DON’T BE A GRUMPY GIVER
Living God, help me to focus on You now, to clarify my commitments throughout this day.
Read Exodus 25:1–22
Offerings for the Tabernacle
25 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give. 3 These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; 4 blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; 5 ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather[a]; acacia wood; 6 olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 7 and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.
8 “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. 9 Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.
10 “Have them make an ark[b] of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high.[c] 11 Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it. 12 Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other. 13 Then make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14 Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry it. 15 The poles are to remain in the rings of this ark; they are not to be removed. 16 Then put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law, which I will give you.
17 “Make an atonement cover of pure gold—two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. 18 And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. 19 Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. 20 The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. 21 Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law that I will give you. 22 There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever’ (Psalm 23:6). Give thanks to God for instances of his ‘goodness and love’ following you.
So we come to the final section of Exodus. It is taken up with the building of a portable worship center – the tabernacle, built to host God’s presence among his people (vs 8,22).
The tabernacle will be built by the offerings of the Israelites. It is unclear where they were to obtain such lavish items (vs 3–7), but perhaps these were among the items they plundered from Egypt (12:36). If that is so, then they would have been the first ‘luxury items’ the former slaves had owned. And now God wanted them! Giving our best can sometimes seem costly, but perhaps it is helpful to remember that what is ‘ours’ is only borrowed and rightly belongs to God anyway.
There is, however, no compulsion in Christian giving (v 2). Like the Israelites, we give because our hearts are moved with gratitude for all of God’s goodness (2 Corinthians 9:7). The antidote to being tight-fisted, or a grudging giver, is to reflect on all that we have freely received, so that we may freely give (Matthew 10:8).
Pray for a grateful heart that is tuned to generosity, and which is liberated from the desire to possess and hoard.
Generous God, teach me to give from love; love for You, love for others, and a proper love for myself. May my love be accompanied with gratitude and joy in giving.