Exodus 35:4-29 Freewill!

A gift from the heart with NO compunction to give it. A gift of love and gratitude.

The time has come to build the Lord’s house; the Tabernacle. EVERYONE who wants to can contribute to this project.

Moses has already given the people the basics of God’s law. They have the Ten Commandments and every other word that the Lord shared with Moses on Mt. Sinai. There is much more that God will share with Moses and His people but first they need to show their dedication to Him.

God didn’t command ANYONE to bring their goods for His work. NEVER did He compel them to surrender their earthly treasures to Him. He left their contribution completely up to the individual and their heart.

What God did was plant a seed into the hearts of the people. God gave Moses the specifications for the tabernacle. I can imagine his heart was overflowing thinking about the fact that in building this he and the people could give back to the Lord. Then Moses shared that vision with the people.

Moses told the people about the curtains, the cherubim,  the lampstand, the mercy seat, the tapestries, the altars, the anointing oil, and even the coverings of the structure itself. ALL these things Moses shared with the people. And their excitement was OUTSTANDING!

The people WANTED to open their stores to the Lord. They dove deep in their possessions and came back up with the BEST that they had. Their hearts were moved and they gave of their own free will. Moses didn’t have to beg and plead with the people to surrender their treasures. They demonstrated what they truly treasured; the Lord. Their earthly treasures were nothing more than a way to show Him their gratitude.

In the gathering of supplies more than just the coffers of the people were opened. They also began to labor to create what was needed. Moses specifically identifies something that the women did; they spun the threads for the weavings. They spun the threads/yarns for the weaving. They spun the blue, purple and scarlet for the inner covering and even the goat hair for the second covering. This was to be their contribution to the tabernacle.

EVERY SKILLFUL CRAFTSMAN was called to contribute from their hearts and hands too. This task would take weavers, carpenters, metal smiths, jewelers and more. But only those who WANTED to participate. NO ONE was forced into service.

EVERYTHING THAT WAS GIVEN OR DONE WAS DONE OF THE PEOPLE’S FREEWILL. And BOY did they want to give! From the smallest to the greatest, the people opened their hearts and coffers to give to the One who had given so much to them. God’s tabernacle resonated with the people and Moses’ vision from the Lord caught fire in their hearts too.

I LOVE that Moses shared the details of God’s tabernacle with all the people and not just with the craftsmen. All the people knew the design God had given Moses. They probably had a better visual of it that I did from the description provided but they didn’t have a pictorial representation any more than us. But they had Moses around to flesh out the detail that we don’t have. They also had God’s Spirit to bring to life the design and form He wanted, but we will see that aspect tomorrow.

Something I was just thinking about as I was contemplating what the people offered to the Lord. When Aaron made the “golden calf” earlier, he demanded of the people their earrings. EVERY person was to give up this one item. When they were demonstrating their repentance to the Lord they removed ALL their ornaments. Now those “ornaments” were being repurposed. And they gave of these things not out of compulsion but out of gratitude. The calf gave them NOTHING in exchange for their “contributions” but the Lord had ALREADY EARNED all they were surrendering. He could have demanded their stored “ornaments” but He left the decision as to their “disposition” up to the individual.

God still leaves the decision up to each of us. He does not demand our heart or allegiance. He doesn’t force His will on anyone. He truthfully shows us the advantages of being on His side, then He leaves the decision in our hands. He KNOWS the best decision for us but He doesn’t impose His will on anyone.

Father God it is beautiful watching Israel “catch fire” with Your tabernacle project. I know You could have compelled everyone to contribute if You wanted to. You had done SO MUCH for them already. You had more than “earned” their contributions. But You don’t want forced “loyalty.” You want honest gratitude. You want real love. And I want to show You mine

No. My gratitude and expressions of love won’t be used to build your tabernacle but maybe they can be used to build Your kingdom instead. The “skill” I surrender to You is my writing. It is not the best in the world but it is what I have to give. Please take it and use it in Your Kingdom and for Your glory. I also want to give You my hands, heart, and voice. Let me be about Your work as I employ these members of my body. Let my words and song bring peace and remembrance of You. Let every task my hands perform speak of demonstrating Your love to others. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight” (Psalm 19:14). This is MY prayer Oh Lord! And add to that the actions of my hands and the direction of my feet. Let this be MY freewill offering!

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