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Put God First (2 of 4)

Mike Connell

Page 5 of 10
Jesus never had His life taken from Him - He gave His life. There's no duty, or taking - right through the Bible - when it comes around this area of this first portion to God. It's always an issue of Faith, of trusting that God's principles will work.

You see it from one end to the other. Even in the Garden of Eden, God gave them plenty, but He said: there's one that belongs to Me; you can't touch that one - touch that one and you die.

The first is always something God says ‘belongs to Him’. I don't have to give Him everything to prove that He's Lord of my life. What I need to do is, to show He's my Lord, by actually taking the first portion and giving it to Him.

He may ask me to give at various times, and He has done in all kinds of ways; but if the first is in His hands, then the rest is blessed. The big deal is to put the first in His hands.

You're all very happy today, everyone happy? There's something, a pressure comes around, every time we try and talk about this area.

Have a look in Leviticus 27:30 – “All the tithe of the land (all, all the tithe of the land), whether the seed of the land or the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's. It's holy to the Lord”. God is saying to people that He's provided for abundantly, He's given them all this wealth; and He's saying: the first portion or the tithe belongs to Me. It belongs to God.

Now here's an interesting thing. If my finance resources and life is under God, then I show it by giving the tenth. When I give Him the tenth, the rest is under the blessing. If I withhold the tenth, I'm withholding what belongs to God.

I used to think, when I started off giving a tithe, and started to give and tithe, I thought I was doing a big deal. It was a huge deal, because I was under a spirit of bondage.

After I gave for a while, I realised: actually, this is no big deal at all. I can't out-give God. How can I possibly show Him that I really honour Him, and love Him, and value Him? Well this is the way, I just give Him a portion of what I have, and we have done that faithfully since we first heard about this.

Notice that the first portion determines the rest. Have a look at this in Romans 11:16 - the first, the nature of the first portion, determines the rest. “If the first is holy, then the lump is holy. If the root is holy, so are all the branches”.

Notice what its saying: “If the first fruit is holy, then the root is holy”, or the rest of it is holy. Now we just saw that God has spoken to His people. He said: “Out of all the tithe, of all the trees (agricultural land)...”

He said of the tithe: the tithe belongs to the Lord, and it's holy. I'm going to show you something. Your money can be holy or cursed; and it all depends on the place you give God in your money - simple.

Notice He said: the tithe is ‘holy to the Lord’. In other words, it is sanctified. We were singing that this morning, holy to the Lord. So the tithe is holy to the Lord; and the Bible says: if the first fruit is holy, all the rest is holy, all the rest is blessed. So the principle is always the same. When you give your first to the Lord, the rest is always blessed. The blessing of God comes upon it, so let's have a look at a couple of things related to it.

So the first portion determines the nature of the rest. In Joshua 6, they went in to take the Promised Land; and we, as believers, would think of the Promised Land as being: the promises of God, the blessings of God.

The Promised Land was a land of promise. It was a land that came by promise, not by working hard, but they had their part in it. Notice what God says, when they go in there, and the first city they come to is Jericho.

When they come to Jericho, God said an interesting thing about Jericho. Joshua 6:18 – “By all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse and trouble it. All the silver, gold and bronze, vessels of bronze and iron are consecrated to the Lord, or devoted to the Lord. They will come into the treasury of the Lord.”