Message 11: The Gift is in your Midst
Exodus 35:1–36:7 (CSB)
THE SABBATH COMMAND
35 Moses assembled the entire Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things that the Lord has commanded you to do: 2 For six days work is to be done, but on the seventh day you are to have a holy day, a Sabbath of complete rest to the Lord. Anyone who does work on it must be executed. 3 Do not light a fire in any of your homes on the Sabbath day.”
BUILDING THE TABERNACLE
4 Then Moses said to the entire Israelite community, “This is what the Lord has commanded: 5 Take up an offering among you for the Lord. Let everyone whose heart is willing bring this as the Lord’s offering: gold, silver, and bronze; 6 blue, purple, and scarlet yarn; fine linen and goat hair; 7 ram skins dyed red and fine leather; acacia wood; 8 oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 9 and onyx with gemstones to mount on the ephod and breastpiece.
10 “Let all the skilled artisans among you come and make everything that the Lord has commanded: 11 the tabernacle—its tent and covering, its clasps and supports, its crossbars, its pillars and bases; 12 the ark with its poles, the mercy seat, and the curtain for the screen; 13 the table with its poles, all its utensils, and the Bread of the Presence; 14 the lampstand for light with its utensils and lamps as well as the oil for the light; 15 the altar of incense with its poles; the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; the entryway screen for the entrance to the tabernacle; 16 the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grate, its poles, and all its utensils; the basin with its stand; 17 the hangings of the courtyard, its posts and bases, and the screen for the gate of the courtyard; 18 the tent pegs for the tabernacle and the tent pegs for the courtyard, along with their ropes; 19 and the specially woven garments for ministering in the sanctuary—the holy garments for the priest Aaron and the garments for his sons to serve as priests.”
20 Then the entire Israelite community left Moses’s presence. 21 Everyone whose heart was moved and whose spirit prompted him came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its services, and for the holy garments. 22 Both men and women came; all who had willing hearts brought brooches, earrings, rings, necklaces, and all kinds of gold jewelry—everyone who presented a presentation offering of gold to the Lord. 23 Everyone who possessed blue, purple, or scarlet yarn, fine linen or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or fine leather, brought them. 24 Everyone making an offering of silver or bronze brought it as a contribution to the Lord. Everyone who possessed acacia wood useful for any task in the work brought it. 25 Every skilled woman spun yarn with her hands and brought it: blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and fine linen. 26 And all the women whose hearts were moved spun the goat hair by virtue of their skill. 27 The leaders brought onyx and gemstones to mount on the ephod and breastpiece, 28 as well as the spice and oil for the light, for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant incense. 29 So the Israelites brought a freewill offering to the Lord, all the men and women whose hearts prompted them to bring something for all the work that the Lord, through Moses, had commanded to be done.
BEZALEL AND OHOLIAB
30 Moses then said to the Israelites, “Look, the Lord has appointed by name Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 31 He has filled him with God’s Spirit, with wisdom, understanding, and ability in every kind of craft 32 to design artistic works in gold, silver, and bronze, 33 to cut gemstones for mounting, and to carve wood for work in every kind of artistic craft. 34 He has also given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all the work of a gem cutter; a designer; an embroiderer in blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine linen; and a weaver. They can do every kind of craft and design artistic designs. 36 Bezalel, Oholiab, and all the skilled people are to work based on everything the Lord has commanded. The Lord has given them wisdom and understanding to know how to do all the work of constructing the sanctuary.”
2 So Moses summoned Bezalel, Oholiab, and every skilled person in whose heart the Lord had placed wisdom, all whose hearts moved them, to come to the work and do it. 3 They took from Moses’s presence all the contributions that the Israelites had brought for the task of making the sanctuary. Meanwhile, the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning.
4 Then all the artisans who were doing all the work for the sanctuary came one by one from the work they were doing 5 and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than is needed for the construction of the work the Lord commanded to be done.”
6 After Moses gave an order, they sent a proclamation throughout the camp: “Let no man or woman make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” So the people stopped. 7 The materials were sufficient for them to do all the work. There was more than enough.
1. Introduction to the Text:
- When God gives you a Word, you have to determine if it is a “now” word or a “later” word.
- Moses knew that this was a Word from God that needed immediate attention.
- Numbers 9 tells us it was 1 year from the departure from Egypt till the time the Tabernacle was set up.
- One year, and a large bulk of that time was devoted to following through with the Word that God had given them.
- One of the harder parts of following Jesus is knowing when a “Word” is for now and when it is for later.
- We want to be obedient, but we often get the timing wrong.
- It reminds me a lot of marriage.
- You have the right intentions, but the wrong timing.
- For example, I forgot Julie wore a veil at our wedding.
- I would have been forgiven if I said that when I was 96 but I said it when I was 36 so I got in trouble.
- Now that Moses has the Word from God, it is time to build what God has said.
- Moses communicates this word to the people.
- Because if he held it to himself, nothing would have been built.
- Good leaders communicate what God is saying and show where He is leading.
- This applies for church leaders and those leading businesses and families.
- How can your family obey if they haven’t been told?
2. The Tabernacle and its furnishings were complex and intricate.
- What was being built was for God.
- Everything about it pointed people toward God.
- In fact, the Book of Hebrews says that the earthly Tabernacle was a replica of the one in heaven.
- I always cringe when people say that God doesn’t care how we worship.
- Reading through these passages demonstrate that God cares greatly about how He is worshipped.
- The ministry done before the Lord matters and should be given the best of our time, attention, and energy.
- I have a high view of Church.
- In fact, outside of the family, the Church is the most important institution God has created.
- One of the great temptations today is the belief that we can be “the body of Christ” without actually being part of the body of Christ.
- Jesus stressed that “where two or three are gathered together”, not just wherever I decide to read my Bible.
- b. “I” am not the Church: “we” are the Church, with each one of us having a role to play.
- God gave the Tabernacle plans to Moses for Israel to build.
- The building of the Tabernacle was a national and community effort.
- Moses received the plan, the artisans did the work, and the people brought the supplies.
- Within this passage, 4 key principles show how God works in and through all of us to accomplish His task.
3. Take inventory, what we need may already be in the house.
- Some of us have boxes of stuff in the house from the last time you moved.
- But we don’t want to throw anything way, because:
- I might need that someday.
- I’ll be honest, I having to rebuy things that I use to own and then got rid of.
- In the case of Israel, they had been carrying with them the makings of the Tabernacle with them for since they left Egypt.
- When Israel left Egypt, the Egyptians paid them to leave and brought all kinds of jewelry and valuables.
- Scripture says, “In this way, they plundered the Egyptians.”
- Catch this:
- God had a purpose and plan for what they had been given.
- When the Israelites left, they had no idea that they were carrying with them the seeds of something holy.
- They have already messed this up once, when they gave jewelry to make a golden calf.
- Now they have an opportunity to repent and do it right.
- Consider this: Have you ever been learning something or doing something and think “when will I ever use or need this?”
- What you may not realize is that what you are picking up today may be the seeds of something that is holy tomorrow.
- The giftings, talents, skills, and lessons you are learning today can be used for God’s glory tomorrow.
- What seems normal, or even what seems to be “extra” may be exactly what God wants from you down the road.
- Also consider: everything needed to complete the Tabernacle was already in the people’s possession.
- This one excites me, particularly because of where we are at as a church.
- When I look around at the talent and abilities within this body, I can’t help but think “What is God up to?”
- God doesn’t give to us to hoard.
- He gives so we can be generous and faithful.
- Jesus tells the parable of the Rich Fool in Luke:
Luke 12:16–21 (CSB)
16 Then he told them a parable: “A rich man’s land was very productive. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What should I do, since I don’t have anywhere to store my crops? 18 I will do this,’ he said. ‘I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones and store all my grain and my goods there. 19 Then I’ll say to myself, “You have many goods stored up for many years. Take it easy; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.” ’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you. And the things you have prepared—whose will they be?’
21 “That’s how it is with the one who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
- The man’s sin was not that he made plans or built infrastructure.
- His sin was his unwillingness to share and to be generous.
- Gifting are meant to be used.
- The only thing lacking in the Body of Christ is our willingness.
- A friend told me the other day, “When the iron in your blood becomes lead in your pants, we have a problem.”
- What is lacking in Christ’s Body is not His gifting but our willingness to get up and go.
- Because, I believe, that what we need to move forward is already in the house.
4. God calls some to excel in giving, some in working, and some in both.
- It is helpful to recognize that not everyone in Israel was called to build or to craft for the tabernacle.
- Some people were simply called to give.
- We don’t see that the craftsman gave materially, but they gave of their professional skills.
- Everyone had a part in establishing the tabernacle.
- Ministry is cyclical, meaning that there are seasons where it is our turn to lead and other seasons where it is our turn to serve and give.
- Actually, this cyclical nature was woven directly into the ministry of the Tabernacle.
- I find it interesting that in Numbers we are told that Levite the men serving at the Tabernacle could only serve from the ages of 25-50.
- Then another generation had to take over while the older generation stepped back.
- Partly, this ensured that the next generation was always participating in the worship of God.
- It also meant that the Levites gave the best of their time and their energy to worship of God at the Tabernacle.
- My question for each of us today is: What is God calling you to do in this season?
- Please don’t confine that question to only this building and this place.
- The Kingdom is bigger than this facility and this church.
- Instead: how are you serving and advancing the Kingdom where God has placed you?
5. Small but consistent giving adds up over time.
22 Both men and women came; all who had willing hearts brought brooches, earrings, rings, necklaces, and all kinds of gold jewelry—everyone who presented a presentation offering of gold to the Lord.
- It is possible that there were some really big givers.
- But if so, they are completely overshadowed by ordinary people who were giving ordinary gifts.
- I don’t know how big a brooch is, but earrings, rings and necklaces are relatively small.
- The power in the gifts wasn’t their size.
- Never discount the value of small offerings, over time.
- Maybe you don’t make the most money.
- Maybe you are not the most talented.
- Maybe what you have seems small and inconsequential.
- But small and seemingly inconsequential gifts add up over time.
- When we add our gift to God’s blessing, He can do whatever He wants.
- I want to encourage you not to hold back, simply because you don’t think you bring much to the table.
- It’s possible that exactly what you have is exactly what is needed.
- Think about those who brought acacia wood:
- I imagine that as people brought this wood, that the craftsman looked at the grain and each piece and fitted them exactly where they would look and fit best.
- It could be that what you bring is exactly the piece the craftsman needed to finish the project.
- Or the women who brought the yarn and thread.
- In the hands of the craftsman, these pieces and lengths were woven together.
- What if all you had was a small selection, but that piece was what was used to make the hem of Aaron’s robe?
- All of these elements came from somewhere.
- They had all been carried out of Egypt.
- They had all been entrusted by God, to the people, until the appropriate time.
- And when that time came, what was needed was for the people to give generously.
6. Our hearts make the difference.
- When you are a slave, you aren’t use to being able to give but you are used to be taken from.
- Part of the transformation in the life of Israel was changing from the slave mentality to the priest mentality.
- People take from Slaves.
- But priests give.
- I caution you, and I, to not view our tithes or offerings as a tax.
- It is not a tax, required for us to enter heaven.
- Tithes and offerings are not the price of membership, like getting a Sam Club or Costco membership.
- Giving is worship.
- I am not a slave, so that I HAVE to give so that it isn’t taken.
- Tithes and offerings are not a tax, with the Federal government threatening my livelihood or jailtime if I don’t pay.
- Giving is worship.
- And the difference between a believer giving a tax to God or worship to God is the willingness of our hearts.
- Strangely, when Peter and Jesus were required to pay the Temple tax, Jesus didn’t give it from His heart but provided a miracle from the mouth of a fish to pay it.
- Taxes can be paid from anywhere.
- Tithes and generous offerings come from the heart.
- In this passage, we are not told who the greatest and biggest givers were.
- We are simply reminded that the people all brought and there was more than enough.
- Here’s the good news: There was more than enough for the work to be accomplished and that means that there was more than enough for the people.
- I don’t see where they had to “give until it hurts”.
- After they gave, they kept giving.
- They gave until the craftsman asked them to stop!
- If you give what God has put upon your heart, there will be enough for the work to be done and you keep the rest.
Two Questions: What is God asking you to give, and where is He asking you to give to?
- Giving is not limited to money.
- Money may be the easiest thing to give.
- Our time is more valuable than our money.
- What has God given you to hold onto, and now is asking you to give it?
- It might be money.
- It also might be some talent and time.
- It could be your testimony and story.
- God gives us gifts to steward and to hold in trust.
- Second, where is God asking you to give yourself?
- I love this church.
- We have amazing ministries.
- And we are constantly in need of help with kids, or janitorial, and various other ways to serve.
- But this isn’t the only place to serve.
- In fact, the Lord is dealing with me to work towards developing leadership gifting and skills in the body so that the body can go and influence our community and world.
- In other words, we aren’t here to only build Licking A/G, we are here to build the Kingdom.
- And the Kingdom of God is grander than what we do here.
- So where is God leading you?
- For me, the Lord has asked me to pour out the best years of my life in Licking.
- And in the process, He is allowing me to overflow and influence other groups and organizations.
- That’s what I’m learning: When I give my best to Jesus, there is more left than when I started.