This week we move from the dramatic story of God's provision for Israel through manna and quail into several chapters of Exodus that seem almost mundane, filled with little more than detailed building instructions. But what seems ordinary is actually a beautiful vision of God and his relationship with his people.
The tabernacle in the wilderness is the demonstration of God’s desire to dwell among his people, to restore to Israel (and ultimately to the whole world) the intimacy between God and humankind that was lost in Eden. The truly remarkable thing is that God not only restores his presence to his people, he also invites his people to directly participate in that movement of restoration.
When God invites Israel to contribute out of all their belongings and skills to the building of what he directs, they respond with “willing, generous hearts,” a phrase that is repeated many times in these chapters. Everyone--the poor and the rich, men, women and children--respond to the opportunity in a great act of communal solidarity and commitment to the work of God.
In this part of the Exodus story we learn that the people of God are those who are so thankful for God’s rescue--those with hearts so filled with abundant joy--that their gratitude overflows back towards God and his purposes in the world. God’s people are a generous people fueled by joy and gratitude.
Our weekly Worship Guide can be downloaded by clicking the image below.
Exodus 25:1-2, 35:4-9, 20-29
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.
4 Moses said to the whole Israelite community, “This is what the Lord has commanded: 5 From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver and bronze; 6 blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; 7 ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood;
8 olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 9 and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.
20 Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence, 21 and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. 22 All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the Lord. 23 Everyone who had blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen, or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or the other durable leather brought them. 24 Those presenting an offering of silver or bronze brought it as an offering to the Lord, and everyone who had acacia wood for any part of the work brought it. 25 Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun—blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen. 26 And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair. 27 The leaders brought onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. 28 They also brought spices and olive oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. 29 All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do.
Notes on our Worship Space:
The Cross, the Font, the Table, the Book
As we explore what it means to be the people of God, we have positioned these four symbols prominently to remind us of God’s faithfulness and where we find life, hope and our identity. The cross speaks of Jesus’ atoning death, the Font speaks of the new life he gives us through baptism, the Table speaks of our resurrected Savior who continues to gather us around his table of grace, and the Bible speaks of our source of authority and comfort as God speaks through his living word even today.
The 10 banners hanging in the sanctuary represent the messages in our series on Exodus. It is not just the spoken word but the creative, visual word that tells us of God’s love and faithfulness. See if you can guess which banner goes with which story! Many thanks to the team of Third artists who put them together: Mark Sprinkle, Holly Smith, Kathy Ames and Sarah Hale.