(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Moses came down from Mount Sinai the second time, according to Exodus 34:29 through 35, bearing the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments written by the finger of God! Yes, this was the second time! The first time, recorded in 32:1 through 29, the Israelites had sinned by fashioning and worshiping a golden calf! Moses, in anger, broke the first set of stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments at the foot of the mountain!
This second time, he came bearing not only the Ten Commandments, but also directions from the LORD as to the construction of the holy tabernacle and its accoutrements, and how to properly worship God. The directions started with the gathering of the needed materials. Here is Exodus 35:4 through 9:
....And Moses spoke to all the congregation of Israel, saying: “This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying, ‘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: gold, silver, and bronze; blue and purple and scarlet yarn, fine linen thread, and goats hair; ram’s skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood; oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for sweet incense; onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breast- plate.’”
We can learn a lot about giving from these six verses!
Exodus 35:4 – “This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying….” The instructions came from the LORD! So also, our instructions concerning giving must come from the Word of God!
- In the Old Testament the tithe, which is the tenth (see Leviticus 27:32), was commanded by God to be given! Offerings were often given beyond that minimum tithe.
- In the New Testament, while the tithe is not put forth as a law that Christains must obey, ten percent of our income offered to God is a good place to start with our giving!
- I also know you cannot out-give the LORD!
✞ Luke 6:38: Give and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your lap, for with the same measure that you use, it will be measured to you again. ✞ II Corinthians 9:6 – “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also read sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” ✞ Someone once said, “I shovel out, and God shovels in. But God uses the bigger shovel!”
- I can testify of the LORD’s faithfulness of provision. Upon marriage to my bride Hope, she exacted four promises from me:
✞ “Will you go to church with me?” ✞ “Will you pray with me?” ✞ “Will you read the Bible with me?” ✞ “Will you tithe with me?”
I said yes to all four requests, and we have been doing these things for over 53 years! God has never let us down! He has always supplied our needs, not always our wants, but we have never gone hungry, never lacked shelter, clothes, or other necessities of life! He has blessed us abundantly in many ways – sometimes by miracles!
But let’s get back to examining those six verses in Exodus 35…
Exodus 35:5 – “Take from among you an offering to the LORD….”
- Our giving is always to the LORD, no matter where we might give…
✞ ...to our church, to missions, to relieve hunger or disease – wherever He directs us to give. ✞ This last point is important! We are to give where He directs! This particular offering in Exodus chapter 35 was for the building of the tabernacle and the establishment of Israel’s worship of Jehovah.
- The offering was to be taken “…from among you…”! God asks only what…
✞ ...we already have! Or... ✞ ...what He will provide for us to give! This requires faith to believe He will give us what He asks us to give to Him!
- In this Scriptural instance, the Israelites had all that the LORD required of them! They got it as payment for their many years of slavery to the Egyptians!
✡ Exodus 3:21 and 22 – When God called Moses at the burning bush, He told him... “...I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go emptyhanded. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells 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.” ✡ Exodus 12:35 and 36: Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.
Exodus 35:5 – “Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to the LORD….”
This is vital to giving!
- Any gift given must come from a willing heart!
✡ Exodus 25:2 – God told Moses, “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an of- fering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.” ✞ II Corinthians 9:7 – “...let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
- We must never be like that tightwad who every week sang in his mind his own rendition of the last verse of the hymn, Blest Be The Tie That Binds…..after he dropped a nickel in the offering plate: “When we asunder part, it gives me inward pain…”!
Exodus 35:5 through 9:
...gold, silver, and bronze; blue and purple and scarlet yarn, fine linen thread, and goats hair; ram’s skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood; oil for the light, and spices for the a- nointing oil and for sweet incense; onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate.
- God knows exactly what is needed in each specific situation, whether it be
✞ ...a local individual need! ✞ ...what a mission or missionary needs half a world away!
- And sometimes He lays upon the heart of the giver the exact amount of the specific item of the need!
So give as God directs!
And give from a willing heart!