Friday, June 09, 2023

2023.06.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 38:21-31

Read Exodus 38:21–31

Questions from the Scripture text: What do these verses detail (Exodus 38:21)? What is this tent called? Why did they count this inventory? Who took the inventory? Who oversaw all of the work (Exodus 38:22)? How is the work described/summed up? Who was with him in this (Exodus 38:23)? What skills did Aholiab have? What is inventoried first (Exodus 38:24)? How much total gold was used? How much total silver was used (Exodus 38:25)? How was this exact amount produced (Exodus 38:26)? What did this silver primarily produce (Exodus 38:27)? What did the remaining silver produce (Exodus 38:28)? How much bronze was inventoried (Exodus 38:29)? What was made with it (Exodus 38:30-31)? 

What does the Spirit teach us by the numbering out of the gold, silver, and bronze for the tabernacle construction? Exodus 38:21–31 looks forward to the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eleven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God provides resources, responsibility, and reliability for the earthly carrying out of the work and worship of His church.

The numbering of this inventory is by the commandment of Moses (Exodus 38:21), just as the construction of the tabernacle was just as Yahweh had commanded Moses (Exodus 38:22). What does the Spirit intend for us to see by this God-commanded numbering?

Riches. At the time of writing, the amount of gold used in the parts of this tent (!) is worth approximately $70 Million. And the silver used is currently worth around $3 Million. But even that doesn’t do justice to the proportional amount of the wealth of the entire world that was invested in this tent. God generously gave the people the wealth of materials that they needed for the most valuable thing a people can have: the presence of God in His public worship. 

Responsibility. The first thing that we see is that Bezalel (Exodus 38:22), together with assistant Aholiab (Exodus 38:23), completed their task. Not only is there the summary statement that it was all according to the commandment of Moses, but there is also the confirmation that the sockets were made as commanded (Exodus 38:27), the hooks were made as commanded (Exodus 38:28), and all of the various bronze items were made as commanded (Exodus 38:30-31). God generously gave the people the wealth of skill that they needed for the most valuable thing a people can have: the presence of God in His public worship.

Reliability. Another word for this is integrity. Integrity in the use of the wealth that God’s people give for His work is important (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:1–4; 2 Corinthians 8:19–21). Here, the inventory records the amount given down to the shekel of each: gold, silver, and bronze. The Levites were receiving all of this precious metal, and a son of the high priest was required to account for every bit of it (Exodus 38:21). Many churches’ ministries have been greatly harmed either by the negligent use of funds and property, or even the intentional abuse or pilfering of funds and property. But God’s Word establishes it as a requirement from God that there be accountability in this matter. God generously gave the people the wealth of integrity that they needed for the most valuable thing a people can have: the presence of God in His public worship.

For Israel, the skill and the honesty were greater provisions than the materials from which the public worship was composed. For us, the common grace of skill, and the special grace of integrity are marvelous provisions indeed. But the presence of God in public worship has now been facilitated not by the provision of the treasures of earth, but by the provision of Him Who is the great Treasure of heaven!

How does your congregation account for what is given for the worship and work of the church? What has God given for that worship and work? How is the value of these things reflected in your level of gratitude? How is the value reflected in the preciousness of public worship to you?

Sample prayer:  Our generous Triune God, we thank You for Your indescribable gift, the Lord Jesus Christ, that we might be welcome and blessed in Your presence for worship. Grant that whatever is needed for the church’s worship and work on earth would be given with generosity, employed with responsibility, and accounted for with integrity. And make us to treasure You in Your worship, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

ARP24 “The Earth and the Riches” or TPH185 “We Give Thee But Thine Own”

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