ALL WHO WERE WILLING
Great God, I rejoice in your Word today, so complex and yet so simple. I receive it gladly.
Read EXODUS 35:1–29
35 Moses assembled the whole Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things the Lord has commanded you to do: 2 For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it is to be put to death. 3 Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.”
Materials for the Tabernacle
4 Moses said to the whole Israelite community, “This is what the Lord has commanded: 5 From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver and bronze; 6 blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; 7 ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather[a]; acacia wood; 8 olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 9 and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.
10 “All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded: 11 the tabernacle with its tent and its covering, clasps, frames, crossbars, posts and bases; 12 the ark with its poles and the atonement cover and the curtain that shields it; 13 the table with its poles and all its articles and the bread of the Presence; 14 the lampstand that is for light with its accessories, lamps and oil for the light; 15 the altar of incense with its poles, the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; the curtain for the doorway at the entrance to the tabernacle; 16 the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles and all its utensils; the bronze basin with its stand; 17 the curtains of the courtyard with its posts and bases, and the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard; 18 the tent pegs for the tabernacle and for the courtyard, and their ropes; 19 the woven garments worn for ministering in the sanctuary—both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests.”
20 Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence, 21 and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. 22 All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the Lord. 23 Everyone who had blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen, or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or the other durable leather brought them. 24 Those presenting an offering of silver or bronze brought it as an offering to the Lord, and everyone who had acacia wood for any part of the work brought it. 25 Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun—blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen. 26 And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair. 27 The leaders brought onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. 28 They also brought spices and olive oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. 29 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 35:7 Possibly the hides of large aquatic mammals; also in verse 23
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.
What is the largest contribution you’ve ever made to your church or a ministry? What caused you to make the commitment and how did it make you feel?
Remember when we read through some of that extended list of commands God gave to the Israelites in chapters 25–31? (You might want to take a quick scan through them now.) What we have in chapters 35–40 is the account of how the Israelites implemented those commands. Looking at the second half of Exodus ‘from 30,000 feet’, the pattern we see is God giving instructions and the people learning to trust and obey. That’s a pattern we need to live out every day; there truly is no other way to be happy in Jesus.
The particular set of commands they are working on in this reading are those related to gathering resources necessary to build the tabernacle – in other words, Before we dismiss it as a topic for clergy or development professionals only, we need to reflect on the specifics of what happened. First, did you notice God gave the instructions on how to give and what to ask for (v 4)? Apparently, God doesn’t see fundraising as a necessary evil. Second, did you notice the link between generosity and unity? In verses 20–29, look at how many times the words ‘everyone’ and ‘all’ are used. It’s a powerful source of spiritual unity when everyone is giving to the Lord’s work (v 29).
The key to understanding this passage is the phrase, ‘Everyone who is willing’ (vs 5,21). God’s intent is that his people should be generous givers – that’s a well-established biblical principle1 but the way resources are gathered should not be coercive or manipulative, which is sometimes the case in modern fundraising. God’s instructions do not preclude asking, but they do have a higher goal than just getting the money. His desire is for glad and willing hearts, eager to do his That’s when even fundraising can become a source of spiritual unity.
When has your church been the most spiritually united? What caused it to happen? Pray for greater unity in your church.
Lord Jesus, you were rich yet you became poor for my sake. Thank you that through your poverty I have become rich in so many ways. I give gladly from an overflowing heart.
1 2 Cor 9:7
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