I have this friend. She’s great. We’re really close. I tell her everything – I tell her about my coworkers, my dreams, my family, my embarrassing moments – everything. She shares with me also. Like how the other day she told me she was moving and needed some help. I’m not too sure who she found to do it, because I was too busy to help. My friend and I also spend a lot of time together. A few months back she threw a party and I came. She did a TON of work planning. I just don’t have time like that. I think all that work caught up to her a few weeks ago when she got too sick to run her errands. Oh well, though. That’s life, isn’t it? But, anyway, we’re the best of friends. I love her sooooo much.
Speaking of errands, the Israelites’ to-do list has just filled up – and will remain that way for a few weeks! That’s because all hands were on deck in order to build the tabernacle. After months of talking and planning and perfecting the details, it was time to get started. Bezalel and Oholiab were the men in charge of this overwhelming task, but they weren’t the only ones working. Men, women and children stepped in to work. Night by night, the Israelites slept well, wiped out from the day’s labor. Day by day, they bent to their tasks again, and slowly, the tabernacle took shape.
The Treasures Within:
No One Left Behind
The picture painted in verses 4 – 29 of the Israelites coming together to work on the tabernacle is a really pretty one. You can just see them – moms going through their things with their kids, looking for jewelry to donate; young women setting up their spinning wheels in circles, laughing and talking as they spin curtains for the tabernacle; the sound of cutting and hammering echoing off the mountain walls as the men craft the sacred furniture. I bet it felt good, too. Everyone had a job. Everyone had something they could contribute to the tabernacle.
Imagine how big of a deal that was to some of them. Little Jaconiah, who was always overshadowed by his big brother Jacob, helped his mother dye rams’ skins for the tabernacle. Now whenever he felt overlooked, he could remember his part in building God’s new home. And there was Atarah, whose mother-in-law discovered and criticized every flaw she had, from her overcooked bread to her unswept tent. As she spun goat’s hair for God’s dwelling place, she felt appreciated and loved. There are missionaries, doctors, Sabbath School teachers, nurses, police officers, web developers and more who know how Atarah and Jaconiah felt. And there are so many, with so many skills, in so many places, who haven’t experienced what they have yet. But they can. Everyone has something they can do just for Jesus. There is a job for everyone.
You can spruce up your church’s website. He can help his church members with their taxes. She can design new church bulletins and tracts to pass out to the community. That’s awesome, but so what? Is it really necessary? The church is fine on its own most weeks. There are lots of ministries and organizations that are functioning great without my help. And what if I’m busy? What if I’m in grad school? What if my job drives me up the wall and I need the little free time I can get to just relax and keep from going insane?
Well, why did the Israelites? In verse 21, after Moses has explained to the people all that is needed for the tabernacle, the Bible says that “everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came”. The Israelites took a moment, thought about what Moses had to say, and then they began to feel a tug, a desire simmering within them. They thought about the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt. The Lord who saved them from a bloody war with the Egyptians and parted a sea instead. The God who gave them food when they were hungry, water when they were thirsty, and mercy when they didn’t deserve it. They thought about that Man, their God. They loved Him. And so they came and served. The reason we serve God, when we could be doing anything else, when we’re tired, when it doesn’t seem to make a difference, when we could get paid better somewhere else, is because we love Him.
God’s Message To Us:
“You are alive because there is still something for you to do.” Love is the reason we serve Jesus. So if I find myself doing the opposite of serving God, doing my own thing, then the reason for that must be the opposite of love. The scary thing about that is that no one really knows that there is a problem but me. I can say I love God with all my heart. I can go to church and stand during praise and worship and wave my hands. I can even read my Bible and come to Bible study and pray every single day. But how can I claim to love Someone who I do nothing for? I have to be lying. Luckily, God has given me time. My lungs are still working. My heart is still beating. That means I can still serve. That means I can still love. And that means that the Giver of life still wants me to experience those things. So I will. Will you?
What do you think? What would you have done to help build the tabernacle if you were an Israelite? What message is God sending you through the words in this chapter?