Six days of silence must have left Moses ready to hear something—anything—from the LORD. Having been summoned by God to the top of Mt. Sinai, Moses expected some kind of interaction. But silence? Yet, Exodus 24 implies that for six days Moses—while shrouded by God’s glory—awaited God’s verbal initiative. Finally, “on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud” (24:16).
Pay attention to the first thing the LORD tells Moses. Exodus 25:1 makes it rather plain: “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give.” Further examination of the passage reminds us that the things given were for constructing the tabernacle. It would be at this place that Israel’s God received His worship. And it would be at this place that Israel’s people received God’s word.
Notice the qualifier in the request: the offerings were to be gifts prompted from within the heart. The handing over of the precious metals, fabrics, fine woods, skins, valuable spices and oils, was to be inspired by hearts swollen with the willingness to give the best to the redeeming God. There was no hint of coercion; no thought of manipulation. Indeed, God’s exhortation for the people was not so much that they give things. Rather, to give from a moved heart was to, in the end, give the heart itself.
At a time when healthy stewardship is a must—indeed a need—at Bethel Church, in our homes, or wherever it is we live and serve, we need to deal honestly with the following questions: are our hearts stirred to surrender to our Lord those things that rightfully and firstly belong to Him? And if our hearts are not—why? Such candid questions brings to mind David’s personal commitment described in Psalm 16:8-9, where he writes, “I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad” (italics mine). It is a feature of our intimate fellowship with the Eternal God that we have hearts stimulated toward acts of service and sacrifice.
Would you pray with me that our Lord God would find all of our affection resting at His feet? From that vantage point we have the privilege of seeing how we may participate with our time, talent and treasure in the advancement of His cause in our midst. Perhaps the prayer of one saint of old would be a helpful place for you and me to begin:
While I live let me labour for thee
to the utmost of my strength,
spending time profitably in this work,
both in health and in weakness.
It is thy cause and kingdom I long for, not my own.
O, answer thou my request!