“Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord's offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments.” (Exodus 35:21).
How would you describe your zeal for God and your desire to worship and serve Him? Is it a burning zeal or is your desire growing cold? Why do you believe this is?
Following a very low point in Israel’s service to God where they had engaged in idol worship by worshipping the golden calf which Aaron made (Exodus 32:4-6), Moses had become so discouraged with leading Israel, he asks God to “see His glory” (Exodus 33:18). As the Lord passes by Moses, He covers Moses with His hand, shows Moses His back (Exodus 33:20-23), and proclaims, “The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth…” (Exodus 34:6). Moses falls on his face, worships God, and asks God to forgive His people Israel of their sin, and to continue to go with them (Exodus 34:9). God shows that He is “merciful, gracious, and longsuffering” by forgiving His people (Exodus 34:10).
How does Israel react on this occasion to having been forgiven by God of idol worship? Do they embrace God’s forgiveness? Do they fail to appreciate the grace they have been shown? While Israel does not always act right during these wilderness years, on this occasion they react wonderfully. After Moses returns from having once again to receive additional commandments from the Lord regarding their service to God (Exodus 34:4-29), Moses instructs the children of Israel to bring a freewill offering of different materials for the building of the tabernacle (Exodus 35:4-9).
From a very low point in their relationship with God, when they had failed God by engaging in idol worship, Israel is going to reach a high point in their service to God by giving generously when asked to give materials for the construction of the tabernacle (Exodus 35:20-29). In fact, they give so much, they had to be “restrained from bringing” any more gifts for the construction of the tabernacle of God. (Exodus 36:6). They go from the valley of sin to the mountain top of glory in their service to God.
Why did they give so much? As the opening verses above show, it appears out of great gratitude for having been pardoned of their sin, the people of Israel give generously to the Lord. Their spirits were “stirred” and their hearts were “willing” (Exodus 35:21). Giving from a willing heart was the only requirement God had expected and Israel came through beautifully (Exodus 35:5).
What does God want from me in my worship and service to Him? Does He want me to serve Him because “I have to”? Not only does God want me to worship Him by following the truth, but also by having the right spirit (John 4:24). God does not want me to worship Him out of a spirit of “guilt” because I feel I “have to”. He wants me to serve Him out of a “willing heart” because I am grateful for His pardoning me of my sin through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. He wants my heart to be stirred up because of the love He has shown to me. He wants me to “want to” worship Him!
Although I also am flawed as I struggle with sin, I will worship and serve the Lord out of a willing heart and a stirred spirit as I focus my mind on praising Him for all He has done for me! I want to live on the mountain top in my service to God celebrating the grace and mercy He has shown to me!
“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1-2).