Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part II: God's Sustainment Of Israel In The Wilderness Wanderings Amid Humanly Hopeless Trials
S. Trusting God's Provisions By God's Freewill Offerings
(Exodus 35:4-36:7)
  1. Introduction
    1. For decades now at Nepaug Church, our leaders have not pressed the congregation to give to our offering boxes at the back of the sanctuary. Rather, seeking to heed 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, God's giving program for the Church era, people have been directed to give freewill offerings as the Lord has motivated them.
    2. At times, some have suggested this system can not work for long without some pressure being exerted by our leaders; after all, not all members are mature, and it is felt they thus may need some prodding, and the Church needs are as varied as they are great. Yet, Exodus 35:4-36:7 in its context proves otherwise:
  2. Trusting God's Provisions By God's Freewill Offerings, Exodus 35:4-36:7.
    1. The "giving program" instituted by the Lord in Exodus 35:4-29 was instituted to a group of people who were spiritually quite immature, a fact we readily glean from the passage's extended context (as follows):
      1. The people whom God had Moses instruct to give freely for the tabernacle construction had fallen into extensive idolatry when Moses had left them for only forty days, Exodus 24:18 with 32:1-6.
      2. Several times since the mighty deliverance of Israel by God at the Red Sea (Ex. 14) had the nation faithlessly complained about a lack of basic food or water provisions, Ex. 15:22-24; 16:1-3; 17:1-2.
      3. Accordingly, Moses had to intercede with God to keep Him from destroying them, Exodus 32:10-14.
    2. Nevertheless, the giving program from that group for the tabernacle was to be a freewill one: each was to bring what articles he had that were needed for the tabernacle as he was motivated, Ex. 35:4-5, 29.
    3. In fact, the giving needs were multifaceted, but all of them were to be addressed, Exodus 35:5b-29:
      1. First of all, the wide variety of items needed for the tabernacle are named in Exodus 35:5b-9:
        1. The tabernacle required precious and semiprecious metals of gold, silver and bronze, Ex. 35:5b.
        2. Blue, purple and scarlet colored yarns were needed for the extensive tabernacle tapestries, 35:6a.
        3. Fine linen, goats' hair, rams' skins dyed red, sea cow skins and acacia wood were required, 35:6b-7.
        4. Olive oil, spices and sweet incense were also needed for various parts of the ministry, Exodus 35:8.
        5. The tabernacle construction took precious stones for the high priest's ephod and breastplate, 35:9.
      2. Second, the parts of the tabernacle to be built were equally varied in form and function, Ex. 35:10-19.
    4. However, the people all left Moses and returned as their hearts motivated them to bring all these things, Ex. 35:20-21. Exodus 35:22a, 22b-29 relates that though it was a patristic culture, even the women with the men were moved to prepare and bring things they had for the construction of the Lord's tabernacle!
    5. Once the freewill giving program was instituted, Moses told the people how God had gifted Bezaleel and his assistant, Aholiab, to head up the various craftsmen who would work under them to construct all of the tabernacle, so the people knew to whom they were to bring the construction materials, Exodus 35:30-36:3:
    6. Then, as the giving proceeded, so much of every area of goods arrived from the people that the complaint arose to Moses that the workmen had far too many goods, Exodus 36:4-5: Exodus 36:4 reports that all of the many craftsmen under Bezaleel and Aholiab were all so overwhelmed by the amount of donated materials they each had been given that they all asked Moses to stop the giving program, Exodus 36:4-5!
    7. Accordingly, Moses made a proclamation throughout the entire camp of Israel, directing that no one, man or woman, was to give any more goods, Exodus 36:6-7. Note how this passage notes the people had to be restrained from giving all they wanted to donate as what had been given was too much!
Lesson: When God instituted the freewill offering method of acquiring the goods to be used in the construction of the tabernacle, though the congregation was not in any way spiritually mature, and though the areas of need for the tabernacle were vastly diverse, God so moved in the hearts of everyone that more than what could be used was given, and that in every realm of initial need!

Application: Missionary to China, Hudson Taylor once said, "God's work done in God's way will not lack God's supply!" May we TRUST GOD to MOVE His people to give to meet the needs of His work and workmen regardless of the diversity of the needs involved and the immaturity of the givers!