Read Exodus 25
Offerings for the Tabernacle
1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give. 3 These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; 4 blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; 5 ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood; 6 olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 7 and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.
8 “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. 9 Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.
10 “Have them make an ark of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. 11 Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it. 12 Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other. 13 Then make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14 Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry it. 15 The poles are to remain in the rings of this ark; they are not to be removed.16 Then put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law, which I will give you.
17 “Make an atonement cover of pure gold—two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. 18 And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover.19 Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. 20 The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. 21 Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law that I will give you. 22 There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.
23 “Make a table of acacia wood—two cubits long, a cubit wide and a cubit and a half high. 24 Overlay it with pure gold and make a gold molding around it. 25 Also make around it a rim a handbreadth wide and put a gold molding on the rim.26 Make four gold rings for the table and fasten them to the four corners, where the four legs are. 27 The rings are to be close to the rim to hold the poles used in carrying the table.28 Make the poles of acacia wood, overlay them with gold and carry the table with them. 29 And make its plates and dishes of pure gold, as well as its pitchers and bowls for the pouring out of offerings. 30 Put the bread of the Presence on this table to be before me at all times.
31 “Make a lampstand of pure gold. Hammer out its base and shaft, and make its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms of one piece with them. 32 Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand—three on one side and three on the other.33 Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, three on the next branch, and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand. 34 And on the lampstand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms. 35 One bud shall be under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair—six branches in all. 36 The buds and branches shall all be of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold.
37 “Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it. 38 Its wick trimmers and trays are to be of pure gold. 39 A talent of pure gold is to be used for the lampstand and all these accessories. 40 See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.
In this chapter, we read that God wants to build a big, fancy sanctuary. He wants it to be made out of gold, silver, and bronze. He even wants goat hair, for some reason. All of this so that there can be an important building dedicated to Himself. You can’t help but wonder, why can’t he just do it Himself? Why can’t He have the Israelites stumble upon a ready made sanctuary made out of gold and goat hair finer than they could ever imagine? Wouldn’t that have been more impressive? But God asks Moses instead to receive an offering from “everyone whose heart prompts them to give” (v. 2).
Why do you think God does this? He certainly doesn’t need an offering from the Israelites. But God asks them to provide for the sanctuary to involve them in the relationship. God has made it clear that even if He can do miracles, it doesn’t mean He always will. There will be times that He parts the seas, and there will be others where He asks us to build a sanctuary on our own. He doesn’t want the Israelites to get used to a God that does everything for them. He wants them to develop the habit of being an active participant in the relationship. This way, they won’t flee when things get hard. Because now that they have participated in the building of the sanctuary, they truly make the claim that this God is their God. He didn’t just choose them, because in giving of their gold, silver, and bronze, they now get to say that they choose Him. These offerings bind their hearts to God and remind them that while some may trust in wealth, they trust in the name of the Lord.
- Why do you think God asks us to be generous?
- Why do you think God wanted the sanctuary to be built with the nicest of gifts?
- What would it look like for you to be an active participant in what God wants to do today?
Did You Know?
Everything in the tabernacle functions to shield and protect the holier structure beneath it. The wings of the cherubim shield the cover; the cover shields the Ark; the Ark shields the tablets; the tablets shield civilization.