindful of Moses's earlier instruction to the Israelites, “You shall not delay to offer from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me" (Exodus 22: 39). In fact this instruction not only stopped with first borns, but went further for all things of value, like harvest. "The best of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God" (Exodus 23:19).
Today, unlike in the past we may no longer seek to curve out a special blessing for first borns preferring to treat all our children equally. However, the idea that the first of our harvest should be given to the Lord is one way to honour Him. We draw inspiration from Nehemiah who after he had rebuilt the wall, all the people gathered and celebrated with a promise, "We obligate ourselves to bring the first fruits of our ground and the first fruits of all fruit of every tree, year by year, to the house of the Lord" (Nehemiah 10:35).
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, for all the blessings upon my life, help me always to honour you with the first fruits, to be blessed even more, this I pray in Jesus' name.