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Gifts for the Tabernacle: Lessons for Us

Lessons Christians can learn from the gifts for the tabernacleThe Israelites gave generous gifts to provide for the Old Testament tabernacle. Christians can learn useful lessons about our giving to support the work of the church.

Exodus chapters 25 and 35 describe the gifts the people of Israel brought to build the tabernacle. Consider lessons we can learn.

The Israelites’ Gifts for the Tabernacle

Instructions about the gifts

Exodus 25:1,2 – God told Moses to instruct the children of Israel to bring an offering to build the tabernacle. “From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.” The purpose of the offering was to make a sanctuary so God would dwell among them (verse 8).

Exodus 35:5 – “Take from among you an offering to the Lord. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to the Lord .

Exodus 35:21 describes the result: “Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord's offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting ...” (compare verse 29).

Observations about the gifts

1) The people gave generously because they gave willingly from the heart. They were instructed to give, but they responded generously because they wanted to give.

2) The people gave with a willing heart because they viewed their gifts as an offering to the Lord. The immediate purpose was to build a place of worship to God. But the people viewed their offerings as gifts to God Himself.

Our Gifts for the Church

God’s temple today is the church.

Ephesians 2:19-22 – We are members of the household of God … in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

This temple is not a physical building but a spiritual building. It is the household or family of God. It is the dwelling place of God spiritually. Under the gospel God does not dwell in a physical temple or tabernacle, but He dwells in the hearts of those who are part of His family, the church.

In this temple we should give with good attitudes like the Israelites did.

1 Corinthians 16:1,2 teaches us to give financially to support the work of the church. We should give like Israel did in building the Old Testament Tabernacle.

1) 2 Corinthians 8:12 – We should give from a willing mind.

2) We should view our gifts as an offering to the Lord.

Matthew 25:40,45 – Jesus explained that, when we do good works for the benefit of other people, Jesus views them as works done for Him.

So, the money that is given to support the church accomplishes specific works such as supporting preachers, spreading the gospel, and providing a place to meet. But we should look beyond the specific works to realize that we are giving to honor God. We are giving, not just to people, but to God because it is the work of God.

So let us give generously with a willing heart to please and honor God.

(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2020

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