The Elijah and Elisha Principles (Part 2)

May 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

# 1The Elijah principle – the principle of continual provision.

The principle is this: First give unto God (or the man that works for God), and then God will give unto you. (Now before you think I am about to ask for some donation or offering, I’m not!)

I personally believe that if you and I want our lives to be rooted and grounded on Biblical principles, we have to find the same principle in different places/books in the Bible. Meaning, the same principle must be found in more than three places/books in the Bible through either what God has said to, or done for his people. (Deut 19:15, Matt 18:16, 2 Cor 13:1). Anyone can take a Scripture verse on any topic and then construct some ideology from that verse. But sound doctrine is based on truths found in more than three different teachings, stories, and examples in the whole of the Bible.

Let’s look at some examples of the Elijah Principle from other places in the Bible.

Remember what Elijah told the widow, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son”.

The emphasis here is on the word first.

  • First means that before she could bake bread for herself and her son, she had to bake for the man of God.
  • FirstFor her to bake the bread for Elijah first, it was an act of obedience and of faith.
  • She did not know what was going to happen after she baked the bread for him first.
  • She had no idea the meal and oil could multiply – it was never done before!
  • First does not imply that she baked for herself and what was left over, she then use to bake a small, tiny loaf of bread for the prophet – that would be second or the leftover.

Now that you understand the meaning of first, we can look at places where God required the first-fruits of the harvest, or first-lings of the flock to be given to Him or the servants working for Him.

God’s commandment to Israel

The Lord spoke to Moses, “Tell the Israelites: When you come to the land I am going to give you and you harvest grain, bring the priest a bundle of the first grain you harvest. He will present it to the Lord so that you will be accepted. (Leviticus 23:9-11)

In this passage of Scripture the Israelites had to take the first  sheaf of their wheat harvest and bring it to the priests. The priest, who was the middleman between God and the people, took the sheaf of wheat and literally waved it in the air as if to say unto God, “here is this man’s firstfruit offering of his wheat harvest that he offers unto you, please accept it as a token of obedience, thanksgiving and faith”.

But not only were they to bring the first sheaf  of the wheat harvest unto God, but also of all other produce of the land. The purpose of the firstfruits brought by the people to the priests, was specifically spelled out by God to Aaron the high priest.

God’s commandment to Aaron

aaron 2The Lord said to Aaron…“I am also giving you the first of the produce they give the Lord: the best of all the olive oil and the best of the new wine and fresh grain. The first of all produce harvested in their land that they bring to the Lord is yours.” (Numbers 18:8-14)

Because the priests were not entitled to any piece of land, God gave the first-fruits of all the people to Aaron, the priests and Levites. The priests were not to work land, breed cattle or do any form of trading. They were God’s servants and representatives, looking after the spiritual well-being of the nation. Therefore, when the people brought of their first-fruits to God, as per commandment, Aaron and the priests were allowed to take it for themselves.

And as long as the people obeyed God’s commandment, God blessed them with good crops, healthy livestock and rain in due season (Deut 28:1-14). As long as they brought the firstfruits or firstlings (Numbers 18:15-18) of their crops or livestock, God kept His word and they prospered.

Cain and Abel

I’ve met many Christians who have been puzzled by the way God has dealt with Cain. God seemingly accepted Abel’s offering but for some unknown reason, or so it seems, God rejected the offering Cain brought to the Lord.

Cain-AbleAnd Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LordAnd she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. (Genesis 4:1-7)

There are two things in this passage that look like the Bible either contradicts itself, or is very vague of what God expected them to do or not to do.

  1. The Bible plainly states that God is not a respecter of persons (2 Sam 14:14, 2 Chron 9:7, Acts 10:34, Rom 2:11, Eph 6:9), while it clearly says in this passage… And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect, for no apparent reason.
  2. If one reads verse 7, it sounds like Cain did some sort of sin, or allowed sin to overpower him, but we do not find where God told him the reason why He did not accept his offering – this is where the facts are vague.

To understand both, we need to see where else in the Bible we find writings about Cain and Abel.

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. (Hebrews 11:4)

What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion. (Jude 1:11)

All the men and women of Hebrews 11 have one thing in common – they walked by faith. And in order to walk by faith, or do anything in faith, you first need a word (or commandment) from God.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17).

Abel’s offering was an act of faith whereby he came into right standing (righteousness) with God. To do an act of faith, God must have told them what He required of them when making an offering unto Him. Although we do not find the words of God, we do find Cain and Abel’s actions and therefore can read into it the commandment of God concerning their offering. Read the difference in the way Cain and Abel brought the offerings again:

  • And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
  • And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.

Cain only brought some of the fruit, while Abel brought of the firstlings… Can you see the difference?

From God’s point of view on firstfruitsofferings, there is a difference between of the fruit (and not the firstfruit), and of the firstling (and not just any lamb of his flock). God must have specifically told them that He required the first and not just some. Abel brought his firstling, which was an act of obedience and of faith. Cain did not bring any offering in faith (and obedience), because to bring any of the fruit and not the firstfruit, is not an act of faith. This is also the reason why God warned Cain in verse 7 not to let sin, which is contrary to faith, rule over him.

for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Rom 14:23)

If Cain would have brought the firstfruit as an offering to God, God would have accepted Cain’s offering as well because God is not a respecter of persons. The bringing of firstfruits and firstlings do not have its origin under the law of Moses, but hundreds of years prior to that.

In Part 3 we will look at…

  • Solomon’s wisdom
  • A prophet’s challenge
  • Jesus’ words
  • The Apostle Paul’s teachings

About Edgar Phillips
Husband, Dad, Ordained Minister and Missionary who loves God, Pastoral & Functional Therapist, Imago Professional Facilitator, EFT practitioner.

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