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 :-
"And 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 :-
"And 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.
"When, 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. 2.
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?
"And 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.
"The 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?
"And 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.
In 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 something back.
"If 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
© S. D. Goeldner, February, 2011. Last updated August, 2020.
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