I’m a sucker for happy endings. Maybe that’s why I get all squishy inside as I read the final chapters of Exodus. I know, I know . . . the end of the book isn’t the end of the journey. Things are going to go south (multiple times) before they finally end up in the promised land north of Egypt. But, for now, I’ll bask in the warm and fuzzy of a people whose heart is stirred, whose obedience overflows, and who see the glory come down.
The instructions for the tabernacle have been given by the LORD to Moses and communicated by Moses to the people. The construction lead has been identified, the LORD having called him by name and having “filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship” (Ex. 35:31). Blueprints completed? Check. Construction crew in place? Check. All that’s left is acquiring the materials needed for the tabernacle. Cue the warm and fuzzy’s.
Moses said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “This is the thing that the LORD has commanded. Take from among you a contribution to the LORD. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the LORDs contribution . . .
Then all the congregation of the people of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the LORDs contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart . . .
(Exodus 35:4-5, 20-22a ESV)
The ask went out. The Spirit moved. And the people responded. Bringing so much material that Moses ultimately had to tell them to stop, “for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more” (36:7).
Forget about the times of whining for food and water. Put away the past murmurings of how it might have been better to stay in Egypt. The ugly golden calf failure was in the past. For now, the peoples hearts were stirred, their spirits moved, and they responded sacrificially. Repeatedly, the Spirit moves Moses to record that fact in these last chapters. At this time, by God’s mighty moving, the people of God acted with a willing heart.
A heart inclined towards doing as the Lord has commanded. A heart moved to respond to a divine and noble task. A heart incited towards sacrificial generosity. A heart wanting to freely and fully give, the high cost inconsequential when compared to the grand cause.
What was it to be part of such a movement? How unifying was it as each person gladly brought what they could and deposited it at the staging area for the craftsmen? What was the sense of anticipation as they heard of different components of the tabernacle being completed? And then, what was it for them to gather as Moses erected the tabernacle of the tent of meeting? To see the offerings of the their willing hearts take shape into something explicitly commanded of God? And then to witness the glory come down?
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
(Exodus 40:34 ESV)
Not to say that we’ll see so dramatically the results of a willing heart every time we are moved to give of our treasures, or time, or talents. Sometimes ours will be to faithfully sow seed, trusting that others will water and God will give the increase, though we may never see firsthand the harvest. But other times, God will permit a glimpse of the fruit of a willing heart. Of the glory that can result when generous giving to a high and lofty cause is mixed with the great power of a high and lofty God .
And when the glory comes down, the praise goes up!
Like I said, I’m a sucker for happy endings.
Because of grace. For His glory