Exodus 36-38 They received all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary

From Exodus 36-38

02 ExodusBezalel and Oholiab were skilled craftsmen, empowered by the Holy Spirit to construct the tabernacle and its items of worship. But they needed support. Today we read about the contributions of the people to this work. The LORD gives his people gifts to serve him and others.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

Bezalel and Oholiab were among many skilled craftsmen in Israel. After the law was given at mount Sinai they were instrumental in the creation of the tabernacle and its items of worship.

36 “Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whom the LORD has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.”

2 And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the LORD had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work. (Ex 36.1-2)

The details concerning the construction of these items may be unimportant to us. But to Israel, they emphasised the detail, care and value assigned to what they were making stressed the importance they had in the community.

But even they needed help in their labour. They needed the support of others in their work.

3 And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, 4 so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, 5 and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the LORD has commanded us to do.” (Ex 36.3-5)

People contributed as they could to their ministry and towards the items of worship they were building.

The people brought free will offerings. To give as they wanted to the service of the LORD.

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6 So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, 7 for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more. (Ex 36.6-7)

They gave so much that Moses had to tell them to stop.

I suggest they gave because of what the LORD had done for them in rescuing them from Egypt. They gave because the LORD had decided not to wipe them out after the golden calf incident. They gave because the LORD agreed to go with them and lead them into the promised land.

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

The same happened again in Israel’s history. King David was not allowed to construct the temple himself. But he could prepare and stockpile materials for when his son Solomon would. Like Moses, David requested the people give to the LORD’s temple and service.

6 Then the leaders of fathers’ houses made their freewill offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king’s work. 7 They gave for the service of the house of God 5,000 talents and 10,000 darics of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze and 100,000 talents of iron. 8 And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the LORD, in the care of Jehiel the Gershonite. 9 Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly. (1 Ch 29:6–9)

These too were called free will offerings. People gave of their own free will, with a whole heart.

How would you describe your own giving to the LORD’s service?

They gave abundantly and they rejoiced because of it.

Story of Jesus

After teaching his disciples a large crowd of thousands came to Jesus and he wanted to feed them. Here is the story.

6 After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. 3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.

5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”

Brand, C. et al. eds., 2003. Bread. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.

12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.

14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. (Jn 6:1–15)

Sometimes the little we may give has a large impact in the world. Remember to give. Give from the heart. Give freely and see what the LORD can do with it.


Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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