Exodus 25:2 “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.”
Today we look at what the Lord says to Moses, telling him to speak to the Children of Israel, concerning an offering (namely the offering for building the temple and the ark of the covenant). Today’s verse reminds us once more, that the Lord God never changes. Some honestly have the tendency to believe God has changed between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Yet He most certainly has not changed. As He says of Himself in His Word, in Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I change not; . . .” Men change as often as the days change to nights, but God remains the same, Today, Yesterday, and Forever!
The God of the Old Testament, is the same God who is of the New Testament! In the Old Testament God did not want works, but wanted our hearts, today it is the same thing (yet remembering that if we bring our hearts, good works will reflect that, therefore we must bring forth fruit meet for repentance)! Some may believe that God was mean in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament God is nice and merciful (and some would VERY wrongly say, tolerant of men’s sins). However, He has not changed. If anything though, the Lord was more merciful in the Old Testament than He is in the New Testament! Think of it all, as being in school. In early school if a child misbehaved, he or she would get punish work, or would get in trouble by the teacher, or sent to the Principal’s Office. As the child goes through school and gets older, the punishment can become Suspension from school. Now . . . in College, the child (now an adult) is not given that punish work . . . If the student misbehaves, the teacher (or Professor) simply tells that student to leave the classroom and not come back. Therefore the student does not get credit for that class at all (and can lose the money he or she spent for that class)! Or think of it as, again, a parent and child. When the child is young, the parent punishes the child when he or she does wrong. Then as a teenager the child is not punished in the way the young child is punished (as a young child may be told to sit in “time-out” many times, before the child is then punished by not being allowed to play with toys or something they enjoy doing), but now the Teenager will simply be punished by being restricted from going somewhere they want to go, or doing something they want to do. Then, when the child is an adult, the parent does not punish the son or daughter, because they should, by this time, know better! If they do something wrong, well they will suffer the consequences with the authorities or whomever they did wrong to. Think about this for a moment, Maybe it’s just me, but wouldn’t we like it if God sent down Michael the Archangel to come and slap us when we do something wrong, or God send down lightning and strike us close to dead (but not dead) when we misbehave? Personally, I know many times I would want that because it sure would make me come to my senses faster and straighten up and stop being so hard-headed in disobedience! But, as the Lord would have it, we should know better by the Examples of men and women of old time, by the Lord Jesus, and by the Holy Spirit, and we shouldn’t need those “time-out” punishments.
That can be likened to how God is. In the Old Testament He “slapped their hands” when they did wrong. In the New Testament, God tells us what not to do, and if we disobey, we suffer the consequences of sin without “having our hands slapped” so-to-speak. This is because, when comparing the People of God in the Old Testament and we His People in the New Testament, WE should know better by now. We are “old” enough to know better. This is because we have the examples of those in the Old Testament that we can read what happened when they did this or that, and how they handled things—whether handled well or not. We also have Jesus our Lord and Saviour to teach us His Word as well. We also have been given God’s Spirit in abundance to live inside us and help us live according to His Word! We, are more without excuse than ever before. This can be understood pretty much, by the Word of God in Galatians 3:24-25 and even in Acts 17:30 “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.”
Now, getting into today’s actual verse, let’s understand that when God commanded the people of Israel to bring Him offerings, He was not forcing them. As mentioned yesterday even, He wasn’t necessarily interested in the offerings (though He was interested in those who would give the Proper offerings in Obedience). In the building of the Temple and the Ark of the Covenant as He gave directions for how to build, He did not command that everyone contribute to the offering, but rather said, “of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.”
The Lord is more concerned with our desire to Love Him and obey Him. This is why we read in the Psalms in Psalm 50:8-15 “I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” Psalm 51:16-17 “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
If we do something for the Lord, but do not want to, or we do it out of spite or anger . . . then that thing we did for the Lord, is not accepted by Him. We might as well have not done it. I would rather have One Brother or One Sister Standing with me, working for the Lord, whose heart is truly set to follow Him and learn from the Word of God to live for Him, than Twenty men and women who are only willing to help the Work of the Lord when it is convenient to them, and have no desire to study the Word of God. (Yet always remembering that if the Lord says not to do something, or to do something, and we don’t obey but excuse ourselves by saying, “I had good intentions,” then it is not good enough. God has lifted His WORD, His Truth, His Law, His Commandments and Promises, above His Name even, and therefore if we have such “good intentions” then we need to make sure we know and obey His Word completely: Psalm 138:2 “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” Disobedience done with “good intentions” is still disobedience. As a truthful quote says: “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”)
Simply put, we read in today’s verse, how the Lord instructed Moses to take up an offering for the Lord, but that the offering be not forced on anyone, but voluntary. The Offering for the building of the temple, with the Holy Place and Holy of Holies, and the Ark of the Covenant . . . all the work of the Lord, was to be taken from those whose hearts were willing to give. This is the same today, as we are told in 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” Praise God for His Grace!
I love you dearly with brotherly love, and continue to keep you in my prayers! I pray that we continue in His Word as He leads and guides us every day. I pray we never cease from learning from the Lord. May God Bless you always, and you have a wonderful day today!
Love in Christ, Always,
Your friend forever,
Psalm 57:1 “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”