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“They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning” (Exodus 36:3).
The Old Testament tells of God’s relationship with the Hebrew nation. It begins with His promise to Abraham to make him into a great nation, to give the promised land to him and his descendants, and to bless all peoples on earth through him. (Genesis 12:1–3)
Abraham believed God and followed where the Lord led, but the Egyptians enslaved his descendants. The Hebrews cried out to God, and He heard them. God called to Moses from a burning bush and said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt…and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians” (Exodus 3:7–8). And that is what He did.
First through Abraham, then through Moses, God revealed Himself to the Jewish people, but God’s presence caused such fear and awe that they begged for Him not to speak with them directly. So God commanded the Israelites to build a tabernacle, or a portable temple. He put the Levites in charge of the tabernacle as mediators between Himself and the Israelites. He gave artistic gifts to a chosen few so that they could construct this sanctuary (Exodus 35:31–33).
The people brought gold jewelry, blue, purple and scarlet yarn, spices, oils and fragrant incense, onyx stones and other gems to be used in building the tabernacle. Everything they had they gave to the work of the Lord. The true and living God had chosen to dwell among them; no expense could be spared. And the people continued to bring their offerings morning after morning until finally Moses had to command them to stop! (Exodus 36:6).
With the coming of Jesus, everything has changed. God no longer dwells in a sanctuary made by human hands; He dwells in the hearts of every believer. We are His sanctuary! God no longer enables a select few to do His work; He gives spiritual gifts to each of His children. He has enabled every Christian to do the works which He has prepared for them.
God rescued the Hebrew people from slavery to Egypt. He has rescued us from slavery to sin and death through the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins on the cross. And rather than taking our requests to God through a mediator, we have Christ as our Mediator. Therefore we can approach the throne of God boldly, without fear.
So like the Israelites, who understood the immensity of privilege God had bestowed on them by dwelling among them and calling them His people, let us give generously of our gifts to the Lord—gifts of time, talent, and treasure. We who have received the bounty of blessing which comes through Jesus Christ can do no less.
Dear Heavenly Father, You have rescued, adopted, and empowered me. You have given me direct access to approach Your throne with boldness. I want to give back to You through my time, my talents, and my treasure—not as repayment, for what do I have that You have not given me? But I give my gifts to You with a heart of gratitude. Use them for Your glory. Amen.
Questions: You are God’s sanctuary. How does that impact you? How has God enabled you to do His Kingdom work?