What does it say?
Don’t worry about understanding the details of the hangings, coverings, boards, bars, veils and screens (Exo 36). Bezaleel and Aholiab lead the team of workers in the construction process. The important thing to see is that the people’s offerings were more than enough. Moses even had to command them to stop offering. What a great problem!
The story of the tabernacle’s construction continues with all of the various objects to be housed there (Exo 37-38). Again, your goal is to familiarize yourself with these items, not over-analyze them or think you have to remember everything that you are reading. You will meet them all again in due time on our journey.
Moses summarizes the value of the materials used (38:21-31) for the tabernacle. The shekels mentioned are units of weight, not coins. Minted coins for money will not be invented until centuries later in Turkey. Yet Moses carefully records the represented of all the materials invested in the tabernacle project.
What does it mean?
Each item in the tabernacle represents a different aspect of our relationship with God and points to Christ’s finished work. Some symbolism might be obvious to you. You will learn other symbolism later.
For now, learn how much God values the people who serve him, and recognize that their skills and passion come from him. All types of people and skills are needed for the mission to move forward. Learn that a people controlled by God are a generous people. Moses’ summary of the value of the materials reminds us that God recognizes every penny placed in a church offering by a child, or a widow’s tiniest gift.
How will I respond?
There is nothing good and valuable in my life that cannot be used for the glory of God. I’ve already thought about how God can use my own skills and talents, but is there some gifted person I know that needs to be encouraged to develop his or her skills and talents? You don’t even have to encourage them to use their gifts “for God,” but simply recognize and appreciate how gifted they are. People love to be appreciated and recognized. Encourage them to walk with God and learn of him. In due time, walking with God, he will naturally make the connection between skills and mission. Be encouraged and encourage others!
Do you know what it is to be a cheerful giver (2Cor 9:7)? Review your giving now, and see if you are even close to God commanding you to stop. Probably not! Are you faithful in your regular giving to your local church? What additional missional giving might you invest in the kingdom?