Exodus 35:4- 29
Monday, 15 February 2021
“All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do.” -Exodus 35:29
Many Christians believe that the Old Testament concept of giving differs from the New Testament—this is only partially true. While there are distinctions between the old dispensation and the new, there is also continuity. In today’s reading of the account of the generous, free-will offerings of the Israelites, a few characteristics of the contributions to the tabernacle can be looked into.
V.21 says: “Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting….” Thus the giving was:
Voluntary: After Moses gave God’s instructions and explained the opportunity each had to make in the contribution, they went away and had time to themselves to decide apart from outside pressure, to determine what they could/should contribute. This ensured that the gifts were of a free will, and not obtained under some kind of emotional or psychological pressure.
Joyful: God instructed Moses to collect an offering from “whoever is of a willing heart”- hence those who gave, gladly gave their gifts for the building of the tabernacle.
Abundant: The enthusiasm of the Israelites is seen by their bringing in an abundance of gifts- the gifts were more than enough and Moses gave orders to the people to stop giving (Exo.36:6). The giving exceeded the need!
Proportionate: Each gave in proportion to what he/she could give. They brought what they had and could contribute towards the work of the tabernacle.
Both material goods & craftsmanship: The building of the tabernacle needed both goods and services. Some gave of their goods, while many others contributed their skilled abilities, to create a place of great beauty and worth.
Giving an offering acknowledges God’s blessings in our lives; it represents our commitment to the Lord and His work and is a part of our worship; it opens the windows of heaven so God can bless us even further. More than that, we need to offer ourselves to God and put our whole self in. Our giving becomes genuine when we give ourselves and our lives to the Lord totally. Paul’s strong argument for giving ourselves to the Lord, is God’s mercies: “I urge you,” Paul said, “by the mercies of God . . . to present your bodies” (Rom. 12:1). When we recognize what God has done for us through His Son Jesus Christ, the only response is to give ourselves completely to Him.
An aged pastor of a little Scottish church was asked to resign because there had been no conversions in the church for an entire year.
“Aye,” said the old preacher, “it has been a lean year, but there was one.”
“One conversion?” asked an elder, “Who was it?”
“Wee Bobbie,” replied the pastor.
They had forgotten a lad who had not only been saved but had given himself in full consecration to God. It was “Wee Bobbie” who, in a missionary meeting when the plate was passed for an offering, asked the usher to put the plate on the floor. He then stepped into it with his bare feet, saying, “I’ll give myself—I have nothing else to give.” Wee Bobbie became the world-renowned Robert Moffatt who, with David Livingstone, gave his life to healing the open sores of the continent of Africa. (Story Adapted)
Think on it: “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” -Unknown-