Ex. 35:1 And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the LORD hath commanded, that ye should do them.
Now Moses begins to instruct the people regarding everything that the LORD had given as commands (not requests) for them to obey. As we go into this section we will find much repetition from previous scripture. When we read it before, it was God talking to Moses. This time it is Moses relaying God’s instructions to the people. Notice that the instructions call for action on the part of the hearer.
Ex. 35:2 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.
Ex. 35:3 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.
Again, we have a little more instruction given regarding the keeping of the Sabbath. Disobedience in keeping the Sabbath was to be punished by death. We learned earlier that harvest is not an exception. Now we learn that you can’t even kindle a fire. The Hebrew indicates that this is a reference to cooking; I guess that means you were only to eat food that didn’t require the exertion of making a fire. (I wonder if it was acceptable to maintain a fire that had already been started when it was cold outside.)
God is setting out His priorities for the people. This is a day intended for their rest and refreshment. It is a time to meditate on all their blessings from God.
God knows us well. If there is not a specific time set apart for us to devote our thoughts to Him, we will allow the cares of this world to crowd Him out—to the point that He only gets a few minutes here and a few minutes there, if any minutes at all. All of His instructions to us are for our good, and He wants us to take the time to be able to absorb His words to and instructions for us, and ponder His actions on our behalf.
Ex. 35:4 And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying,
Ex. 35:5 Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, and silver, and brass,
Ex. 35:6 And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair,
Ex. 35:7 And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood,
Ex. 35:8 And oil for the light, and spices for anointing oil, and for the sweet incense,
Ex. 35:9 And onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod, and for the breastplate.
Now Moses explains that the LORD has asked him to take an offering from all of those who have a willing (voluntary, generous, magnanimous) heart. Then he gives them a list of the things they need:
· Gold, silver, and brass
· Blue, purple, scarlet, and fine linen (white) material
· Goats’ hair, rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins
· Shittim wood
· Oil (olive oil), spices for the anointing oil and sweet incense
· Onyx stones and the other stones needed for the ephod and breastplate for the priests.
The specifics regarding the need for these items are presented in Exodus 25-31.
Ex. 35:10 And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the LORD hath commanded;
“Wisehearted” – intelligent, skillful
Our talents are God-given, and He is asking them to use their talents in God’s service. Next is a listing of all the things they are to make.
Ex. 35:11 The tabernacle, his tent, and his covering, his taches, and his boards, his bars, his pillars, and his sockets,
Ex. 35:12 The ark, and the staves thereof, with the mercy seat, and the vail of the covering,
Ex. 35:13 The table, and his staves, and all his vessels, and the shewbread,
Ex. 35:14 The candlestick also for the light, and his furniture, and his lamps, with the oil for the light,
Ex. 35:15 And the incense altar, and his staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging for the door at the entering in of the tabernacle,
Ex. 35:16 The altar of burnt offering, with his brasen grate, his staves, and all his vessels, the laver and his foot,
Ex. 35:17 The hangings of the court, his pillars, and their sockets, and the hanging for the door of the court,
Ex. 35:18 The pins of the tabernacle, and the pins of the court, and their cords,
Ex. 35:19 The cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office.
Again, the details regarding the making of these items are given in Exodus 25-31.
Ex. 35:20 And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses.
Ex. 35:21 And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD’S offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments.
Moses presented the materials needed to fulfill God’s directives, and the people went out to see how they could contribute. (That is a principle that is so seldom followed today. Many pastors try to browbeat or shame you into giving, and many people don’t think beyond their own needs.) God only wanted those with a willing heart to contribute the materials and labor used in making His dwelling place among them and the items needed to worship before Him and maintain their relationship with Him.
God doesn’t need our offerings to accomplish His work; but He often gives us the opportunity and privilege to be a part.
Ex. 35:22 And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the LORD.
Ex. 35:23 And every man, with whom was found blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, and red skins of rams, and badgers’ skins, brought them.
Ex. 35:24 Every one that did offer an offering of silver and brass brought the LORD’S offering: and every man, with whom was found shittim wood for any work of the service, brought it.
Ex. 35:25 And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen.
Ex. 35:26 And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair.
Ex. 35:27 And the rulers brought onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate;
Ex. 35:28 And spice, and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense.
This is strictly a listing of all the things that were willingly contributed for the making of the tabernacle, its vessels, and for the garments of the priests. Again, the details are in Exodus 25-31.
Ex. 35:29 The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the LORD, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the LORD had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.
“willing offering” = spontaneous, abundant, free will, plentiful, voluntary, offering
God is emphasizing the importance that the materials and workmanship are provided by willing individuals. Why would that be so important if a person has no choice? Man has been given the freedom to choose, and this does not make God any less God. It makes Him more God. He is able to accomplish His will in spite of the choices made by individuals. He can use a person’s choice whether in submission to or rejection of Him in accomplishing His purposes (e.g., Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Judas……).
Ex. 35:30 And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;
Ex. 35:31 And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;
Ex. 35:32 And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
Ex. 35:33 And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work.
Ex. 35:34 And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.
Ex. 35:35 Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.
Moses is letting the people know that God has called out a specific man for a position of honor in accomplishing the craftsmanship needed to construct the tabernacle—Bezaleel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. He was gifting Bezaleel by filling him with the spirit of God. (Most of us—believers--really don’t appreciate what it means to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and ready to fill us up with power to serve Him if we but ask. At this stage of history, the Spirit was given to specific people at specific times for specific purposes.)
The Spirit gifted Bezaleel in four specific ways:
Wisdom – The capacity to make use of what you know.
Understanding – The ability to comprehend intention and meaning
Knowledge – A clear perception of fact or truth, enlightenment, learning by experience
All manner of workmanship – The execution or manner of making anything by manual labor
That workmanship included the ability to create elaborate works with elegance:
1. using gold, silver and brass
2. cutting stones (like a mason) and setting them
3. carving wood
God has also given Bezaleel the desire and ability to teach Aholiab, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, as his assistant. The LORD has filled both of these men with the ability to work in all the areas that were necessary for the completion of the building of the tabernacle and be able to teach others. They would have the ability to utilize all the items produced by the gifted engravers, embroiders, and weavers.
Again, we are presented with the idea that God has a purpose/plan for the individual in service to Him. We aren’t all chosen to be leaders, but as is pointed out in the next chapter, these two leaders will be assisted by many other skilled and gifted individuals. The talents we are given aren’t by accident. They are by divine purpose for use in His service.