I Love Giving

When God sets out to build something He does so with a pattern. The Tabernacle is no different. It has a pattern that we will one day witness for ourselves saints, in heaven. Understand the Tabernacle that Ole Mo builds for the Israelites is a replica, or copy, of something he witnessed in heaven. God doesn’t just tell Ole Mo how to build the Tabernacle; He shows him the original. Exodus 26:30~Then you shall erect the tabernacle according to the plan for it that you were shown on the mountain. (ESV) Wouldn’t you have like to have been there on that day? To see where God is worshiped. I can’t wait. I’m truly excited to be on my way to heaven, where I will worship around the throne. 

Let’s take a metaphorical walk, touring the grounds. The Tabernacle is enclosed by a white fence that is five cubits, or 7.5 ft, high. It is always set-up facing east with only one gate, or door. Just inside the gate is a huge brass altar where animals are sacrificed and burned. As you approach the entrance to the Tabernacle proper, there is a brass laver filled with water for the priests to wash their hands and feet. 

After passing by the brazen altar and laver, we come to the Tabernacle proper. It is divided into two sections. The first room is called the Holy Place. Its walls are made of acacia wood and are covered with solid gold. In this first room, the Holy Place, there are three pieces of furniture. On the north wall is the table of showbread, also called the bread of the Presence. (Exodus 25:23-30). Across the room on the south wall is the lampstand, which is made of pure gold Exodus 37:24~He made it and all its utensils out of a talent of pure gold. (ESV) On the west wall, just before the veil, or curtain, that separates the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, is the altar of incense. God tells Ole Mo to make it from acacia wood (exodus 30:1) Exodus 30:3~You shall overlay it with pure gold, its top and around its sides, and its horns. And you shall make a molding of gold around it. (ESV) 

Just behind the altar of incense is the heavy veil, a dense curtain, that hangs between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. It is what God rips upon Jesus’ death. (Matthew 27:51) Inside the Holy of Holies is only one piece of furniture, the Ark of the Covenant. (Exodus 25:10-22) Fans of the 80s trilogy where Harrison Ford globe-trots will no doubt remember Raiders of the Lost Ark. A chest overlaid with one piece of gold, having a seat of mercy sprinkled with blood and two cherubim facing each other. This is the Lord’s dwelling seat among His people.

Everything in the Tabernacle is a replica of what God showed Ole Mo on Mt Sinai. This is made clear by what Stephen says about the tabernacle just before he is stoned to death. Acts 7:44~Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. (NIV) What Ole Mo sees is God’s throne room in heaven. 

Are you ready to see God’s throne room? Has God moved you? Then Give. Give God your whole lives, every part of your being. Give to God of your blessings, give to God the use of your time each day. Give God any and all opportunities to grow your life. Give yourself to God because God has moved you! 2 Corinthians 9:7~Each one must give as he has decided in his heart…for God loves a cheerful giver. (ESV) As you prepare to head out into the world, pray and ask God to use you today, for His glory. And, know that one day real soon we’ll see Him face to face, and all will be revealed, in that glorious place of His Tabernacle of His dwelling.



GOD LOVES

The children of Israel have been let go from slavery and the affections of Egypt. So how do former slaves who owned nothing over the last 400 years find the much-needed provisions for building the Tabernacle? God tells Ole Mo exactly how to obtain the provisions, or materials, for constructing the Tabernacle and it was not by selling BBQ or chicken. I know, God could’ve just spoken the word and the Tabernacle would have gloriously floated down from heaven. But I’m reminded of the missionary who built a beautiful church for the local people and then left for a few years. Upon his return, the church was in disrepair and so the missionary said why didn’t you take care of it? The people said you built it, we thought you would take care of it. 

Ask any parent, and most will say that when you pay for something, it often receives much better care. So, God tells Ole Mo to raise an offering Exodus 25:2~Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him, you shall receive the contribution for me. (ESV) We must grasp that God requires worshipers, who have been moved, to be givers. Has God ever moved you? Does He stir in your soul and move in your life? Then give. Yes, we are to give God our time, talents, and our whole lives.

But the offerings spoken of here in our pericope are to be tangible gifts of gold, silver, listen to Exodus 25:4-7~blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen…spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense…stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breast piece (ESV) This is a wonderful example of how God’s house and His ministry should still be funded today. Offerings from His people! God does not say, Have a cakewalk, hold a hot dog dinner, or Go out into the lost community and sell cookies or solicit money to build My house. 

No, God says take up an offering from my people. Ministry is expensive. People by packs of light bulbs and the church buys cases. You heat and cool 2000-3000-4000 square feet and the church does that 4, 5, and 6 times over. Therefore, an offering is taken to build the Tabernacle. Based on just the amount of gold used in constructing the Tabernacle and its furnishings, the offering today would’ve been in the tens of millions. The procedure for obtaining the provisions is so simple, God says give from the heart Exodus 25:2~Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him, you shall receive the contribution for me. (ESV) From the offering for the tabernacle until this day, the proper motive for giving back to God has always been from the heart. Not strong-arming a gift, pressuring people, or a favorite of mom’s everywhere, guilt.  

2 Corinthians 9:7~Each of you should give what you have decided in 

your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (NIV) Each of us must decide how much to give, without regret, or in response to pressure. Remember, before this offering, all of the people of Israel were slaves, who had nothing. It was the Lord who gave them favor among the Egyptians. Exodus 12:35~The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing.  (ESV) Exodus 12:36~And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians so that they let them have what they asked. Thus, they plundered…(ESV)

The problem of God’s house lacking needed provisions has never been because God’s people don’t have enough to give. Rather, it has always been a matter of the heart. Primarily, we forget. Deuteronomy 8:18~You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. (ESV) 

Giving from the heart is a part of true worship and in God’s model for worship, we come to realize that we must be willing to respond to God and allow Him to build what He has planned and purposed in our lives, our families, and our community of faith. The provisions that God has provided us with are for more than just living or the things we buy. They are for building up His kingdom. Today, let’s ask God what He wants to use in our lives to help build His kingdom. Then we must do what He has placed in our hearts. Don’t worry, you can do all that God asks of you and He will be the supplier of all you need.



How shall we worship?

Today, I want to share another purpose we learn from studying the Tabernacle that Ole Mo built. Purpose # 3—It teaches how sinful people may worship a holy God. I don’t know about you but I mess up a lot and need God’s abundant grace. Ecclesiastes 7:20~Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. (ESV) It is God’s Tabernacle that reveals how a relationship broken by sin can be restored. 

Therefore, if we desire to worship God, we must understand the process of dealing with our sin. The seriousness of our sins is revealed in the sacrifices required at the Tabernacle. To approach and worship God, two things are required: a blood sacrifice (Hebrews 9:22) for our sins and a mediating priest (Hebrews 4:14-16). Today, both are made available to us in Jesus Christ. 

You may in fact know someone who is asking what are the steps to salvation? Many people are looking for steps to salvation. People like the idea of an instruction manual with simple easy steps that, if followed, will result in salvation. Because the idea of a step-by-step process to salvation is appealing, many in the Christian community make the mistake of presenting salvation as a result of a step-by-step process. Roman Catholicism has seven sacraments. Various Christian denominations add baptism, public confession, turning from sin, speaking in tongues, etc., as steps to salvation. But the Bible only presents one step to salvation. 

When the Philippian jailer asked Paul in Acts 16 this is what Paul tells him in Acts 16:30-31~Then he brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household. (ESV) In Romans 10:9 Paul says that we are to confess Jesus is Lord and believe God raised Him from the dead. It really is that simple for someone to become saved. 

Faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior is the only step to salvation. The message of the Bible is abundantly clear. We have all sinned against God. (Romans 3:23) Because of our sin, we deserve to be eternally separated from God. (Romans 6:23) Because of His love for us (John 3:16), God took on human form (John 1:14) and died in our place, taking the punishment that we deserve. (Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21) God promises forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven to all who receive, by grace through faith, Jesus Christ as Savior. (John 1:12, 3:16, 5:24, Acts 16:31)

Salvation is the free gift of God and is not about certain steps we must follow to earn salvation. Salvation and forgiveness of sins is not about following steps. It is about receiving Christ as Savior and recognizing that He has done all of the work for us. God requires one step of us—receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior from sin and fully trusting in Him alone as the way of salvation. Jesus said it best right before He died on the cross in John 19:30~…It is finished. (NIV)

That is just the best news! Who might you share that news with today? I bet God has someone who is going to cross your path and they would love to hear that there is a God who loves them, and wants to have a personal relationship with them, and all they have to do is take a step. Ask the Lord who you can share your faith with and who might be ready to take that step. Then share. You have got this. May the Lord bless you today as you share your faith.