Exodus 25:1–9 (ESV)
25 The Lord said to Moses, 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. 3 And this is the contribution that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, 4 blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, goats’ hair, 5 tanned rams’ skins, goatskins, acacia wood, 6 oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, 7 onyx stones, and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. 8 And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. 9 Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.
We approach God on the basis of the blood covenant. We saw last time that the Israelites were invited up onto the mountain to worship God only after the Covenant was ratified. This was an extraordinary worship service.
There was a call to worship…God invited Moses and the other leaders up on the mountain.
There was a confession of faith, a reading from the Word, and even a celebration of communion as they ate a common meal together. The only thing they didn’t do was take up an offering. That’s what today’s passage is all about.
Let’s Pass the Plate!!
There are mixed feelings about a teaching on biblical giving. It’s a sad state when we allow the health and wealth scammers rob us the true church of the joys of giving. There are some who teach way too much on giving and then others won’t teach on it at all. I remember a pastor who would brag that he never had to preach on giving. That’s a sad statement because folks were left in the dark when it came to giving and tithing etc.
Well, here it is. It’s in the text so we are going to look at what God tells us about giving.
Did you know there are over 400 passages in the Bible that talk about money? Then there are many others that teach about stewardship. So, when people say preach the Word, well, it’s in the Word many times.
This begins the Tabernacle section of Exodus. It is the largest section in the entire Bible covering one subject, namely, the Tabernacle.
The Tabernacle is a very important topic and one of the richest types in the Bible. Its typology points us to our Savior in a many different ways.
1. God’s People are to Give to God (25:1-2)
25 The Lord said to Moses, 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.
Moses is to go back down the mountain and speak to the people and direct them to take up an offering.
All they want down there at that Church is your money. Perhaps you have heard that or something like that before. Maybe even someone that day said something like that about Moses. He just wants your money.
Let me ask you what’s wrong with that statement?
It’s not your money. Here God tells Moses to take up a contribution from His people.
Don’t forget these people were slaves. They did not have any money. So, where did the money that God wants them to give, come from? The money they are going to give to God is money He’s given to them.
Exodus 12:35–36 (ESV)
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. 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 the Egyptians.
This money is going toward ministry. It’s going to build the Tabernacle, the place where God will meet with His people and His people will meet with Him. He could have dropped a prefabbed Tabernacle in their midst but God allowed His people to participate in worshipping Him by giving back to God what’s already His.
This sounds a lot like our situation. The money we have is a gift from God. He has given us everything we have. God invites us to participate by giving to Him what’s already His.
What we are going to see today is we are to give our very best to God from a thankful heart for His holy work. God lets us participate by giving back what is already His.
Psalm 96:7–9 (ESV)
7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth!
Whenever God is worshipped, His people are to give back to Him. So, we don’t get too confident in our own abilities to make money or get to the point where we grab hold of money as if we own it, I want us to consider just what God is doing. He gives us all things by His grace. We are to be stewards of what He’s given us. He asks for a part of it back and we are to give it with joy. Not giving to God is to be a thief.
In the book of Malachi, Israel was charged with the offense of robbing God. Once again, the people of God had been faithless, breaking their covenant with the Lord. Yet God’s great love compelled Him to offer His people one last chance to repent: “From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you” (Malachi 3:7–9, ESV).
The idea of robbing God seems inconceivable. At first, Israel denied the charge. So hardened and cold had the nation grown that they were blind to the fact that they had abandoned their first love for the Lord. God then specifically explained that the people of Israel were robbing Him by bringing only part of their tithes and offerings to the temple. In their tightfisted, self-centered state, they were cheating God, failing to bring Him the whole tithe and the required offerings to the temple (cf. Malachi 1:14).
Here’s a close example. A father’s birthday is quickly approaching. His 5-year-old desires to buy his dad a birthday present so his father gives him 10$ to purchase him a gift. The five-year-old takes his father’s money and buys his dad a gift so he can participate in the birthday party. The same thing happens when God gives to us all we have except God lets us keep most of it to use for our needs.
Now think of the person who will not give back to God but keeps it for himself…
Notice in verse 2, the offering was for God. Even though it would go directly to build the Tabernacle, God said it was for Him. This is true here. When you give your tithes and offerings you are giving them to God.
2. God Wants Our Best (25:3-7)
3 And this is the contribution that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, 4 blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, goats’ hair, 5 tanned rams’ skins, goatskins, acacia wood, 6 oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, 7 onyx stones, and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece.
Here we see the items the Israelites were to give back to God. There were the very things the Egyptians gave them as they left Egypt.
Precious Metals- gold, silver, and bronze, these would be used to make certain items or to cover or plate certain items. The close the item was to the Holy of Holies the more precious its construction.
Dyed Weaving Material- 4 blue and purple and scarlet yarns
It was very costly in the ancient world to have dyed yarn. Blue came from certain shell fish. Scarlet came from the scarlet worm. All these were very expensive due to the work involved to acquire them.
Rare and Exceptional quality material- fine twined linen
Animal skins, acacia wood, spices and lamp oil.
These were Israel’s best items. They would be used to build and furnish the Tabernacle.
I have seen many examples of people not giving their best but giving things they did not want anymore. They treated the Church like a place where they could discard their unwanted items. This is not the way to give.
Once a when we were in Bible College there was a Church who contacted me saying they would like to support us. I had not asked anyone to support us but accepted their support. They asked if we could stop by so we did. They gave us a few boxes of food which I thought was nice of them. When we got back home, we noticed most of the food was outdated. This is not what God desires. He does not need anything from us but allows us the opportunity to participate in worshipping Him by giving. We are to give our best not treat God and His Church like a thrift store donation.
3. The Tabernacle According to God’s Design (25:8-9)
8 And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. 9 Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.
The word Tabernacle, literally means dwelling. This would be the place where God would dwell with His people.
John 1:14 (ESV)
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
God would Tabernacle with the Israelites.
The design of this place would be completely God’s design. No imagination of the builder and no freedom in the design, it would be constructed exactly as God explained to Moses.
God uses the word pattern here. This is an indication that this Tabernacle would be a pattern, model or replica of something else that already exists. The Tabernacle is a celestial archetype. It is a model of Heaven and what is happening in Heaven.
Hebrews 9:23–24 (ESV)
23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
God dwells in Heaven; God would dwell in the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle had the Holy of Holies, Heaven has the Holy of Holies, the Throne Room of God. The incense are burned and the smoke ascends to God which is a pattern of the prayers of the saints ascending to God in Heaven…I’m sure we will cover more later.
Exodus by Phillip Ryken
Exodus by Douglas Stuart
Exodus by John Currid