Do you know there was a time when the Israelites were restrained from giving? They were giving so much that Moses has to say, “STOP!” In this post, let us learn the important lessons in giving from Exodus 36:2-6.
In a world where the way of getting is more prevalent than the way of giving, it is difficult to see people giving more than what is asked of them.
But do you know brethren, there’s one particular story in the Scripture where we will read an interesting story where a group of people give so much of their possession that their leader has to stop them from giving?
I think that is something phenomenal and even impressive for a group of people known for their stubbornness and rebellion.
In this blog, I want us to take a look at Exodus 36:2-6, where we read the instance when the Israelites gave more than what is asked of them.
Exodus 36:2-6, a story about the amazing heart of giving
Let us pick up the story in Exodus 36:2.
Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart Yahweh had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work.
This was the time when the tabernacle and sanctuary of Yahweh would be built. As humans, the Israelites can’t create something from nothing. Thus, in verse 3, we read:
“And they received from Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of making the sanctuary.”
Now, we see here how the children of Israel started to give what they have and this is where we are going to start learning the lessons of this story.
If we go back a few chapters, you will read that this was something that Yahweh has commanded. Before giving the instruction to build the sanctuary, we read in Exodus 25:1-2:
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.”
What Yahweh desires is that we give our offering to Him with willingness.
We have heard this a lot of times, but still sometimes, giving is not that easy.
Sometimes, we give for the sake of just giving. As what Paul mentioned, there’s a possibility for us to give grudgingly or out of necessity (II Corinthians 9:7).
I think one of the reasons why giving is so difficult sometimes is not because we don’t have enough, but because we see our possessions as something that we own.
However, in reality, the truth is that we don’t own anything. They are only borrowed from God and if God asks us to give an offering, we are simply giving back that is not ours.
Thus, we must give willingly and not simply because we are forced to do so.
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What happens when we give willingly?
As a result, what happened brethren? Let’s go back to Exodus 36:3:
“So they continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning.”
It was a voluntary offering. They were not forced by God or Moses. And when do they give the offering? Every morning.
I think we can again obtain a very important lesson here.
They give their offering in the beginning of the day, showing how important it is for them to give the offering to God.
They didn’t wait until afternoon or evening, where they might find a lot of excuses not to give anymore.
They make it a point to give, first things first.
Now, offerings do not only mean that you give money. You can also offer thanksgiving and praises to our Heavenly Father before you start your day.
Because of the right attitude of the people, we read what happened next in verse 4-5:
“Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, and they spoke to Moses, saying, “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which Yahweh commanded us to do.”
Why the people are giving so much?
With this in mind, you might ask, “What have caused the overflowing generosity of the Israelites?”
Personally, I believe it is because of the outpouring mercy and goodness of God toward them.
If you turn back a few chapters, you will read the golden calf incident. It was the time when God was ready to destroy the whole nation of Israel, but because of His mercy toward this stiff-necked people, they were spared and only a portion of the people were destroyed.
For the Israelites, giving their offering is a way to thank God for sparing their lives and giving them the chance to continue on.
They were so thankful to God that they were moved to offer a lot of their possessions.
In the same way, we should also be stirred up in generosity because of God’s goodness and mercy.
After all, if it wasn’t for God’s mercy, all of us have long perished. The gift of life that until now we still have should move us to giving and outpouring generosity to God.
Responsible use of God’s resources
In verse 6, we read:
“So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, “Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.”
It is worth noting brethren the integrity of the craftsmen and Moses in this regard.
Actually, if you think about it, this was a golden opportunity for them to get more out of the people. They could have easily used what’s needed and keep the excess.
This gives a lesson to the leadership as well and a reminder that we must also use God’s money and resources responsibly.
We must use it for the good of others and not on selfish ambitions.
Moses restrained the people
Finally, brethren, after Moses gave the command, we read in verse 6 and 7:
And the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.
Now, that’s something that’s too rare to happen in these days.
Did you notice that brethren? Because of their generosity, they have to be restrained.
The Hebrew word used here is kala, which means to forbid, to stop, to restrict, and to withhold!
What a pleasant problem that is! I look forward to that day when God has to tell to us, stop, they are more than enough.
Don’t miss the opportunity to give
One final lesson we can derive from this story is that there will come a time when we can’t give an offering anymore.
I believe there are still people in that time who didn’t give an offering to God because of how attached they are with their possession and wealth, which in the first place, they really don’t own.
They missed the opportunity to contribute to something that is way bigger than themselves.
After all, the offering that they are going to give will be used for the sanctuary of God not just for any ordinary work.
In the same time brethren, the offering you give today to the church is not used for building roads, saving the planet, or fighting wars in various places, but they are used for the preaching the Gospel to this dying world.
They are used for the work of God, the GREATEST work on the face of the Earth.
Today, you are given a chance to contribute to that work and I hope we don’t come to the point where we can’t give an offering anymore because it’s too late.
Generosity leads to mighty works
As a result of the generosity of the nation of Israel as well as God’s grace and providence, we read in Exodus 39:32:
Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished. And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD had commanded Moses; so they did.
I believe we can also do the same mighty work as what the Israelites of old did. As long as we have the proper attitude of giving and God’s blessings, we can do the will of God as well as fulfill His purpose in our lives.
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