A Call to Everyone
Loving Savior, at times life swarms over me, my dreams collapse, and my hope dries up. Bind me closer to You today.
Read Exodus 35:1-29
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“You don’t need to run yourself to death! Neither by uninterrupted work—nor by an uninterrupted pursuit of pleasure … nor by the fear you may miss something” (Ernst Lange).
No idol was to represent the Lord. He was to be embodied in the world by his covenant people, his presence among them symbolized by the tabernacle. Over seven chapters (25-31) God had given precise instructions as to how this was to be constructed and furnished. Starting with today’s reading, five chapters (35-39) describe the people’s enthusiastic response in carrying out these directives.
Their willingness is noted many times (e.g., vs. 5,10,21,22,26,29). Once we accept God’s invitation to enter into relationship with him, we cannot treat his instructions lightly. He has specific ways for us to live and obey, but he does not compel us, for then we would be slaves, not friends. We know from our own personal relationships that coerced obedience produces not love, but fear. So serving God is always at his invitation to join him in his work in the world. We do it not to earn favor but because we have received grace. We give out of what we have received.
This is why the Sabbath requirements are presented first (1-3). They are a sign of the renewal of the covenant on God’s part—to be with his forgiven people. Keeping the covenant is the people’s signature to the deal. After their previous waywardness and its punishment they were anxious to have God inhabit their community as he had promised. In fact, they were so anxious that the restatement of the Sabbath provisions is perhaps also to discourage them from working 24/7 at the task; and the prohibition on Sabbath household fires to stop them taking work home! For us, too, serving God wholeheartedly can morph into repeating the atonement, not accepting it. Sabbath rest reminds us that it is God who has done the work.
Think of your spiritual gifts and see where you can give cheerfully to the Lord’s work in the church and the world.
Father God, You have been generous to me and I want to display that generosity. Show me new ways and places where I can share for Your glory.
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