The Call to Build the Tabernacle

25:1-2, 8-9 and 35:4, 20-21

    DIG: Why do these people give what they have? Are such gifts given impulsively, or would they have to go to some lengths to prepare them? What need has the LORD for such riches? Will their offerings secure God’s relationship? How so?

    REFLECT: What is the motivation for your giving? Does God need your money? Then what is the purpose of giving? What joy do you get from giving to someone you love?

    While Moses was still on Mount Sinai, ADONAI gave him the directions concerning the construction of the Tabernacle. Seven times Moses was told to make it after the pattern that was shown to him on the mountain (Exodus 25:9, 25, 40, 26:30, 27:8; Numbers 8:4; Acts 7:44; Hebrews 8:5). The first thing Moses was to do was to ask the people for a voluntary contribution to construct the Tabernacle. ADONAI said to Moses, His servant: Tell the Israelites to bring Me a free will offering. The Hebrew term for a free will offering is used of an amount taken from a larger quantity for a sacred purpose: it can include sacrifice (29:27), money (30:13) or produce (Numbers 15:19).489

    You are to receive the offering for Me from each man whose heart prompts him to give (25:1-2; 35:4). This section was addressed to Moses while he was on the summit of the mountain. God has no use for an unwilling gift. He allows us to participate with Him in His ministry, but the outcome doesn’t depend on us. His desires will be accomplished, with or without us. We merely have an opportunity to invest in His Kingdom.490

    Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence, and everyone who was willing and whose heart was moved came and brought an offering to ADONAI for the work on the Tabernacle, for all its service, and for the sacred garments (35:20-21). The ones whose hearts were moved acted immediately.

    The Tabernacle was to be built so that the LORD could dwell in the midst of the people. Then have them make a Tabernacle, literally a place of holiness, for Me, and I will dwell among them (25:8). The Hebrew word for dwell here is Shechinah, because it emphasizes God’s visible dwelling among mankind. God never said that He was going to live in the Tabernacle in the sense that He was restricted to a geographical spot. He did say, however, that He would dwell between the cherubim (First Samuel 4:4; Second Samuel 6:2; Second Kings 19:15 and Isaiah 37:16).

    Make this Tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you (25:9). As we go through this study of the Tabernacle, we should be sensitive to the amazing detail that ADONAI provides. When Moses was up on Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights, he evidently got a complete briefing on how to build His dwelling place. The book of Hebrews tells us that the earthly Tabernacle was patterned after the heavenly Tabernacle.

    How interesting that God made giving to the Tabernacle a voluntary gesture. He does not demand, or command, how much a person is to give, or even that a person must give. He leaves it to the heart of the individual person. There is a story of a woman who unexpectedly received a large inheritance. She immediately gave a tenth of it to her church. Later, after her death, an entry was found in her diary for the day that she received her inheritance. She wrote, “Act quickly, before my heart gets hard!” She acted immediately like the Israelites of old. May the Holy Spirit work upon our hearts so that we may give abundantly to the LORD's work. May He make our hearts of stone, soft for Him!491


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