Meditation: Exodus 35

Reading: Exodus 35:4-9

In Exodus 35 the Israelites are still camped by Mt Sinai. They have received the law, and instructions to build the holy tabernacle according to God’s design (Exodus 26-28). The time has now come to construct the tabernacle. It is a very important moment, because the tabernacle is to be evidence of a very beautiful thing: God dwells among the people; furthermore it will be the centre of worship and the preaching of the Gospel of grace. The tabernacle’s service points to Jesus Christ’s sacrificial blood and salvation for God’s people. This makes the construction period a very joyful time.

God first asks his people to give the necessary materials to build the tabernacle and furniture. “Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to the LORD” (vs 5). In vs 21 we read “Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the LORD’s offering”. They brought precious metals, stones, wood; coloured thread; fine linen; animal skins; spices and oil.

It was all willingly and liberally given which deserves praise. After hearing God’s request the Israelites first “departed from the presence of Moses” (vs 20). They did not make a quick and thoughtless decision; instead each household carefully considered what they should offer. Furthermore their gifts were not given under pressure, but willingly. This does not exclude the grace of the Spirit, who moves hearts to do good. However, the Holy Spirit does not force us to do good against our will. We are not computers, programmed automatons that have no will. The Holy Spirit makes the believers’ will alive and willing, so that the believers can stir up themselves to be obedient and thankful to God. They consciously recognise their responsibility and decide to voluntarily sincerely follow God’s requests.

Key text: Exodus 35:21 “Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the LORD’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting”.

Question: Sometimes we worship and obey God because we feel we must. How you stir your heart and have a willing spirit?