February 7, 2017. Exodus 25-27.
The next three chapters in our daily reading are instructions from God to Moses on how to build the Tabernacle and how to furnish it. There is very much detail in how God wanted this holy sanctuary to be built. God gave specific instructions from the type of wood to use to how detailed the decorations of the lamp stand.
But I want to draw our attention today, specifically to the first two verses:
“The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to bring me an offering. You must receive the offering for me from everyone whose hearts move them to give. (Exodus 25:1-2)
Two things jumped out at me as I read this passage: Moses was required to receive an offering, and it could only come from those who felt in the heart that they wanted to give.
It’s not like God could not have created His own sanctuary for the people in the desert. He had already displayed His magnificent power in delivering the people from Egypt. He had parted the Red Sea for them, provided food for them miraculously, and set His angel to lead them and protect them. Why did He need the people to build the sanctuary? The purpose of the sanctuary/tabernacle was for a place where God could dwell among them (Exodus 25:8) God is omnipresent, so more than a dwelling place for God, it was the place where the people could come to worship and meet with with their mighty Deliverer. Having the people build it gave them a kind of ownership in the structure. They would also be more committed to it’s purpose. Having a part in building it would compel them to want to take part in its finished purpose; to meet with God. Having a designated place to meet with God would also make it more of a centerpiece of their life as well. They would not be able to pass by that spot without remembering their purpose in building it.
The second phrase “…from everyone whose hearts move them to give” is equally important. God did not want this to be a forced tax upon the people. He wanted it to be a free will offering; something the people gave from their heart. This same idea is carried over in the New Testament where the Apostle Paul wrote, “ Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give. You shouldn’t give if you don’t want to. You shouldn’t give because you are forced to. God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) It pleases God when His children give out of a grateful heart. Our gifts and acts of kindness to others should be from a heart that is moved to do so. Giving should display what is in our hearts.
How are you joining with God in His work? Do you give from a willing heart?