Just before God asked Moses that the children of Israel make a sanctuary for Him that He could dwell among them (Exodus 25:8), He had this to say to Moses :-
the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel,
that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly
with his heart ye shall take my offering. And this is the offering
which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, And blue, and
purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, And rams' skins
dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood, Oil for the light,
spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, Onyx stones, and
stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate. Exodus 25:1-7.
Bear in mind that these people had not long before brought an offering of their precious gold to Aaron to make them a golden calf while Moses was still up in the mountain receiving these instructions and the Ten Commandments on tables of stone.
This time they were being asked to make an offering. This was not to be just any offering it had to be a willing offering, nothing else would do. There was to be no coercion, no promise of something better, just a simple free will offering. How did the children of Israel respond :-
they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his
spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD'S offering to the work
of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for
the holy garments. And they came, both men and women, as many as were
willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and
tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an
offering of gold unto the LORD. And every man, with whom was found
blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, and red
skins of rams, and badgers' skins, brought them. Every one that did
offer an offering of silver and brass brought the LORD'S offering: and
every man, with whom was found shittim wood for any work of the
service, brought it. And all the women that were wise hearted did spin
with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue,
and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. And all the women
whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats' hair. And the rulers
brought onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the
breastplate; And spice, and oil for the light, and for the anointing
oil, and for the sweet incense. The children of Israel brought a
willing offering unto the LORD, every man and woman, whose heart made
them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the LORD had
commanded to be made by the hand of Moses. Exodus 35:21-29.
at the foot of Sinai, Moses told the people of the divine command, 'Let
them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them,' the response of
the Israelites was accompanied by the appropriate gifts. 'They came,
everyone whose heart stirred him up, and everyone whom his spirit made
willing,' and brought offerings. Exodus 25:8; 35:21. For the building
of the sanctuary, great and extensive preparations were necessary; a
large amount of the most precious and costly material was required, but
the Lord accepted only freewill offerings. 'Of every man that giveth it
willingly with his heart ye shall take My offering,' was the command
repeated by Moses to the congregation. Exodus 25:2. Devotion to God and
a spirit of sacrifice were the first requisites in preparing a dwelling
place for the Most High. Prophets and Kings by E. White, page 61 par.
This sort of offering one would generally expect from a nation of people who had been living quite comfortably in an area for a while, making a good living. However, the children of Israel were a nation who had just come out of years of slavery in Egypt. So where did they get all this gold, silver, precious stones, and everything else that they gave willingly for the building of the sanctuary?
the people took their dough before it was leavened, their
kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.
And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they
borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and
raiment: And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the
Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required.
And they spoiled the Egyptians. Exodus 12:34-36.
people took also with them 'flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.'
These were the property of the Israelites, who had never sold their
possessions to the king, as had the Egyptians. Jacob and his sons had
brought their flocks and herds with them to Egypt, where they had
greatly increased. Before leaving Egypt, the people, by the direction
of Moses, claimed a recompense for their unpaid labor; and the
Egyptians were too eager to be freed from their presence to refuse
them. The bondmen went forth laden with the spoil of their oppressors.
Patriarchs and Prophets by E. White, page 281 par. 3.
God knew just what materials would be needed in the construction of the sanctuary so He impressed the Egyptians to give the Israelites as wages that which they would need later on. He was keeping watch over His own, and these spoils of Egypt were therefore of God's own providing.
Yet God did not compel these people to give up their wages, He asked for free will offerings. So did Moses have to repeat over and over this request for materials for the sanctuary, or did they give enough?
they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough
for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make. And
Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout
the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the
offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing.
For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and
too much. Exodus 36:5-7.
No, Moses did not have to repeat the request, he had to send a command throughout the entire camp to tell them to stop giving. How wonderful! Not only did they have sufficient, they already had too much. This is a big lesson for all Christians throughout all time. God expects us to give ourselves freely and willingly for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and to work for Him.
Luke 6:38 we are told,
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good
measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men
give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it
shall be measured to you again. So in giving to God of what He has
generously provided for us, He will ensure that in some way we will get
all were devoted to God, a precious light would shine forth from them,
which would have a direct influence upon all who are brought in contact
with them. But all need a work done for them. Some are far from God,
variable and unstable as water; they have no idea of sacrifice. When
they desire any special indulgence or pleasure, or any article of
dress, they do not consider whether or not they can do without the
article, or deny themselves the pleasure, and make a freewill offering
to God. How many have considered that they were required to make some
sacrifice? Although it may be of less value than that of the wealthy
man who possesses his thousands, yet that which really costs
self-denial would be a precious sacrifice, an offering to God. It would
be a sweet-smelling savor, and come up from his altar like sweet
incense. Testimonies to the Church Vol 2 by E. White, page 127 par. 1.
© S. D. Goeldner
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