2018-05-02 / Religion

Giving from a generous heart

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

Exodus 25:1-7; 35:4-29; Leviticus 27:30-33; II Corinthians 9:6-8

Many people have been very critical of the divine method for financing the work of God. It is easy for some individuals to see the “collecting of money” as the major emphasis of meeting. This is not the biblical principle. The financing of the divine work must come from those who have benefitted by the eternal plan.

God directed Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. This miraculous event resulted in the whole nation of slaves leaving their present condition, and moving toward the Promised Land — the land of Canaan. Exodus 12:33.

Under the human leadership of Moses and Aaron, God formed the loosely-held group of tribes into a nation. Exodus 19:3-6. The idolatry of Egypt had become instilled in the “national mind” through the 400 years of slavery that had passed. These people needed to know the divine desire for them as a nation — “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3.

These people needed a visual aide to allow them to focus on the unfolding divine plan. Moses was instructed to construct a “tabernacle,” as a symbol of the constant presence of God–Jehovah — in their encampment. The people were to, personally, involved in the construction of this symbol. Moses was instructed, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they may bring me an offering, of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart (fountain of life) ye shall take my offering.” Exodus 25:2. The nature of that offering is described. Exodus 25:3-7. The purpose is stated — “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8.

This divine dwelling place was divinely designed. “According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” Exodus 25:9. There was no place for “human modification.”

Following a series of events, Moses called the people together to describe the “Tent of meeting” to them. “And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the Lord commanded…” Exodus 35:4. The divine instruction would seem to be an impossible assignment for a group of ex-slaves — “Take ye from among you an offering unto the Lord: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the Lord: gold, and silver, and brass, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, and rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood, and oil for the light, and spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, and onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod, and for the breastplate.” Exodus 35:5-9.

To understand this directive, we need to remember the time of the departure from their land of bondage. “And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed (asked; petitioned) of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so they lent (make property turn or change sides) unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.” Exodus 12:35, 36. Thus, the Egyptians financed the construction of the place of worship. Moses made an appeal to the congregation — “And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the Lord hath commanded…” Exodus 35:10.

After this appeal, the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21) recorded the response of the people. “And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses.” Exodus 35:20. This whole group seemed to grasp the magnitude of this project, and allowed the Holy Spirit to quicken their hearts. “And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments.” Exodus 35:21.

The offering that was given was that of personal objects — “And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man (one) offered an offering of gold unto the Lord.” Exodus 35:22. Objects that might not seem have the great monetary value could be used in this project — “And every man (one), with whom was found blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, and red skins of rams, and badgers’ skins brought them.” Exodus 35:23. The divine description continued — “Every one that did offer an offering of silver and brass brought the Lord’s offering: and every man, with whom was found shittim wood for any work of the service, brought it.” Exodus 35:24.

The people with “common skills” were useful in this project. “And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair.” Exodus 35:25, 26.

The individuals who possessed precious stones and spices gave these rare possessions for the divine project. Exodus 35:27, 28. The Record gives us a summary of the offering — “The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the Lord…which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.” Exodus 35:29.

These individuals lived under the Old Covenant or Testament. We live under the New Covenant. Concerning giving, the Apostle Paul wrote, “But this I say, he that soweth sparingly (stingily) shall reap sparingly; and he that soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully. Every man (one) according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6, 7. This principle has not been amended nor deleted. May each of us be faithful in our giving to our Lord.

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. A native of Early County, Rev. Temples taught in public schools 32 years and 10 years at Southeastern College of Assemblies of God, in Lakeland, Fla. He also served as pastor and evangelist during those years. He can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478- 299- 2068. Email: temples_ james@ yahoo. co m

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