Give Freely to the LORD
Moses comes down from the mountain where he has met with God again for 40 days and nights (Exodus 34) and he shares with the people of Israel the law of God. As he does, he asks each person of Israel: "Take from among you a contribution to the LORD. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the LORD's contribution" (Exodus 35:5). God is asking them to build a tabernacle, a place of worship where his spirit will dwell with the people. In order to succeed, gifts and personal sacrifices will need to be made. This is a command to give to the LORD, to offer up something that you have for the service of God.
The initial ask is for supplies for the building of the temple: gold, silver, bronze, thread, fine linen, leather, acacia wood, olive oil, spices, gemstones (vv. 5-9). "All those who owned [the items] willingly brought them" (v. 23). "The leaders brought onyx stones and special gemstones..." (v.27). In order for the people of Israel to build the tabernacle that God was commanding them to build, they had to give up their resources and they willingly did so. But then the narrative changes, instead of things that are needed the ask is made for skilled individuals and for anyone willing to serve. Consider these verses:
"Come, all of you who are gifted craftsmen" (v. 10)
"All the women who were skilled in sewing and spinning prepared blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen cloth" (v. 26)
"All the women who were willing used their skills to spin the goat hair into yarn" (v. 27)
Certain individuals were even named for their gifts. "The LORD has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts...And the LORD has given both him and Oholiab...the ability to teach their sills to others" (vv. 30-35).
The reason everyone responded in this way is because "all whose hearts were stirred and whose spirits were moved came and brought their sacred offerings to the LORD" (v. 21). Later we read, "so the people of Israel-every man and woman who was eager to help in the work the LORD had given them through Moses-brought their gifts and gave them freely to the LORD" (v.29). God worked in the hearts of Israel, He stirred them up and worked in their hearts. Because of this internal change they gave of themselves, giving of the possessions and talents that God had previously given to them as they were eager to help in the work of the LORD. God's work in their lives, caused them to want to join his mission, and to use their possessions and gifts in service of the LORD. If God has worked in your life, then he wants to use you to advance his mission as well.
If you are in Christ, have your desires been changed that you want to serve God with everything that you have? What abilities or talents has God given you that you should be using in service of the Kingdom of God? What is your first, or next, step in obedience to Him with your possessions or talents?
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