Exodus 35-40

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 11, 2008


Moses has spent most of the last three months up on the mountain in God’s presence.

He’s received instructions on how to build the Tabernacle and how God is to be worshipped.

When the people rebelled with the Golden Calf, Moses interceded and reestablished the covenant between God and Israel.

Now it’s time to stop talking and start doing.

It’s time to build the Tabernacle.

Exodus 35

:1 Then Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said to them, "These are the words which the LORD has commanded you to do:

:2 "Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.

:3 "You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day."


Commit to rest before you work

Some of us see a lot of work ahead and all we can think about is rolling up our sleeves and getting to work.
First there’s a quick reminder to set aside time to rest and be with God.
I find it interesting that when Moses was on Mount Sinai the first time, just before he came down God reminded him about the Sabbath (Ex. 31:12-17) – he was about to build and God said “rest”.  Except he got interrupted with the golden calf.
Don’t forget why all this work needs to be done.
These people are learning to develop a relationship with God.
The work is all about that relationship.
One of the challenges I’ve been dealing with in my life is with prayer.
Most people don’t have a difficult time seeing that the “work” that I do for a living is one that involves spiritual things.

Spiritual work requires that we do things spiritually.  Smart, huh?  What that means is that I need to be a man of prayer.  I need to have this prayer thing figured out.

In reality, all of us are in this same “spiritual work”.

We are here on this planet to serve the Lord.  We are His hands and feet.  Spiritual work requires spiritual power.  Pray.  Find that rest in the Lord before you work.

:4 And Moses spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, "This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying:

: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: gold, silver, and bronze;

Moses goes on to list all the various things that are going to be needed to build the Tabernacle.  It wasn’t just about gold, but about the things to build the Tabernacle.

offering[email protected] – contribution; from ruwm – to rise; to lift off and present

It’s what you lift up and present to the Lord.


Giving to God

We’re going to talk about giving this morning.
I hope that no matter what kind of giving God would challenge us with, we would see all our giving as giving to God.
When you give to the poor, you are giving to God.
(Prov 19:17 NKJV)  He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, And He will pay back what he has given.

:6 'blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats' hair;

:7 'ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood;

Moses goes on to list all the various parts of the Tabernacle, things that need materials and need to be built.


Giving what’s needed

Every once in a while we get offers from people that they want to give various things to the church.
I’m sure each of the folks have meant well.
But some of the things aren’t exactly what is needed.

For example, several times we’ve had folks offer or actually donate an “organ” (the musical instrument)

I’ve been thinking about providing “organ donor cards”.

The things that are being given here are things that are needed to build the Tabernacle, not just emptying their closets for Spring Cleaning.

:20 And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses.

:21 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, for all its service, and for the holy garments.

(Exo 35:21 NASB)  And everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the LORD'S contribution …

stirrednasa’ – to lift, carry, take;

It wasn’t their heart that was moved, but their heart that did the moving.

willingnadab – to incite, impel, make willing

Again, the spirit of these people impelled them to give.

The only arm twisting that’s going on is how they’re twisting their own arms.


The Willing Heart

Be careful here.  Don’t let your unwilling heart be your excuse not to be a giver.
Change your heart.  Be a person who becomes a willing giver.
Paul teaches an important lesson about giving:
(2 Cor 9:7 NKJV)  So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

grudginglylupe – sorrow, pain, grief, annoyance

Sometimes we give because we want this person to stop being a “pain” to us.  We give so they’ll go away.

of necessityanagke – necessity; from agkale – the curve or inner angle of the arm, the bent arm

Perhaps we could call this getting “strong-armed”, or perhaps the picture is of someone getting you in a headlock.

cheerfulhilaros (“hilarious”) – cheerful, joyous; from hileos – merciful

Kurt Warner, the two-time NFL MVP quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals, started a family tradition he calls The Restaurant Game. The night before he heads out for a road game, Kurt and his wife take their seven children out to eat a family dinner. Once the Warner family is seated, one of the children will scan the dining area like a quarterback looking for potential receivers. When the Warner child picks a table, Kurt asks the waiter to add that table’s dinner tab to his own—all anonymously. At a steakhouse before a September game against the New York Jets, a family of four received a free meal without knowing it came from an NFL star.
The idea for The Restaurant Game came to Warner and his wife after Warner led the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl victory in 2000. It’s a natural fit for them. They remember the days before Warner’s NFL career—when Kurt was working a night shift at a grocery store, and they only had food stamps to feed their family. With that in mind, giving is a joyful family tradition for the Warners. “We want our kids to grow up knowing that because of football we are blessed,” Warner said. “We never want them to lose sight of what it’s really about. Our circumstances are not the most important thing. It’s what we do with those circumstances.”
Warner’s motto for life and ministry is “Faith and Family First.” The Restaurant Game is one way he’s passing that motto on to his children. When they go out to eat, they always pray and pick up someone’s dinner bill before they enjoy their own.

Sam McKee, Vancouver, Washington; source: Karen Crouse, "Warner Sets Example for His Family and the Cardinals," www.nytimes.com (9-26-08)

Why be a “giver”?
Because God is a giver.  He’s a willing giver.

(John 3:16 NKJV)  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

(2 Cor 8:9 NKJV)  For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

You may think that I’m talking about giving because I want you to give to our church.  Then don’t give to our church, but learn to give.
God is looking for people who will represent Him well.  One of the key qualities of God’s character is that of giving.  His love for us is expressed in His giving.
Kevin Miller writes, When I was a kid, my dad told me two stories all the time. In the first one, a couple goes to Harvard University and asks to see the president, because they want to give a donation to the university. The president agrees to see them, but he doesn’t know them, and because they’re from somewhere way out west, he treats them curtly. After a few moments, the woman finally turns to her husband and says, “Come, Leland; I think there are better things we can do with our money.” The man was Leland Stanford, founder (with his wife) of Stanford University. Even as a child, I understood that the moral of this story was not, “Be nice to strangers.” Instead, this story was about who has real power. The moral is, “If you have money, you can tell anyone—even the most established, respected, or powerful person in the world—to go take a flying leap.”
The second story my father used to tell me went like this: One day a minister was invited to John D. Rockefeller’s mansion. As he drove up the winding drive lined with tall trees, he said, “My, my! This is what the Lord might have done—if he’d had the money.”  As a child, I understood the moral of this story, too. The minister, who represents belief in God, is overwhelmed by Rockefeller’s wealth. Not only that, he says God himself doesn’t have as much money as Rockefeller. Implicit in this claim is that he doesn’t have as much power, either. Rockefeller is more powerful than God, because money is more powerful than God.
As you might guess from the stories my dad told me growing up, he spent most of his life working really hard to make money. But then he made a tactical error. My mom and I were going to an Episcopal Church service, and he decided to come along. The priest was full of old-time religion, and he gave an altar call. Something connected with my dad that day, and he went forward and began to follow Jesus. He was 60-years-old. He began to read a small, blue King James Bible, and for the first time in his life, he began giving with real interest. He told me, in what was a rare sharing of his personal life, “Kevin, I’ve started to tithe, and it’s been a great adventure.”
My dad suffered a heart attack at age 70. He lay in a hospital bed for 5 days, and then he died. At the funeral home, they laid him in a casket with his navy blazer and a Lands’ End tie. A woman I’d never seen came up to me and said, “You don’t know me, but I was in a bad marriage; my husband was beating me, and I needed to get out to save my life. But I didn’t know what I would do to support myself. Your dad paid for me to go to junior college and get a degree, so I could be a dental hygienist. He paid for the whole thing, and nobody else knew about it. Now I have a job, and I’m making it. Your dad literally saved my life.”
I wonder what would have been my dad’s legacy if he had kept loving money and trying to be like Leland Stanford and John D. Rockefeller. He would have died with a lot of money, but not a lot of love. Instead, he took a risk. He tried to learn how to “keep his life free from the love of money.” And when he died, he left behind a woman who knows every day when she cleans people’s teeth that it’s a miracle she’s still alive.

Kevin Miller, in his sermon “Financial Contentment,” PreachingToday.com

:30 And Moses said to the children of Israel, "See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;

:31 "and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship,

:32 "to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze,

:33 "in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship.

:34 "And He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.

:35 "He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver; those who do every work and those who design artistic works.


Giving your skills

There were going to be a lot of very special things needed to be made.
Giving is not just about giving money, it’s about making all that we have available to the Lord.
Giving is not just about what you do for the church, it’s what you do for the Lord.
It might be mowing a neighbor’s lawn.
Taking a meal to a friend.
Fixing a friend’s car.
What do you have to offer the Lord?

Exodus 36

:1-7 More than enough

The people responded so well in giving that Moses had to beg them to stop.

:6 So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, "Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary." And the people were restrained from bringing,

:7 for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done; indeed too much.


Proper giving meets the need

When we learn to give under the leading of the Lord, there is more than enough.
Some of us have excuses as to why we don’t give.
“I don’t have enough to give”

I would remind you of the one person that Jesus commended on their giving as giving the most – the poor widow woman who gave two pennies (Luke 2:2-4).  The Israelites themselves are poor slaves.

“My arm is being twisted”.  Then don’t give.
Some of us are too easily swayed to give.
Every time we hear is some financial need, we feel like it’s our job to fix the problem.

The truth is sometimes we hinder things.

Some folks don’t need for you to take care of them, they need to take care of themselves.

What works out best is when we all learn to pay attention to how God wants us to give, and we respond to Him – not the other things that are twisting our arms or our minds.
What about us as a church?  How does giving work in our church?
If you’ve been a part of our church for some time you know that we try our best not to twist arms when it comes to giving.
How are we doing?
What are our expenses as a church?

We pay $52,800 a year in rent.

We pay about $10,000 a year in utilities.

I am the only full time staff person, my salary is $44,000 a year.

Laurie, Dave, Dan, and Joy are all part time, their salaries total about $54,000 a year.

Caleb, Daniel, and Deb are very part time, and earned a total of $12,000.

We have sent about $41,000 out to the sixteen different Mission groups that we support.

Our total expenses for the year were $259,000.

This year our income was about $246,000, about $22,000 less than the previous year – we too as a church are affected by the economy.

This year we are about $13,000 short of our expenses and so we are dipping into our savings to cover our costs.

Why am I sharing all this with you?
Because you’re a bad church and need to give more?  Nope.
An important part of discipleship is learning to examine needs, listen to the Lord, and respond to Him (not me).

If you feel I’m twisting your arm, hold on to your wallet.

If you feel guilty and think that our shortfall is all your fault, hold on to your wallet.

If you are beginning to wonder if that prompting you’ve been feeling from the Lord about giving has been correct, then do what God leads.

If you are giving properly, then we have all we need as a church.  If we are still falling short, then perhaps we need to tighten our belts.

36:8 – 39:43 Building

From here on out, we will see the actual building of the Tabernacle and all it’s parts.  Since we covered each of these items in detail in Exodus 25-31, we won’t go into the detail here.

The Tent itself is put together.

The Ark of the Covenant.

Table of Showbread


Altar of Incense

Oil and Incense

Altar of Burnt Offering


The Priestly Garments

38 :21-31 Precious Metals Accounted

(Exo 38:24 NKJV)  All the gold that was used in all the work of the holy place, that is, the gold of the offering, was twenty-nine talents and seven hundred and thirty shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.

More than a ton of gold was given.

Used in the furniture inside the Tabernacle like the Ark, the table, incense altar, and menorah

About four tons of silver was given.

Most of the silver was used for the bases for the Courtyard fence

About 2.5 tons of brass was given.

Used in the metal things outside the Tabernacle, like the laver and the altar of burnt offering.

Exodus 40

Moses sets up the whole Tabernacle and anoints every part with oil – a picture of the Holy Spirit being involved in everything.  When Moses is done, God responds:

(Exo 40:34-38 NKJV)  Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. {35} And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. {36} Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys. {37} But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up. {38} For the cloud of the LORD was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.


God’s presence in obedience

When Moses returned from Sinai the first time, the people had gone into idolatry with the golden calf.
God’s response was to stay as far away as possible.
Now the people have responded to all that God has been teaching them about who He is and how they are to relate to Him.
This time God responds with His presence.
Don’t confuse getting that bonus at work or buying that new car with God’s blessing.  Don’t think that because you lost your job that you must have some secret sin.
We don’t need financial prosperity.
We need God’s presence.

We may be heading into a time when very few are well off financially.  As long as we have the Lord, we’ll be okay.