A Generous Heart (35:5)
It is beautiful to see how God allowed Israel to give for the building of the tabernacle. God did not prescribe a specific gift or a specific amount. God called on people to give out of their character – “whoever is of a generous heart (ESV).” People were called on to give a wide variety of gifts. They did not have to have one certain thing to be able to contribute.
Reflection One: Do you have the character of a generous heart? Giving is an exercise intended to make us more like our generous, joyous God. When we give under compulsion we might obey the law, but miss the intent. God does not need our stuff. We need to be more like God. That is how we celebrate God through giving – we love and strive for God’s character more than we love and cling to our possessions.
Reflection Two: Have you considered what you have to give? In Exodus 35, this is not a tithe offering, but a free will offering. When you read through the list there are gifts that could be given by families of most any trade. Examine your life – skills, possessions, time, relationships, opportunities, etc… — what do you have to contribute to God’s work? Resist the urge to weight some gifts (i.e., gold or silver) as more important than other gifts (i.e., goats hair or ram skins), because they are in the same list and contribute to the same cause.
Who Is Bezalel?
If you haven’t noticed Bezalel is the star of the next several chapters of Exodus. For a character of Scripture who gets multiple chapters of attention, there may be few people that we notice less. Notice his introduction.
A proper listing of his family heritage
Filled with the Spirit of God
Filled with Skill, Intelligence, and Knowledge
We would think we were meeting Joshua (Moses’ successor), but the passage continues.
Filled with All Craftsmanship (with specific listings)
Inspired to Teach (artistic skills)
It is encouraging to see God give such attention to this work. Bezalel was not the prophet, priest, deliverer, or leader. Charleston Heston never auditioned for his part in the movie (if he even had a part in the movie). Yet God gives him no less credit or attention. In light of Bezalel, consider the following questions.
- Who in your life or the life of your church needs to receive more credit for their role?
- How do you think of the service they provide and the gifting that enables their service?
- How does their effort contribute to the worship of God’s people and the impact on the community?
- How could your appreciation be expressed in a way that highlights God’s hand on their life?
We serve a great God who never misses any service offered to His kingdom. Let us strive to be more like our God in noticing and encouraging His servants.
Givers, Gifts, and The Giver (35:32-25)
We serve a God who wastes nothing. It is important to note that for all the gifts collected in Exodus 35:5-9 that God also provided a suitable craftsman. Often it is said, “We cannot out give God.” This is true, but it applies to more than the sacrifice behind our gift. Whatever we give to God, He is able to use.
As you thought through the second reflection above, what things did you list and subtly laugh to yourself, “What would God do with that?” I would ask that you be willing to offer that to God and pray that God would show you more of His wisdom and power in how He uses that gift for His kingdom. Make it a regular matter of prayers.
When God creates the opportunity to use your gift, be willing to share that testimony with your church or group. Share this passage, your initial thoughts, your doubts, your faith, and the fruit God created. Use the testimony to draw attention to God’s ability to permeate the seemingly insignificant details of our lives for His glory and our joy.