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In the book of Leviticus, God provides Moses with laws and ordinances to guide the Israelites in living a holy and righteous life. One of these laws pertains to the treatment of fruit trees and their produce.

Leviticus 19:23-25: “When you come into the land and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as forbidden. For three years it shall be forbidden to you. It shall not be eaten. But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, for giving praise to Yahweh. In the fifth year you shall eat its fruit, that it may yield its increase to you. I am Yahweh your God.”

According to this passage, the fruits of the first three years of a tree are considered “uncircumcised” or forbidden, and the Israelites were not to eat them. In the fourth year, all of the fruit was to be dedicated to the Lord in joyous celebration, a form of offering and praise. This offering was consumed in the temple by the priests and the tree owner. From the fifth year onward, the owner could freely eat or sell the fruit for profit.

Interpretation and Significance

This law highlights several important principles:

1. Acknowledgment of God’s Sovereignty

By dedicating the fruits of the fourth year to God, the Israelites acknowledged that everything they possessed ultimately belonged to Him. The act of offering the first fruits was a recognition that God is the source of all blessings and provisions.

2. Stewardship and Patience

The command to wait until the fifth year to enjoy the full benefits of the tree’s fruit teaches patience and proper stewardship. The Israelites were to care for the trees without immediate gratification, trusting that their labor and obedience would be rewarded in due time.

3. Joyous Celebration and Thanksgiving

The fourth year’s fruit being dedicated in a joyous celebration emphasizes the importance of thanksgiving and joy in worship. It was not merely a ritualistic offering but an occasion to celebrate God’s goodness and faithfulness.

4. Support for Religious Institutions

By offering the fruits at the temple, the law also ensured support for the religious leaders and the functioning of the temple, promoting a communal responsibility towards maintaining the worship and service of God.

5. Blessing and Increase

God promises that following this command would result in increased yield: “that it may yield its increase to you.” This reinforces the principle that obedience to God brings blessing and prosperity.


As Christians, we can draw several lessons from this practice:

1. Recognition of God’s Ownership

We must remember that everything we have is given to us by God. Our time, talents, and resources are entrusted to us by Him, and we are called to use them in ways that honor and glorify Him.

2. Faithful Stewardship

God calls us to be faithful stewards of what He has given us. This includes being patient and diligent in our work, knowing that God rewards faithfulness and integrity.

3. Joyful Giving

Giving should be an act of joy and gratitude. Whether it’s our time, talents, or resources, offering them to God should be done with a thankful heart, celebrating His goodness and provision.

4. Supporting the Church and Community

We have a responsibility to support the church and the less fortunate in our communities. This aligns with the principle of using our resources to promote God’s work and care for others.

5. Trust in God’s Blessings

God promises that He will bless those who honor Him with their first fruits. Trusting in His provision and timing, we can be assured that He will meet our needs and reward our faithfulness.

In conclusion, let us acknowledge all the great favors God has done for us by supporting the church and the less fortunate in the community. As we dedicate our resources to God, let us do so with a joyous and thankful heart, trusting in His promise of blessing and increase.

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