GOD ‘EXPECTS’ us to OFFER ‘WILLINGLY’
January 26 Bible Reading: Exodus Chapters 25-27
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: "Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering. And this is the offering which you shall take from them...and let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them." (Exodus 25:1-3, 8)
The recent history of the children of Israel reveals how they have acquired their wealth. Their great grandfather Jacob had crossed the river Jordan with just his staff, but through the twenty years, it was God who blessed Jacob with wives, children and possessions (Gen. 32:10). His son Joseph was the first of their predecessor who entered Egypt as a slave without even the tunic of many colors that was snatched away by his brothers to produce as circumstantial evidence to his father Jacob to prove his untimely death (Gen. 37:23, 28, 31-33). However, God elevated Joseph to a powerful position, allowed them to settle in Goshen, Egypt and blessed them with children, flocks, herds and other material blessings (Gen. 50:8-9).
Before the children of Israel left Egypt, Moses told them to ask for articles of silver, gold and clothing from the Egyptians. God gave them favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so they received all that they had requested, and even more that they actually “plundered the Egyptians” (Ex. 12:35-36). Along with all the treasures of Egypt, they had a great deal of livestock (Ex. 12:38b). This was a fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham many years ago that the children of Israel would come out of Egypt “with great possessions” (Gen. 15:14b). So, in all account the children of Israel were immensely wealthy with goods that were not ‘earned’ but ‘gifted’ by God according to His divine plan.
Now the time had come for the children of Israel to build a tabernacle, so that God could literally dwell in the midst of them (Ex. 25:8). God could just have ‘created’ a tabernacle by speaking the word just as He had created the entire universe in the beginning of time (Gen. 1). However, God chose to take offerings from His children to build His sanctuary for His dwelling place on earth. We should note here that God expected only offerings that were given out of willing hearts. God would not force His children to offer anything to Him, but would rather wait and see what they would be willing to offer to Him.
Even today, God operates on the same principles that He had set up so many years ago. We are told to give – not grudgingly or out of necessity – but cheerfully and willing for “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). Our willing offering should include not only our treasures, but our time and our talents as well. Ultimately, God expects us to present ourselves (our bodies) as a living sacrifice in His altar for His use. This is the reasonable service that we can do (Rom. 12:1), and God expects this sacrificial action from us.
Ask yourself today: “Can I offer myself and all that I have to God and for His kingdom on earth?”
"So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work." (2 Cor 9:7-8)