God Provides Abundantly

Exodus 35:20-36:7 

The church in recent history on quite a pendulum ride, oscillating between extremes of emotional enthusiasm and intellectual dryness. Neither extreme good for health of the church – strong emphasis on mind and intellect tends to promote doctrine at the expense of love for others in daily practice. At opposite end of spectrum, appeals to emotions and showing love for fellow man often lead to diminished care and attention to sound doctrine. Neither extreme is accurate representation of model found in God’s Word the Bible.

God’s intention is that his people be totally involved in service to him, fully committed – thinking, feeling, doing – for God out of love for him. Several words repeated in our text, are important concepts that deserve close attention. One is ‘heart”, appearing 12x in these verses. As you probably guessed, not referring to 4-chambered muscle of amazing design God has placed in each humna being. Helpful description from Dr. K:

“The heart is a figure of speech that stands for the very core of man’s being, the very radix of his personality, the very hub of his nature, and the very essence of his I-ness. …In Scripture the heart is the spiritual center of the embodied human soul. It is the wellspring from which all of life and its activities originates, takes its cue, and receives its propulsion, spiritual as well as physical. As such it is also the seat and subject of the three internal functions of thinking, willing and feeling. It may neither be divorced from them, nor be identified with them, whether with one at a time or with all of them simultaneously. To do so would unacceptably blur the biblical teaching.” Krabbendam, Sovereignty and Responsibility

When God’s people are committed to loving God with heart, soul, mind, strength and are all engaged in his work, only eternity will tell whole story of what God will accomplish.

People heard God’s message from Moses, went back to their tents. From what is described next, is clear more going on than simply fellow with shining face lecturing crowd of people. Many of those who were there and went away came back different, changed from what they were before. Again, Dr. K, “the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart”.

A. matter of the heart

stirred hearts

more than just emotional response – everyone can identify experience… e.g. 5-Kleenex weepie kind of movie, one of wonders of the world, surprise birthday/anniversary remembrance

think about this – how long did your response to that experience last? what follow-on life-altering decision came from it?

if you are like most, remember it fondly… brag about it to friends… or on facebook… reminisce about it… rest of life stays pretty much same old

to action – not so for Hebrew children: had plans how they intended to use time, talent, treasure… all radically changed, within short time, without whining or complaining

no sales pitches, no robocalls, no roadside signs – went home and then came back with their hands full… of supplies, skills

both way of feeling and thinking changed, was demonstrated by action – no action, no real internal change

by outside influence – not case of talking to self, convincing self to do what was suggested… had already shown natural bent

for desires and choices to be directed away from loyalty to an idol toward something else required action by outside agent

NOTE: much as we desire and encourage friends / loved ones to change desires, choices, that kind of stirred heart can only be achieved by finger of God

willing hearts

to give –  when God is at work stirring up hearts of his people, needs of others take priority – in this case, was need of entire worshiping community, building portable worship center where God would meet with his people

God covered all the bases: gave people awareness of need, supplies to meet need, desire to address need, willingness to contribute toward meeting need

God’s people whose hearts God has stirred motivated by love for God to act because they want to do so – not for reward from God or people but because want to please the one they love, will use any opportunity to show love

wise hearts

to work – some had hearts “stirred with wisdom” – they had particular God-given skills that could be put to work at all stages

those who want to be involved hands-on in God’s work need other than human wisdom to meet expectations God has for his agenda, for advance of Gospel / Christ’s kingdom

NOTE: God’s work must be done in dependence on God’s wisdom if we are to expect God’s blessing – our wisdom not enough

B. and the hand

when advances his program, begins with hearts of his people, engages their minds, accomplishes his purpose through their hands

and… he uses people from all walks of life, all levels of society in his program – leaders and followers, men and women, old and young

generous hands

more than enough – not just a one-time offering, became daily practice: bringing offering continually each morning

didn’t bring little, ask “will that do, is that enough?” – stirred willing hearts are motivated to give lavishly, not foolishly

brought right things to right people to do what God intended, each one generous to extent of his/her ability

had to be told to stop – notice how God worked it out: make the need known, God stirs peoples’ hearts, they give w/o coercion until need is met

the way some Christian radio / TV personalities talk about money, would think every 10 verses in Bible must have something about tithing… hmm, not in my Bible

skilled hands

God lined up workers with two kinds of skilled hands – practiced and potential… those who had already worked in the field, those who had latent ability not yet tapped

already trained – those who had the skills already practiced, used in workplace, necessary for all the different kinds of work

ones who could work to a blueprint – give print with dimensions, specifications, they could bring to completion w/minimal supervision – good work ethic, too

already had tools, brought from Egypt, or knowledge/ability to make tools necessary to make required parts for Tabernacle

desiring and willing to learn – apprentices not singled out but… Bezalel and Aholiab equipped by God to teach others

shouldn’t slide over that point: “equpped by God” – see Ex. 36:1 – ” in whom the LORD has put wisdom and understanding”

probably all had what we call natural talent, the ability someone has to pick up a tool, intuitively know basics of how to use

but what set these workmen apart – were specially equipped by God for “work for the service of the sanctuary”

working hands

already employed – most described as “gifted artisans”, not professional students – had used their skills, had portfolio, callouses

could have done their part with contributing supplies, lion’s share of their gift to God’s work the labor of their hands

still true about God’s work today – need willing workers to be actively involved, using God-given skills and abilities for Him

knew how to work – far greater problem today than Moses’ time, as each day passes fewer people either know how or have desire to work

is only “natural” since Creator designed man for work, those he calls to do his work will know how (or learn) and desire to work and receive joy from doing good work

C. for the Lord

an offering to the Lord

transaction between individual and God – no one standing there at the collection point giving out receipts, making entries in a ledger… no list of donors published at the end

were not interested in personal recognition, no intention to make comparisons – and remember what Jesus said about the widow… gave the least..and the most

freely given according to heart’s desire… from what they had – gave what they wanted to give without restraint, or much consideration for tomorrow

already knew from experience could expect God to supply adequate food for tomorrow… when tomorrow came

for the Lord’s work

not a spec house – everyone knew worship space to be built because God said so, and he intended to use it to live with them

supplies brought, work done not for personal benefit of any individual involved present or future – entirely God’s work

nor Moses’ plan to leave a legacy – church not immune to such things: Herod’s Temple or Crystal Cathedral e.g.

according to the Lord’s direction

he directed the giving… and directed use of the gifts – from start to finish, was all the Lord’s work… abundantly providing materials, skills, motivation, desires for good of his people and his own glory

empowered by the Spirit of the Lord

necessary at all levels of involvement – from Moses and Bezalel and Aholiab right through ranks of all involved, was work of God’s Spirit – inciting, equipping, empowering his people for the work

God’s work done God’s way in God’s time by the directing and empowering of God’s Spirit will accomplish God’s purpose. Say again. Our task: make sure we are fully on-board – doing God’s work, not our own. His way, not our own. Directed and empowered by his Spirit. Satisfied that God has good purpose.

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