Thursday, January 11, 2018

A Case of People Giving Too Much To God's Work? Yes.

Exodus 36:1-7:
“Now Bezalel and Oholiab, and every [a]skillful person in whom the Lord has put [b]skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work [c]in the construction of the sanctuary, shall perform in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded.”
Then Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every [d]skillful person in [e]whom the Lord had put [f]skill, everyone whose heart stirred him, to come to the work to perform it.
They received from Moses all the [g]contributions which the sons of Israel had brought [h]to perform the work [i]in the construction of the sanctuary. And they still continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning.
And all the [j]skillful men who were performing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from [k]the work which [l]he was performing,
and they said to [m]Moses, “The people are bringing much more than enough for the [n]construction work which the Lord commanded us to [o]perform.”
So Moses issued a command, and a [p]proclamation was circulated throughout the camp, saying, “Let no man or woman any longer perform work for the [q]contributions of the sanctuary.” Thus the people were restrained from bringing any more.
For the [r]material they had was sufficient and more than enough for all the work, to perform it.

Footnotes:

  1. Exodus 36:1 Lit man wise of heart
  2. Exodus 36:1 Lit wisdom
  3. Exodus 36:1 Or connected with the service of; lit of the service of
  4. Exodus 36:2 Lit man wise of heart
  5. Exodus 36:2 Lit whose heart
  6. Exodus 36:2 Lit wisdom
  7. Exodus 36:3 Lit lifted offering
  8. Exodus 36:3 Lit to perform it for the work
  9. Exodus 36:3 Lit of the service of
  10. Exodus 36:4 Lit wise
  11. Exodus 36:4 Lit his
  12. Exodus 36:4 Lit they were
  13. Exodus 36:5 Lit Moses, saying,
  14. Exodus 36:5 Lit service for the work
  15. Exodus 36:5 Lit perform it
  16. Exodus 36:6 Lit voice
  17. Exodus 36:6 Lit heave offering
  18. Exodus 36:7 Lit work
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Thoughts on the Passage
As Moses continues to speak to the children of Israel, he makes an interesting comment about those who God stirred their hearts to give and/or to work on the Tabernacle. He says, they “shall perform in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded.” Here is the assurance, because God is involved, that this project was going to succeed. How great would it be that when we are embarking on a new project, we have made sure that God is so involved to the point where it is His project, not ours so that we can be assured that it will succeed?

In verse 3, we read that as they began their work, the workers received from Moses “all the contributions” which the Israelites had made for the building of the Tabernacle.  Nothing was held back by the General Contractor.  There was no middle-man fee to be charged. There was no overhead to pay. Moses gave it all to the workers to get the work done. What does that say about commissioned fund-raisers? What does that say about unified church budgets whereby one gives to missions after the local church has taken care of all its needs as its leaders see fit?

I am taking the position that these offerings for the Tabernacle were separate and apart from any offerings or levees people may have brought to Moses each morning for his own upkeep as leader or more likely as a judge (see Exodus 18:13) in keeping with eastern magistrate traditions of the day, according to Robert Jamieson.

And how did the people react to Moses’ honesty and the way things were being done? They continued bringing him more offerings every morning. Wow. That’s the best time of day for each of us to bring our offerings to the Lord.

And then even the workers said, “Enough, already. We have more than what we need.”  Can you imagine a pastor or a mission leader saying that? Well, in this case, Moses had to get this – he had to “command” via a “proclamation” telling people to stop working or figuring out what else they could bring. No more donations needed. And this action was necessary because of the “zeal” of the people to contribute to the work of God – they had to be “restrained” our text says. How is our zeal when it comes to Kingdom work?  Do we have to be “restrained” from doing too much?  Interesting question.
So not only did God do His job, Moses did his, the people kept on giving, and the workers also should honesty in saying, “We have enough.” How wonderful would it be if all charitable workers and also public workers were as honest?  What a terrible thing to cheat those that count on you – whether it be in marriage, at work, or in missions? We need men and women today who put the interest of God and His people, and the public they serve, ahead of their own self-interests. As the current president of the United States suggests “the swamp needs cleaning out”.

Go ahead, tell me what you think.  

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