Building the Tabernacle, Exodus 35-36
As someone noted in the comments from yesterday, God has said something
about the Sabbath every day for the past 5 days! He is clearly driving
home the point that the Sabbath regulations are for real! Isn't it
funny that we have to be mandated to stop working? Is working really
that awesome and resting that unpleasant? I am speaking to myself
louder than anyone when I say this, but we need to listen to God when
he reiterates something this strongly!
The most striking thing
about today's reading for me, was the willingness of the people to
give. When it came time to build the Tabernacle, the people supplied
the materials. On different occasions, the text speaks of "those whose
hearts were willing" and "every man and woman who was eager to help"
and "all whose spirits were moved". In fact, God's specific
instructions were to"let those with generous hearts present the
following gifts..." He does not mandate that every family within the
nation of Israel donate a certain percentage of their goods. Remember
that they are in possession of all of this finery because the Egyptians
gave it to them as they were leaving. Did you think that strange at the
time, that the Lord would have prompted the hearts of the Egyptians to
hand over their finest jewelry and clothing to the fleeing Israelites?
Well in hindsight, how else would the Israelite slaves have had any
gold or silver or fine cloth to use for the construction of the
Tabernacle??? Nothing is arbitrary. The things that make no sense to
us, make sense to God whether we ever get the benefit of understanding
it or not.
Back to the Israelites' cheerful giving... We do not
see God forcibly requiring the Israelites to provide for the Tabernacle
but rather we see him drawing the hearts of those who were willing.
This was not a tithe, the 10% given by each family for the care of the
Levites (priests who served the Lord in the Tabernacle and earned no
income), the funding of religious festivals, and the care of the poor.
This was a "love offering" and the people gave above and beyond what
was needed. Moses had to ask them to stop
bringing gifts for the Tabernacle! What a problem to have and what a
foreign concept for the modern-day church. I heard a message over the
holidays about giving, and remember it being said that if every
Christian tithed, not every person
just every Christian, we could end hunger and poverty and the social
evils that accompany them. Clearly, we are of a different mindset than
the Israelites. Just 3% of Americans give 10% of their income and less
than 6% of Christians are regular tithers. Christians spend more in a
year on dog food than they do in giving to their churches and Christian
ministries. And in these lean times, ministries are down-sizing and
even closing their doors due to lack of funding.
were pleased to take part in the work of the lord and the same is
expected of us today. We should contribute to the Lord's work gladly
and equip the church to minister to God's people as it should. Second
Corinthians 9:7 reads "each man should give what he has decided in his
heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a
cheerful giver". The tithe is no longer our benchmark, as it is an Old
Testament regulation. However, most theologians would agree that the
10% recommendation should be the minimum for today's Christian instead
of a mark that few even hit.
About Melissa Gibbs:
Melissa is the mother of four boys and the wife of her
junior high sweetheart, JD. He is the President of Joe Gibbs Racing and
the son of NFL Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs. JD and Melissa have been
married 16 years and are actively involved with Young Life, Motor Racing
Outreach, their church, and other ministries. Their youngest son Taylor
is nearing completion of a 3 year treatment protocol for leukemia, which has
been a powerful faith walk for their family. Since his diagnosis, Melissa
has been called upon to share their family's testimony with many local
Visit Melissa at http://chronologicalbiblein2010.blogspot.com/