The task seemed monumental to me.
God gave Moses specific instructions about how to build the Tent of Meeting.
The Israelites would need about a ton of gold, 3.75 tons of silver, 2.5 tons of bronze, special cloths, embroidery work, jewels, hides, and more (See Exodus 36-38). Remember these are the folks God just freed from 400+ years of slavery in Egypt. Granted God told them when they left Egypt to ask their neighbors for clothing, gold, and silver. God mentioned in this way they would “plunder Egypt.”
God provided for His people through the Egyptians giving them gold, silver, and clothing. Then the Israelites gave to God. First they gave as part of the census. A total of 603,550 men aged 20 and over escaped Egypt. Each man gave 1/5 an ounce or 5.5 grams of silver. That tiny bit of silver per man added up to 3.75 tons of silver!
If we all give our 1/5 an ounce or tithe to God it adds up. For the Israelites it added up to 3.75 tons of silver enough to make bases, hooks, overlay posts, and make bands for the Tent of Meeting. For us it will add up to finance ministries, mission trips, meals for the hungry, the list goes on…
Not only did the Israelites give because they had to through the census. They also gave because they wanted to give. In fact they gave so much that Moses had to stop them from giving…Check this out:
“So all the skilled craftsmen who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left their work and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.” Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more…” Exodus 36:4-6
Seems to me that Israel had figured out how to be cheerful givers. Givers who know they could never pay back God, but want to honor Him by being part of His work. Givers that gave and gave and gave to the point they had to be turned away because the giving was getting in the way of the work. The giving was getting distracting.
Can you imagine that happening these days? Only a small portion of church member regularly tithe, much less give “freewill offerings.” What would it look like if God called us to create a “Tent of Meeting?” Would we have to restrain folks from bringing more or would we need to beg for gifts?
Am I a giver who gives and gives and gives? One thing I do know is I can never out-give God. So why am I hesitant to give to Him? I pray the church will experience this type of giving – the kind that flows from a heart deeply connected to God. Oh that we would give and give and give for God is worthy.