The nation is given an opportunity to GIVE
After a humiliating and harsh rebuke from God for breaking the covenant, Israel is given a chance at redemption. Even in failure and punishment, God is merciful and redemptive. Forty days earlier Israel had willingly given their gold to Aaron to make an idol. Now they are asked to willingly give to God for their place of worship—the tabernacle. The ironic thing about this offering was that God had given it all to them through the Egyptians when they left Egypt (Ex. 12:35, 36)! Sadly, some Israelites who had been slaves with almost nothing six months earlier were not moved to give back to God at all. All possessions belong to God before we get it and belong to Him after we leave it—it’s up to us in how we invest it. Everyone has a something to give and opportunities to give it. Believers must look for every chance to bless others with God’s blessing. To be able to give is a gift, to be able to bless others is a blessing. Believers are overseers of God’s property not owners (Matt. 25:15-30).
The nation responds with overwhelming GENEROSITY
The people give their time: everyone who saw God’s work as a priority sacrificed their time to make it happen. Everyone has equal amounts of time in the day from God and opportunities to serve Him must take precedence. The people give their talent: all those who had skill in a particular area stepped forward to do it. Not all people are gifted the same and they must use their abilities to bless others with the skill God gives them. The people give their treasure: gold, silver, bronze, jewelry, gems, colored thread, colored linen, animal skins, wood, oil and spices. Owning these would be vital to social status and bartering or trading power yet they give freely to God. All gifts of God are to be managed not amassed. God could have demanded the offering but wanted generosity as the foundation for His place of worship. Israel is challenged to ‘open-handed living’ and they respond joyfully. In fact, they give so generously they are told to stop giving! It is more blessed to give than receive and God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). The quality of the heart determines the quality and quantity of the gift (Luke 21:3, 4). As Israel worshipped each week, those with generous hearts saw their offering used to honor God. As no one can out-give God, thankfulness to Him is measured in generosity (2 Sam. 24:24; Prov. 14:31)!