Now I have to admit that there are a few thing in the Bible that I really don’t understand why they are in there. Genealogies is one, but these instructions on how to build the tabernacle is another one. I sure wish that the Bible would have included things it left out (in my younger years more of a handbook on dating would have been nice), and so I never got why these passages took up this space. I also wasn’t super excited when I realized that all three of the chapters for today’s reading were about the building of the tabernacles, and the specifics of what God wanted it to look like. Clearly the specifics were important to Him, I just don’t understand.
But at the very beginning I did read something that stuck out to me.
The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give. These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair, ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.” – Exodus 25:1-8
God wants to dwell among them. He doesn’t just want to have a sanctuary built for Him, He wants live with them. But even though that is astounding in itself, that was actually not what stood out to me. What amazes me about this passage is actually that God asks for people to give an offering, but He doesn’t mandate it. He just asks them to receive offerings from anyone whose “hearts prompts them.” Why would He do this? Everyone gets to benefit from the building of the tabernacle, so why wouldn’t God ask everyone to sacrifice for it? Or why wouldn’t He just provide he materials? Or the fully built Tabnernacle itself? He could totally do it. Just a few chapters ago He dropped manna from heaven, made a bunch of birds appear in the desert, and makes water flow from a rock. That isn’t even going back very far. So why did He not just create His own tabernacle, or at least provide all the needed materials? I don’t know the full answer, and I won’t pretend like I do,but it just shows His character and who He is. He wants us to give and sacrifice not out of obligation, but He also wants us to PARTICIPATE not out of obligation. I can’t imagine being one of the people who felt it in their heart to give and then say what the tabernacle became. Or even after it was finished, watched what they helped create be the resting place of God Himself. What an incredible blessing to be able to participate in something like that.
I dont know about you, but there are times I my life where I feel like God is just asking for sacrifice. Sometimes it feels like He is asking me to give up just one more thing. And you know what I mean, that deep down moving, or as it says in Exodus, that prompting from the heart. But I am blessed enough that in a few circumstances I have been able to see a small piece of the fruit that has come from it. Even just giving a little more time, stepping out of my comfort zone, and following up with that stranger I just met for a cup of coffee. One of the biggest blessings my life was following one of these heart promptings. I had just had our first, and he was just a few months old. He needed to nurse during church and in the nursing room I met another first time mom of a son just a month younger than mine. We both followed that heart prompting to give up some of our time to walk our strollers around a store. Neither of us knew if that sacrifice of time was just going to be full of one time awkward conversation, but we showed up. And the willingness to give up a couple of hours one morning to see what God had, has turned into one of the most fruitful and joyful friendships in my life. So I pray that in more situations where it seems like God is asking for just a little more of my time, talent, or money than I feel comfortable giving, that I can be reminded that what God is really asking of me is to participate in what He is doing.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Exodus 28, 29