Summary: A refreshing look at the touchy subject of giving.
How would you respond to a God whose lightest touch nearly shook a mountain off its foundation? Whose approach was announced by a loud trumpet blast? Whose very voice sound like the thunder of a rushing river? Most likely you would be extremely nervous just like the Israelites. Literally scared out of their wits the people could only watch Moses hike up the mountain and disappear into the cloud of the Lord’s presence. Today we often sense the Lord’s presence, but often take it for granted by taking a casual attitude toward His will for our worship and our lives. God desires our priorities to line up with His will, our lives to reflect His holiness and our hearts to praise and glorify Him in worship. Moses brought the Israelites God’s instructions on how to worship the Lord who wanted to live not at a distance, but close and present in their midst. The subject of giving often makes us cringe. We do not want to hear another sermon on giving. We’ve heard the same thing over and over again! It makes us uncomfortable! The ways the Lord sought to involve His people in this sacred project reveals a great deal about Him and about the values He desires to see in us. Today let’s discover how the Israelites’ desire to please God stirred their hearts and led them to display overwhelming generosity in their giving. In this we can learn some very important lessons to apply in our lives.
I. God’s instructions in regard to the construction of the Tabernacle.
A. Notice the Lord did not demand a tithe or a tax; He asked for a freewill offering.
1. The Almighty God, who has the right to demand from His people both treasures and obedience, desired a contribution from only those whose hearts moved them to give.
2. The only qualification God required on the part of the giver was that their whole heart drives the decision to give.
3. God didn’t want the people to give because He commanded them to, he wanted it to be done out of love and a desire to please God.
B. The offering the Lord desired.
1. The Lord told Moses exactly what He wanted the people to contribute.
2. The list of materials represent a list of the finest metals, the finest fabrics, the finest leathers, the finest wood, the finest oil, incense and semiprecious stones.
3. As the Egyptians had once plundered the Hebrews as they enslaved them, the Hebrews plundered Egypt during their Exodus.
4. The Israelites did not take these luxuries for themselves; they gave them to the Lord.
C. The Lord’s purpose for this project.
1. God who led His people out the land of slavery wanted to live with His people.
2. The Israelites were not just directed to fund a construction project; they were invited to give to the God of the universe.
3. The Tabernacle would sere as a visual illustration of God’s desire to be intimate with His people and yet remain holy.
4. The building was to be so stunning, so significant and so meaningfully detailed it would catch the attention of all passers by causing them to know that the Living God lives there.
5. The Lord gave very detailed instructions on every aspect of the construction of this project.
D. After God had given Moses all the instructions, He once again reemphasized the importance of the Sabbath rest.
1. The Sabbath would show that the Israelites were distinct from other nations because of their unique relationship with God.
2. It reminded the Israelites that it was not their work that sanctified them but God who set them apart.
3. The Lord had designated this day as holy and anyone who would disregard this day they were actually disregarding their relationship with God.
4. They were to follow the Lord’s pattern of work and rest.
5. God command His people to cease from their own activities and personal responsibilities in order to make time to ponder His activities, His person, His ways, His calling.
6. Theirs was to be a lifestyle of worship.
II. The Israelites broken faith and the Lord’s forgiveness.
A. The people grew impatient; the anxiety over Moses absence and their lack of control over their situation caused them to renege on their covenant with God.
1. Isn’t this unbelievable? What’s worse though is the fact that Aaron joined in.
2. They built a golden calf and worshipped it causing them to be on the receiving end of God’s wrath.
3. Quickly Moses comes off the mountain carrying the stone tablets that bore God’s law.
4. Moses seeing what was going on in the camp angrily threw down the tablets shattering them illustrating the Israelites having broken their covenant with God.