Devotion on Exodus, chapter 35, 7 March 2015 Anno Domini (Year of our Lord)
“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.” (Ex 35:1)
The opening verse of this chapter is a fitting introduction to all that follows; in fact, it would be a fitting principle to which every Christian should adhere in his view of the entire Word of God. The antinomians declare that we longer bear any responsibility to observe God’s Law at all – that all was annulled by the New Testament. What blatant and pretentious balderdash! The observance of God’s Law in the New Testament is not done away, but made more compelling by the measure of love we have for our Lord and for each other. If we fear the Law of God, or His judgment, that would be evidence of a lack of love for Him. “17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” (1 John 4:17-21) We, and the church, have made obedience to God a great labor of works and not of unbounded love.
Three salient points are addressed to the Children of Israel: 1) the Sabbath; 2) the spirit of giving; and 3) the increase in the ministry by calling of two others of peculiar qualification for the purpose.
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. 3 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day. The meaning of the Sabbath was “REST.” God, having created all things in six days, rested on the seventh, and hallowed it and made it Holy. God has commanded, “ye shall be holy; for I am holy” (Lev 11:44) If we are IN Christ, and He is IN us, should we only be Holy one day a week? Should we not rest in Christ EVERY day of the week? Concerning this topic, Matthew Henry says: “The mild and easy yoke of Christ has made our Sabbath duties more delightful, and our Sabbath restraints less irksome, than those of the Jews; but we are the more guilty by neglecting them. Surely God’s wisdom in giving us the Sabbath, with all the mercy of its purposes, are sinfully disregarded. Is it nothing to pour contempt upon the blessed day, which a bounteous God has given to us for our growth in grace with the church below, and to prepare us for happiness with the church above?” I would point out another principle that is little noticed in the Sabbath Commandment: “Six days shall work be done.” Some have decided to rest from their physical labors far more than one day in seven. If we are sluggards, we have violated God’s Commandment.
The Spirit of Giving
“4 And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying, 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, 6 And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, 7 And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood, 8 And oil for the light, and spices for anointing oil, and for the sweet incense, 9 And onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod, and for the breastplate.” You will note that the LORD makes no demands for the privilege of giving to His work. All resources given by the people were out of a “willing heart.” If we listen to modern sermons, especially of TV evangelist, we might come to believe that we should KEEP ten percent of our earnings and donate the remainder to the high salary of the preacher.
We learn in verse ten that God expects our labors to be well-done and out of a wise heart: “10 And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the LORD hath commanded;” Do you wonder that the Lord says wise hearted and not wise minded? The treasures of our hearts will override every other capacity of our works. Chesterton once said that “we have the process of learning of God all wrong – men believe that they should learn through their minds to their hearts; but that is reversed! Men should learn of God through their hearts and into their minds instead.” The filter of the heart can immediately tell the counterfeit of love – the mind cannot. Moses continues on to describe the exact type of works needed. Work, for the sake of work, will avail nothing. Work must be artful, loving, and directed to a purpose.
“11 The tabernacle, his tent, and his covering, his taches, and his boards, his bars, his pillars, and his sockets, 12 The ark, and the staves thereof, with the mercy seat, and the vail of the covering, 13 The table, and his staves, and all his vessels, and the shewbread, 14 The candlestick also for the light, and his furniture, and his lamps, with the oil for the light, 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, 16 The altar of burnt offering, with his brasen grate, his staves, and all his vessels, the laver and his foot, 17 The hangings of the court, his pillars, and their sockets, and the hanging for the door of the court, 18 The pins of the tabernacle, and the pins of the court, and their cords, 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.” This sounds a bit like my wife in directing work at home. She is very particular because she is the Queen of the Home and her love desires the best. It is the same with God. He desires all of the accoutrements of worship to be dignified and beautiful. He desires His ministers to dress as ministers after a Holy vestment.
“20 And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. 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. That which stirs up the heart to service is the Lord and His indwelling love. When the Holy Ghost is our guide and teacher, we will be compelled by love to do our very best in all things, and all things are to the glory of the Lord. Even the garments were made Holy. What garments do we wear on days of worship? What we wear reflects our reverence and respect for God and others, or, even what we fail to wear!
God uses the spoils taken from Egypt to decorate His Tabernacle. “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. 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. 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. 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. 26 And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair.” The women’s hearts were stirred by a sweet and loving spirit to spin and to fashion altar linens and all other necessities of the distaff.
“27 And the rulers brought onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate; 28 And spice, and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense. 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.” You will see that the Lord had commanded the design and fashion of the Tabernacle. Precise directions were given as to materials of gold, silver, and wool; however, the Lord left the giving to the willing hearts of the people – and they responded!
Bezaleel and Aholiab are called to the work
God does not desire the riff-raft of the street for His ministers. Though He may call those very riff-raft, He will instill in their hearts the love and wisdom needed to fulfill their calling. It is God who trains and qualifies – not Princeton, or Westminster, or Union. There may be knowledge to be learned at these institution, but much of it today is designed to decrease faith and not to build it up. “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; 31 And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; 32 And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 33 And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work.” The name of the first called is Bezaleel which means, “In the Shadow of God.” I pray that we all can be so devoted to Christ that we will be accounted close to God – so close as to be in His Shadow! God Himself had filled Bezaleel’s heart with wisdom, understanding, and knowledge; and I am sure it was just precisely the wisdom and knowledge God required to perform His intentions.
“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. 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.” God had imputed to the heart of Bezaleel the desire to teach and to labor. We have many fine Sunday School and Bible teachers in our church today who love the teaching of children and adults the pure Word of God; yet, they do not neglect the residue of labors of administration and daily service.
Question of the day: Do you have a willing heart to serve God and to teach and train His sheep?
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. AMEN.
In Christ Alone during Pre-Lent,
† Jerry L. Ogles, D.D.
Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide & Chancellor, Faith Theological Seminary
AOC Daily Devotion Posts: http://anglicanorthodoxchurch.blogspot.com/
“Moral cowardice paves the way to slavery”.
AOC website: http://www.aocinternational.org/
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer – HOLY SCRIPTURE:
“If there were any word of God beside the Scripture, we could never be certain of God’s Word; and if we be uncertain of God’s Word, the devil might bring in among us a new word, a new doctrine, a new faith, a new church, a new god, yea himself to be a god. If the Church and the Christian faith did not stay itself upon the Word of God certain, as upon a sure and strong foundation, no man could know whether he had a right faith, and whether he were in the true Church of Christ, or a synagogue of Satan.”