Exodus 35: A Restful and Willing Heart

Then Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said to them, “These are the words which the Lord has commanded you to do: 2 Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. 3 You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day.”

-        In chapter 34, the Sabbath was mentioned, and in chapter 35, it is again re-emphasized. Anytime we hear or read something repeatedly, it should give us pause. As Margaret Feinberg puts it in her book The Sacred Echo, "When God really wants to get your attention, he doesn’t just say something once, he echoes. He speaks through a Sunday sermon, a chance conversation with a friend the next day, and even a random email. The same theme, idea, impression, or lesson will repeat itself in surprising and unexpected ways until you realize that maybe, just maybe, God is at work."

-     Resting wasn’t the way of the world during this time. Everyone worked...all the time. God knew the idea of rest was contrary to the Israelite way, and it was important for them to understand the concept of rest. God rested after creating the world (Genesis 2:1). It doesn’t mean He took a nap or just laid there all day, it meant that He was still. When was the last time you were still? For reals. No phone, no laptop, no Netflix – just you and God. Psalm 46:10 says to “Be still and know that I am God.” The Hebrew definition for “still” is to sink, relax, let drop. What are you carrying that you need to let drop so you can just be enveloped by the Lord’s love?

4 And Moses spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying: 5 ‘Take from among you an offering to the Lord. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to the Lord: gold, silver, and bronze; 6 blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair; 7 ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood; 8 oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense; 9 onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate.

-        There are two key words in these passages: willing heart. What good is it to give if your heart is truly unwilling? 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us that “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” If you read what items the Israelites could offer, these weren’t frivolous things. They were items that were costly! Are you giving to Him sacrificially, or simply what you feel is enough to ease your conscience?

10 ‘All who are gifted artisans among you shall come and make all that the Lord has commanded:11 the tabernacle, its tent, its covering, its clasps, its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets;12 the ark and its poles, with the mercy seat, and the veil of the covering; 13 the table and its poles, all its utensils, and the showbread; 14 also the lampstand for the light, its utensils, its lamps, and the oil for the light; 15 the incense altar, its poles, the anointing oil, the sweet incense, and the screen for the door at the entrance of the tabernacle; 16 the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles, all its utensils, and the laver and its base; 17 the hangings of the court, its pillars, their sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court; 18 the pegs of the tabernacle, the pegs of the court, and their cords; 19 the garments of ministry, for ministering in the holy place—the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests.’”

-        For days and days, Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving instructions from the Lord regarding the tabernacle and its furnishings. We’ve done this study on it and it hasn’t even been built yet! Notice what verse 10 says: “All who are gifted artisans…” Before God even delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, there were specific people He knew would help build His tabernacle. He was working in their lives and hearts their entire life for this very purpose. Friends, He does the same with you! There is a “tabernacle” for you to build, and the Lord has equipped you with the talents and the abilities needed to fulfill that purpose. Whether it’s being a teacher, leader, parent, grandparent, ministry worker…He has equipped you with gifts in order to serve! May 1 Corinthians 10:31 be your mantra in life: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  It’s like God saying, “Whatever you do today, _______ (insert your name here), just make sure you do it for Me.”

20 And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. 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, for all its service, and for the holy garments.22 They came, both men and women, as many as had a willing heart, and brought earrings and nose rings, rings and necklaces, all jewelry of gold, that is, every man who made an offering of gold to the Lord. 23 And every man, with whom was found blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair, red skins of rams, and badger skins, brought them. 24 Everyone who offered an offering of silver or bronze brought the Lord’s offering. And everyone with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the service, brought it. 25 All the women who were gifted artisans spun yarn with their hands, and brought what they had spun, of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen. 26 And all the women whose hearts stirred with wisdom spun yarn of goats’ hair. 27 The rulers brought onyx stones, and the stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate, 28 and spices and oil for the light, for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense. 29 The children of Israel brought a freewill offering to the Lord, all the men and women whose hearts were willing to bring material for all kinds of work which the Lord, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done.

-        These passages stir my heart so deeply because it’s a beautiful picture of unity. The Spirit stirred the hearts of the people, and they – both men and women – gave and served willingly. It didn’t matter that one person gave two skins of rams and three earrings and the other only brought one badger skin and a handful of thread. Together, it made the tabernacle. Philippians 2:1-3 captures this very idea of unity, too: “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”

-        Another amazing thing is the resources were already in the possessions of the people – they simply needed to release it to a common goal. Provision for God’s vision is already there, my friend. Don’t let this or that discourage you because in God's economy the means already exists. If it’s the Lord’s work, He will provide again and again. Set your eyes on Him, and then trust Him to do the work.

30 And Moses said to the children of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31 and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, 32 to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze, 33 in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship.

34 “And He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works.

-        Verse 25 stated that people’s hearts were stirred with wisdom. You see the same thing here in the last verses of this chapter. “…the Lord has called by name Bezalel…and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship…” Wow. Don’t rush through that. The Lord had a task to fulfill, and He chose to do the work through others. He could’ve erected the tabernacle Himself, but instead, He called individuals to do that work. To what work is He calling you? Are you allowing Him to fill you with that Spirit of wisdom through His Word? Imagine being Bezalel or Aholiab, working with others to make the holy veil that God Himself would later tear. That’s the kind of work He wants to do in and through you, beloved. Let your heart be willing and allow Him to move! Amen.