MANNA FROM MY FATHER’S HAND # 9
(Originally posted June 29, 2023)
What Are You Bringing?
What are you bringing to the Table, the Tabernacle or the Temple? Whatever imagery or word you use, the question is–what has the Lord placed within you that He would have you offer as a gift to Him to build up His body?
Recently, reading in Exodus, a few passages hit me about our offerings unto Him.
First, in Exodus 25:1-8 (ESV) the LORD tells Moses to have the people take up a contribution from “every man whose heart moves him”. The items were things like “…gold, silver and bronze, blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins, goatskins, acacia wood, oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones, and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece.”
These were all items that were used in making the Tabernacle and the various associated items and clothing that the LORD required.
In Exodus 31:2-6 (ESV), the LORD also said “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you:…” Then the LORD recounts all the items and clothing that He required, that they would be making.
Offering what we want or what He wants?
Now, after the LORD had told this to Moses the first time, the people had their epic fail in Exodus 32 (while Moses had been up on the mountain receiving all the good words from the LORD). They made a contribution alright. They contributed their gold, and Aaron fashioned the golden calf (and later even said to Moses in verse 32:24 that he threw the gold into the fire and “out came this calf”). Wow, do our own desires to offer and make what WE want get us sidetracked and lead us down the path AWAY from the LORD!
Later, the words about what they were SUPPOSED to bring and offer are again reiterated in Exodus 35:5-10.
I pondered these words of God’s intention for them, realizing that each person brought something different. Not everyone had gold, silver or bronze. Some had blue yarn, some had scarlet yarn or fine twined linen. Some had goatskins; some oil. Some were called by name as having been given very specific skills, ability and intelligence to do the fine work that would be accomplished. No one person had ALL those things; they were to contribute what they DID have and generously desired to offer.
And, the work was done…. In fact, the people willingly brought so many offerings that in Exodus 36:5-6, Moses was asked to tell the people to stop the contributions since they had received more than enough to complete the work.
Later in the Old Testament, the Temple was built, being a similar structure, but one that was less portable of course, and more permanent (until it was destroyed).
In the New Testament, Jesus makes reference to Himself as the “Cornerstone” (Matthew 21:42), and both Peter and Paul use imagery that speaks of being built up into His Temple. In 1 Peter 2:4-5 ESV, “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
In Ephesians 2:19-21, Paul says: “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together grows into a holy temple in the Lord.”
In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul compares each of our bodies to a “tent” in which we groan, until that day when our “building from God” is our eternal abode. In some ways we are similar to that tabernacle, moving from place to place as the Holy Spirit leads and guides us.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul goes into detail about us being built up as His Temple:
“For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw–each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy and you are that temple.”
(1 Corinthians 3:9-17 ESV)
Gold, Silver and Precious Stones
When he refers to “gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw”, it reminded me of the items that were originally requested for building the tabernacle way back in Exodus. Of course, they were NOT asked to build with wood, hay or straw, and all of THOSE things, indeed would burn up in a fire. The “Day” of the Lord will reveal (by fire) what would last into that eternal “building from God” mentioned in 2 Corinthians.
So, as we consider how to encourage those around us in the Body of Christ “and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25b), what are you bringing to the Table, the Tabernacle … the Temple? What is the Lord calling you to offer to Him as He builds up His eternal Building? Gold, silver, scarlet yarn, fine twined linen, goats’ hair, acacia wood, oil, spices, talents, prayers, good words, helping your brethren, etc. etc. etc.?
Are we offering what WE want to offer without asking Him first what HE wants (resulting in more of a golden calf or something that will be burned up the moment the fire on that Day begins)? Or are we building upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, glorifying His name, being His hands and feet?
Lord Jesus, please show each of us EXACTLY what YOU desire for us to bring as an offering to You as You build up Your Body, Your precious Bride of Christ (the Church), Your eternal Building….