Exodus 35:20-29; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Moses descended Mount Sinai following the second period of forty days with tablets on which the Lord had written the Ten Commandments. The Israelites saw the tablets containing the commandments and listened as Moses told them the other commands the Lord had spoken to him on Sinai.
Chapter 35 begins with the command to keep the Sabbath rest. The Lord gave them freedom to work six days of the week, but He commanded that the seventh should be a day set apart for His glory and worship.
Moses told the people that the Lord also commanded that they give offerings for the building of a tabernacle, the place of His glory and presence in the camp.
The Lord, who owns everything and can do anything, sought offerings from the people for the tabernacle. He could easily have produced building materials far more grand than any they could offer, but instead required these materials from Israel. The Lord desires for people to provide offerings to Him out of what He has provided. The offerings were opportunities for Israel to glorify the Lord.
There is something that goes a little deeper, and it is that an offering should make people think about our heavenly Father’s heart. An offering is very much a part of our worship, and something is missing from worship when there has been no offering.
For Israel, the Lord made it possible for everyone to make offerings for the tabernacle’s construction. There were offerings of valuable items alongside offerings of something as simple and inexpensive as goat’s hair, according to the Scripture. The Lord also gave opportunities for them to make offerings to Him through their time and talents.
Throughout this chapter in Exodus, it is obvious the Lord wanted people to give from hearts that were willing and stirred up. An offering, after all, is a gift of love. The Lord did not want Israel to view their offerings as obligations.
With that in mind, we have a wider understanding of Paul’s writing to the church at Corinth. There is the law of sowing and reaping, Paul said. When we sow sparingly, we will reap sparingly. And the opposite of this is also true. Sowing liberally means we will reap liberally. This is true in the life of the farmer and it is true spiritually in the lives of believers.
Again, we see giving as a part of worship. Paul said a man ought to give “as he purposeth in his heart.” The Holy Spirit is the One who puts that purpose in a heart. We give as we listen to His leading, and when we give ungrudgingly, it is pleasing to God who loves a cheerful giver.
In giving, we remember our Father and worship Him who “spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. He can be reached at [email protected]