The Tabernacle, The Materials For The Tabernacle, Part 2 - Lesson 11
We learned in our last lesson that God has chosen to be the architect of the tabernacle.
In choosing that position He has said that he is not the supplier of the materials nor is He the builder.
Architects normally do not do that for they leave those tasks to others.
Architects determine the configuration necessary to provide for the need specified by the customer.
In this case the customer is God.
Now as part of the Architectís duties a Bill of Materials is produced and that Bill lists the raw materials, sub assemblies, intermediate assemblies, sub-components, components, parts, and the quantities of each needed in order to provide an end product.
Everything on the bill or list is purposeful and is needed to arrive at the configuration specified by the Architect.
So the Architect makes a Bill of Material and calls Moses to provide for its supply.
Moses is privileged to enter into the process for he was to speak to the children of Israel that they bring the Architect an offering.
And the offering was to come from every man that would give it willingly from his heart.
The word for "offering" has the idea of a present, a gift that is given sacrificially; the giving of a special gift, a valuable, costly gift.
Remember that the Israelites had received much wealth, gold, silver, precious stones, and raiment, upon their exit from Egypt so God was not asking them for things that they did not possess.
God knew perfectly how much they had and what they had would more than meet the need.
Men, God knows exactly how much you have in your wallet.
And that includes Gatorís wallet for if youíve ever seen Gatorís wallet you will know that it has every receipt for every purchase he has ever made!
And Ladies, God knows exactly how much you have in your purse.
In fact ladies, God knows exactly what you have in your purse and He knows where it is even if you donít.
He knows exactly the state of your bank account, your CDís, your investments, the value of your house and He also knows what part of those assets you need to keep in order to function.
Now I have a habit of putting something in the offering plate each time it comes around.
Being in the first row I like to start off the offering plate with something in it for I donít like to see an empty offering plate move from row to row.
The deacon who takes up the offering, knows that and when the plate comes to me he knows that I will normally put in the same amount every time unless I put in a check.
I remember going to lunch with our former pastor who on that occasion made sure that he had a particular denomination of bill in his wallet so that he could also carry out his giving habit in the Prayer meeting service and I suspect that others have similar habits.
But at times I get my wallet out and do not find my usual denomination of bill, but instead find a larger bill in there all by itself.
I usually flinch at the sight!
What to do? God knows whatís in my wallet.
My wife looks at me and I look at her and ask her if she has the bill of the denomination I am used to putting in the plate so I donít have to put the larger bill in there.
She gives me the "look" the look that God gave her to give me so I sheepishly take our the larger bill and put it in the plate.
God wants me to willingly put it in the plate.
God wants me to get past putting the offering in the plate motivated only by the "look", to having a heart that responds willingly to the need for the need is great.
For God is the one who put the larger bill in your wallet or purse and if he calls for it for His service we are to give it.
This is what we find happened in Moses day.
For God knew of the future need for the materials of the tabernacle and He provided for this need many days back when the children of Israel "borrowed" of the Egyptians.
We read of this in Exodus 12:35,36, And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: 36And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
Borrowed - by implication to request, by extension to demand
Lent - same word as borrowed
Spoiled - to snatch away, whether in a good or a bad sense:
And because of this provision Israel was able to give offerings to build the Tabernacle.
Of course this is the principle that God uses with us.
God provides for us sufficiently to give back to Him what He needs to provide for His work.
What these exiles from Egypt had was due to Godís actions in Egypt.
They had money, gold, silver, and possessions only because GOD had moved upon the Egyptians to give them wealth.
Now, God asked them to give back to Him willingly and sacrificially and to give valuable and costly gifts!
The lesson of course is that everything belongs to God including that which is in your wallet or your purse.
He distributes His wealth but in that distribution he entrusts all to again distribute the wealth further.
He chooses to need co-laborers for in this process hearts are revealed.
The willing hearts come to the fore!
These people were called upon to give from a heart willingly that which God in the first place had given them.
This is the principle of stewardship for we are all simply go-betweens, between God and the need.
We of course will use some of Godís supply for our needs but also we are to make sure the needs of others are satisfied and this is to be done from a willing heart.
Godís economy is such that what he gives you is more than enough for your needs and he expects you to live in such a way that all is not consumed upon your lusts but a portion of what he gives is to be given away.
Any way other than that is considered stealing from God.
The children of Israel, as well as all of us are to give sacrificially, to give willingly and cheerfully.
It is the pattern under the Old Covenant; it is the pattern under the New Covenant.
Now the materials for the Tabernacle are listed in Exodus 25:3-7.
They are gold, silver, brass, fine linen, goatsí hair, ramsí and badgers (hair is used for shaving brushes) skins, shittim wood, oil, spices and incense, onyx and other stones.
The mineral, plant and animal kingdoms are represented in this Architectís Bill of Material.
The first material mentioned is gold of which much was required in the tabernacle and its furnishings.
Gold is a symbol of great value.
It is that which is pictured in scripture as having the greatest and most precious value that can be possessed.
The world agrees for today gold is at its highest value, now paying over $1400 per ounce and spokesmen for its value assures you that it holds the secret to security in these troublesome times.
(But do you suppose gold has any value in times of famine. Is it nourishing?)
Gold in the Bible is a symbol of the heavenly, that which is eternal.
It speaks of the righteousness of God, the Glory of His Person hood and His Mercy.
It speaks of the Deity and Kingship of Jesus Christ who is God yet He also is man.
Christ told the Laodiceans to buy heavenly gold in:
Revelation 3:18, I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Again we see in our day the counterfeit of Satan who has his hawkers call upon us to buy gold, gold that is not tried in the fire but gold that will perish.
But the gold we are to seek is that gold that is used to prepare a place for us in heaven with Christ.
This is the gold of that city whose builder and maker is God.
Rev. 21:21-22, And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 22And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it
The mercy seat that we will study in detail later was pure gold.
It represented the throne of God, the very place where the presence and mercy of God were symbolized as flowing out to Godís people.
So the material gold, is the symbol of heaven, the symbol of eternal things.