September 24, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give. These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.’”—Exodus 25:1–9 (NIV)
It’s easy to see sections like these in Scripture and completely gloss over them, but there’s so much here I pray isn’t lost on you! In Exodus 25:1–2, God tells Moses to call for an offering from His children. But this wasn’t a sin or peace offering or anything tied to a specific need. Instead, this was about the heart!
Before even telling Moses the purpose of this offering, God simply tells Moses to instruct the people to bring the offering. You see, God wanted His people to be motivated by a willing, grateful heart more than by a specific need. Why? Because our giving must be an outpouring of a generous, grateful, devoted heart unto the Lord. While, yes, we should give when a need arises, but we should also give simply out of the overflow of our relationship with Jesus, who has been so generous, merciful, gracious, and kind to us!
God wants offerings from the willing and grateful, not from those who feel pressured, coerced, manipulated, or who are doing it for show. This idea is seen in 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV): “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.”
So, what was the offering and what was it for? It was various materials for the tabernacle—the dwelling place where God’s presence would reside amongst His people. And the coolest part is the pattern of the tabernacle was based on a heavenly reality. It was a “copy and shadow of what is in heaven” (Hebrews 8:5 NIV). And because of this, it had to be made according to exact dimensions, being somewhat of a “scale model” of the area around God’s throne in heaven. How cool is that?
Do you want to know something even cooler? The tabernacle, which was this beautiful, ornate “Tent of Meeting” was replaced! First, it was replaced 2,000 years ago when Mary conceived and gave birth “to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’)” (Matthew 1:23 NIV), when God Himself, the Son Jesus Christ, “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14 NIV).
But it didn’t stop there, because Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again, thereby conquering sin and death and allowing us to enter into right relationship with God through faith in Him. And when that happens, He who made His dwelling among us, who tabernacled with us, now makes His dwelling in us!
The Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, that delivered the people from Egypt, provided bread from heaven, guided the people with a pillar of smoke and fire, and whose presence dwelled in the tabernacle is now making His home in our hearts, leading and guiding us into all truth, conforming us to the image of the Son, and using us to take the gospel to the lost. HOW COOL IS THAT?!
Pause: What is the difference between giving because of need and giving out of overflow?
Practice: Consider ways you can be more generous and give offerings to the Lord simply out of gratitude to Him and all He’s done and is doing!
Pray: Father, You are so generous! You are so good to me. You have given me everything I have and everything I need. In Christ Jesus, I am complete, full, and fulfilled. Thank You for Your innumerable blessings and generosity. I pray that through the leading of the Holy Spirit, I may grow in generosity and give out of the overflow of my relationship with You, not simply to meet a need when it arises, but as a regular response to Your loving kindness and mercy. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.