November 6, 2013
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
This blog goes along with the last five in the series, Trusting God. That series had to do with how we handle what Jesus called in Matthew 6:24, “mammon”. What is “mammon”? Basically, it is money and the things money can buy – as far as material goods are concerned. We looked at God’s promises of provision and special blessing when we give back to Him a portion of what He has so richly given to us. Exodus 35:5 lends added light to our giving: “Take from among you an offering to the LORD. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to the LORD….”
What was the project about which the call to give went out through all the Israelite camp? God had given instructions to build the tabernacle, the tent of meeting where He would dwell among His people. To properly study the tabernacle – its construction, use and prophetic meaning as it pointed toward Jesus Christ – it would take many, many blogs, too many for a project right now. Maybe someday….
Let me say, though, that the tabernacle – God told Moses – was to be constructed “…according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” (Exodus 25:40). The Lord designed it! This dwelling place of God was to be beautiful – especially on the inside; durable – it was in use until Solomon’s temple was built 500 years later; portable – it was moved from place to place as the Israelites journeyed; and a witness to the presence and the power of God. Where were the Jews to get all the material for such a glorious place where the God of the universe would dwell?
Remember, when the Israelites left Egypt, the Lord instructed them in Exodus 3:22:
…every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely of those who dwell near her
house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them
on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.
They marched out with the wealth of Egypt – payment for 400 years of slavery! But God had a purpose for a goodly portion of that wealth – the tabernacle!
“Take from among you an offering to the LORD.” God does not ask you for something that you don’t have. You usually have it – or shortly will – if God asks you to give! And if you will not give it upon God’s request – but hang on to whatever it is for your own use – then you don’t own it – it owns you!
This giving does not just apply to material things. It also has to do with talents and time. When the need arose in Acts 6 for leadership in the ministry of the new Church concerning distribution of food to the needy widows, the apostles told the church members, “Seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.” They already had the resources among them! They just needed to step up and give what they already possessed!
What, specifically was needed to build the tabernacle? Exodus 35:5 through 10 tells us:
…gold, and silver, and bronze; blue and purple and scarlet yarn, fine linen
thread, and goats’ hair, rams’ skins dyed red, and badger skins, and acacia
wood; oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet
incense; onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate.
All who are skillful among you shall come and make all that the LORD has
Here, again, not just things, but also talent and time! The record in Exodus shows that the Israelites obeyed, the job was completed, and the Lord God was pleased!
But there is one more thing I want to point out here. When the call went out to give what was needed to build the tabernacle, the people readily responded. As a matter of face – and as recorded in Exodus 36:5 though 7 – the men involved in the actual work of building the tabernacle came to Moses with this request:
“The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which
the LORD commanded to do.” So Moses gave a commandment, and they
caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, “Let neither man
nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.” And the
people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient
for all the work to be done – indeed too much.
Wow! “The people are giving too much! Tell them to stop!” Can you imagine how God’s work would prosper if this was the case today?
Take From Among You… from that with which God has already blessed you! God’s work will go forward and prosper in this old world!