“The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day he called to Moses from the cloud. The appearance of the Lord’s glory to the Israelites was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop. Moses entered the cloud as he went up the mountain, and he remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights” (Exodus 24:16–18).
While Moses communed in the presence of God on the Mountain Top, God gave detailed instructions concerning the Tabernacle. These blueprints and instructions are recorded for us in Exodus, chapters twenty-five through thirty. Each of the seven furnishings (the altar, the laver, the candlestand, the table, and golden altar, the ark, and the mercy seat) foreshadow the Messiah and His ministry.
Remember... When the thirsty traveler needed water, God didn’t tell Moses to drill a well. Rather, God cracked a boulder. Shazam! Water. When they needed bread, God might have sent a Mrs. Baird’s Bread truck, but He sent manna. So, when it came time to build the Tabernacle, God might have pointed Moses to a magic tree with fruit of gold, silver and bronze. He might have sent wisemen from the east bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. (He saved that one for later.)
What did God tell Moses to do? “Tell the Israelites to take an offering for me. You are to take my offering from everyone who is willing to give. This is the offering you are to receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet yarn; fine linen and goat hair; ram skins dyed red and fine leather; acacia wood; oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx along with other gemstones for mounting on the ephod and breastpiece” (Exodus 25:2–7).
This free-will, noncompulsory offering was to be received so that the Tabernacle could be constructed. More importantly, God said, “They are to make a sanctuary for me so that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). The Children of Israel were invited to sacrifice so that God would be present, so that the Living God would dwell among them!
So, the Hebrews gave to God what God had given to them. They simply gave back the gift that God had lavished upon them. Remember, as they were preparing for the grand exodus from Egypt, God told Moses, “ ‘Announce to the people that both men and women should ask their neighbors for silver and gold items.’ The Lord gave the people favor with the Egyptians” (Exodus 11:2–3).
God owns “the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10). God didn’t need their gold and silver, but He invited them to sacrifice, to worship by giving back God’s generous gifts.
It shouldn’t surprise us to know that, when the offering was received, “the materials were sufficient for them to do all the work. There was more than enough” (Exodus 36:7).
We don’t pass the offering plates on Sunday so that God will have enough money. Rather, we give our tithes and offerings as an act of worship, acknowledging that all that we have is God’s.