An Invitation to Build God's House - Part 1
by Daniel Yahav
This teaching about God's people building together the Tabernacle, the house of God, Is a picture and an encouragement to all of us, to invest in the building of the spiritual house of God. It should encourage each and every member to contribute for the building of the House of God, each one according to their ability, as we are all part of God's people, called to take part in the spiritual building of the household of God. 'Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying, "Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution... And let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them" (Exodus 25:1-2,8)
God had given Moses the exact instructions how to build the Tabernacle of God, which would be the visual dwelling place of God among His people. Here was a unique opportunity for God's people, to give a freewill offering and thus take part in this great project of building the Tabernacle, God's dwelling place, which would serve many generations, and stand for several hundreds of years.
The children of Israel were a nation of slaves in Egypt, who owned nothing of any value. However, when they finally left, following the ten plagues, they had collected donations of gold, silver and fine clothes from their Egyptian neighbors. This was the first time they had ever owned anything beautiful or valuable in their lives. (Exodus 12:35)
Then quite soon came the announcement by Moses, that God was asking for voluntary donations in order to build the Tabernacle. Each one had to decide whether they were willing to give of their newly acquired treasures, or keep everything to themselves. Many gave joyfully and willingly, understanding that it was an opportunity to offer a spiritual offering to the Lord, an opportunity to be part of something greater that had value beyond the plain gold or silver or precious items they donated. It could also be a token of thanksgiving toward God, for all He had done for them, releasing them from the bondage of slavery. "And everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the Lord's contribution for the work of the tent of meeting..." (Exodus 35:21). But there were those who were reluctant, not eager to give up any of their possessions, and by the time they decided to give their contribution, they were told that no more was required. (Exodus 36:5-7) They had missed their opportunity to take part in the building of God's Tabernacle.
We should also ask ourselves, how much do we love our God and care about what is important to Him? Are we willing to give of our possessions, our time, our abilities, resources etc. for the building of God's kingdom, or are we just occupied with ourselves?
God sees our hearts and knows our thoughts better than we do, as Yeshua demonstrated while on earth - He knew exactly what was in the persons heart, what were the weak points and the secret motives. For the rich young ruler, Jesus said to give away everything (Luke 18:18-23) for Jesus knew that his riches were the idol in his heart, whereas for Zacchias it was sufficient to give half of his wealth to the poor, an act that demonstrated his change of heart (Luke 19:1-10). The poor widow on the other hand, gave her last two coins to the Lord and this was counted as more than the rich ever gave (Luke 21:1-4). Giving to God is all about what is going on in our heart.
In the process of building, there were many different materials and skills needed, thus everyone could contribute something, and have part in the joint project. Naturally, not everyone took a physical part in the actual work, but every one had the opportunity to contribute for the project, which was overseen by skilled workmen, filled with the Spirit of God, and done according to the instructions received by Moses on the mountain "And I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship" (Exodus 31:3, 39:32) .
When everything was ready and completed, the Tabernacle was raised in one day, on the first day of the first month, just less than a year after they had left Egypt "Now it came about in the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was erected" (Exodus 40:17). The most important thing about the Tabernacle, however, was not the beautiful utensils but the presence of God Himself "Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle" (Exodus 40:34) . That was the purpose of the Tabernacle, the presence of God among His people.
It is very interesting to see that we too, as the body of believers, are being built into a spiritual building, into a dwelling place for God, as living stones, offering spiritual sacrifices: "You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5). The spiritual household of God consists of all those who are sons of Abraham by faith, that have been grafted in through faith in Yeshua, the son of God who takes away our sins. "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit." (Ephesians 2:19-22)
It is interesting to note, that we too, the spiritual temple, will be raised in one day, as all the "living stones" will be gathered together at once, at the sound of the trumpet of God, into the completed building "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1Thes. 4:16-17).
Meanwhile, while on this earth, we are still in the process of building the spiritual house of God, and this task is not a project for just a few. All have been invited to take part in it. The question is, how enthusiastic are we in building the house of God? or are we just indifferent, caring just about ourselves? Those Israelites who donated joyfully, had a part in building God's dwelling among them, and surely God saw their hearts as they gave willingly of their possessions and skills. But those who hesitated and came too late, they missed the opportunity to have part in this outstanding project which stood for hundreds of years. We too, have the opportunity as the children of God, to take part, contribute and give of our free will, to the building of the spiritual dwelling of God, and this house of God will not stand for some hundreds of years, but for eternity!
What a privilege we have, to invest in eternal things rather than in the temporary things!