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123 - Willing Hearts

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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December 3, 2022 1:00 pm

123 - Willing Hearts

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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December 3, 2022 1:00 pm

Episode 123 - Willing Hearts (3 Dec 2022) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, we're coming into the Christmas season when everybody's thinking about giving, and that makes me think of the Grinch whose heart was two sizes too small. Yeah, we should never give with that kind of motivation. Well, no, today we're going to read an Exodus about people who gave with a willing heart.

Which raises the question, what would cause them to give with such willing hearts? And we'll find out today on More Than Ink. Well, good morning. This is More Than Ink, and I'm Dorothy. And I'm Jim.

And we're so glad you're here with us today. I don't know what that was about. Sometimes you have an identity crisis. We have been reading through the book of Exodus, and last time we were together, we talked a whole lot about Moses' glowing face and how he covered that fading glow with a veil when he went to speak to the people, but when he went in before the Lord, the veil was removed. Well, we won't elaborate on that now. I was wondering, I don't think the glowing face comes back ever again in Exodus, does it?

Or anywhere else? I think that's behind us. I don't think so. I think this is a singular event. We'll keep our eye out for it.

Well, it's establishing a pattern, perhaps. But in any case, we're moving ahead into the actual assembling of the congregation to hear the message that Moses comes down from the mountain with. So remember, he comes back down the mountain with newly carved stone plates with the Ten Commandments on them. And we don't get the complete reiteration of the Ten Commandments, but we do get a distillation of them.

We read that a couple weeks ago. And here, in chapter 35, we get even a more crystallized form when he just zeroes in on the Sabbath. And then a long list of work. And if you remember, when Moses was up on the mountain with God, there was a lot about the behavior of the nation of Israel laws and stuff like that. But it was also quite dominated with a very specific design agenda for the tabernacle, the place where they would meet with God. So I remember when he came down from the mountain the first time, back in chapter 31, as he came down the mountain, God said, Okay, let's build. You've got some special artisans that are going to help you out.

Don't do that. By the way, don't disregard the Sabbath. And so there really is coming down the mountain. Both times is a charge from God about saying, It's time to build that tabernacle we talked about so much on top of the mountain.

Okay, and actually, they had talked about it at the very beginning of their journey into the wilderness. Clear back in chapter 25, the Lord had told Moses, kind of at the beginning of everything now, Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for me from every man whose heart moves him. This is verse 2 of chapter 25. And he lists all the materials and then he says in verse 8, And let them construct a sanctuary for me that I may dwell among them. Among them.

That's the whole point. Let them give what they will to build a tent for me so I can dwell right in their midst among them. And that's what the issue had been up on the mountain the first time that when Moses went back up there after the golden calf, he says, God, don't leave us.

Don't not go forward with us. Right. That's what really shook him. God had said he would be with him and now he's saying, I'm not. So the glowing face comes about when God re-establishes the covenant, shows Moses his own goodness and compassion and grace and glory. So we're back on.

And things are back on. So Moses is coming down the mountain. He gets the people together and says, Here's what the Lord has commanded you to do. So here's what it's all about. You want to start reading? Much different scene from the golden calf scene from the first time.

Which is really nice. So we're in chapter 35 and I'll start off in verse 1. So Moses assembled all the congregation of the people of Israel and said to them, These are the things that the Lord has commanded you to do. Verse 2, Six days, six days work shall be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord, and whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall kindle no fire in all your dwelling places on the Sabbath day.

So it's interesting. He starts off with saying, it's time to build the tabernacle, but wait a second before we get all work oriented. Don't forget the Sabbath. Yeah, just before the list of the work. This is like going to number one on the list.

Stop taking care of yourself and trust me to take care of you. This is a holy thing. And as I recall, on the first trip down from Sinai, as he's coming down, God says it's time to build stuff and I've given you a couple guys to help you do that. But again, the Sabbath was in the air even when he, in fact I think it was the last words in chapter 31 as Moses is coming down the mountain the first time is don't forget the Sabbath. Don't forget the Sabbath.

First words back out here. We've got work to do on the tabernacle, but don't forget the Sabbath. Rest in me. Rest. So the best work for God comes out of rest in God.

We can talk about this a lot. The Sabbath is just a very big deal and it's very countercultural, not only then but now. Well, and I would say that that probably is central even to the gospel, right? Yes. Jesus said the words that I've spoken to you are spirit and are life.

The flesh profits nothing. Yes. Yes.

Right. And we could go on a lot about the Sabbath. One of the things that's really ringing in my head is that in a sense in Christ, in the new covenant, we live a Sabbath life all the time. And a Sabbath is for someone who's put their works to rest, who's stopped working.

And in the new covenant that's a strong theme. We've stopped working to try and impress God. We've put our works down and now we rest in what he's done for us. Rested in the accomplishment of the work of Jesus.

So you could say that that seventh day rest is something that we live every day. Well, we won't get into all that stuff. Well, that's what Hebrews says.

That's right. Let's press on. Let's press on. So anyway, we're on the cusp of starting on the building. So don't forget about the Sabbath.

But then it's interesting. We're not building just yet. We need to gather the people in the process of building. Gather both the people and the materials.

And the materials. That's what makes this such a lovely passage. So let's just read it. This is the involvement of the people. So verse four. So Moses said to all the congregation of people of Israel, this is the thing that the Lord has commanded. Take from among you a contribution to the Lord. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the Lord's contribution. Gold, silver, bronze, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, fine twined linen, goat's hair, tanned ram skins and goat skins, acacia wood, oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, and onyx stones and stones for setting for the ephod and for the breastplate. So he starts off by saying, okay, let's do this together.

We need to contribute. This is a lot of stuff. Now, sometimes we have in our head that they came out of Egypt with only what they could carry. Well, they could carry, but they were carrying a lot. Because remember, they had plundered the Egyptians. They had gotten anything they asked for from the Egyptians.

So they had all of these beautiful, wealthy things. And God is saying, okay, now it's time. If your heart moves you, give it for the contribution that will build my tent. Yeah. And a theme comes up through this whole section as he involves the people of Israel. You see it there in verse 5, whoever is of a generous heart. So everyone's not giving equally, and there's no compulsion here either. Right.

So that's a really important thing. Which echoes what Paul says in the New Testament in 2 Corinthians 9 when he says, let each one do just as he's purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion. God loves a cheerful giver. So those who give because they want to see God's purposes go forward. Yeah. Yeah, and in secular world we know that phrase about a cheerful giver. We don't know where it comes from. Yeah.

That's where it comes from. But here it's echoed throughout this entire passage that God wants to involve his people in the making of this tabernacle, in the making of God's tent where they can meet with God. He wants to involve the people. And God could have just snapped his finger and said, shazam, look, there it is. Or he could have commanded, give me X amount of this stuff, you, you, and you.

Put a name on it. Yeah, yeah, right, right. But he deliberately, and we see this as it unfolds here in chapter 35, he deliberately wants to involve his people in the process of building a place for himself. And it seems to be that not everybody gave. But it does say those whose hearts, and it says it a bunch of different ways, generous hearts whose hearts were stirred, whose hearts were willing, whose hearts were moved. So it's like in every possible way, they were nudged.

Those who were nudged gave generously. Yeah, it's, it's such a, such a contrast. You're going to think I'm crazy again, but you remember. Often. I remember in church as a kid, they would do fundraising campaigns and they'd put one of those thermometers on the wall. Oh, I remember that.

You know, as you get up to your goal and stuff like that. There's nothing of that, it's not so coercive, but it's, it's like a program thing to raise. And here, God's just saying, you know, whoever's heart is driven. That's what we're talking about. It was a little bit coercive. Yeah, okay, it was, it was. This is so much not that. I think that's just a fascinating thing.

This is just not that at all. So you have to presume that people's hearts have been changed in such a way, away from the golden calf incident, in such a way that they really want God's presence in their camp. They've sort of figured this out and they willingly. I counted four or five times about it's the status of your heart that determines what you give. Right.

Not a coercive, you know, fundraising thermometer on the wall. Yeah. Well, so we just listed a bunch of things and they probably look familiar to you. And they're very luxurious things. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

The things that they left Egypt thinking, hey, we're rich. Yeah. Well, no, actually, they're going to go into the tabernacle. So let's read on. Let's pick it up in verse 10.

Okay. And let every skillful craftsman among you come and make all that the Lord has commanded. The tabernacle, its tent and its coverings, its hooks and its frames, its bars, its pillars, its basis. The ark with its poles, the mercy seat and the veil of the screen. The table with its poles and all its utensils and the bread of the presence. The lampstand also for the light with its utensils and its lamps and the oil for the light. And the altar of incense with its poles and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense and the screen for the door at the door of the tabernacle. The altar of burnt offering with its grading of bronze, its poles and all its utensils, the basin and its stand. The hanging of the court, its pillars and its basis and the screen for the gate of the court. The pegs of the tabernacle and the pegs of the court and their cords. And finally worked garments for ministering in the holy place.

The holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons for their service as priests. Wow. This stuff sounds pretty familiar. Well, it is. We've seen this list before.

We've been seeing this before. But what I'm thinking of is he's asked for the skillful craftsmen to come and look at the range of skills required. We have metal working, we have weaving, we have jewelers, we have perfumers, we have carpenters, we have working in all kinds of different materials. Well, we got oil and we got the fragrance for the incense. Yeah, the perfumers.

Yeah, there's a lot of stuff right here. So, in involving the nation of Israel, he's saying in verse 10, let every skillful or every gifted artisan, is what some translations say, every skillful craftsman contribute not just the things we talked about just before here about gold and bronze and linen and stuff like that, but you need to contribute your efforts as a skillful, as a gifted by God craftsman in all this stuff. And we were given the names of those guys who were going to head up that work earlier in the book.

Betzalel and Aholiah. So, they're going to be kind of like the foreman of all this, but they're just the foreman. They're not doing all the work. And there's some great theology here about how God wants to involve us in a place of his presence among us, and he wants to involve us in that process. And in a way, in our contribution of not only our materials, but in our efforts and our skills, we worship him and say, we welcome you here. And in the tremendous variety of not just our materials, but our skills.

And we're going to, coming up here, we're going to get specific mention of the women's skills. So, they were not out of the picture. No. Oh, yeah. No way.

No way. And it's also not the holy religious people, let's put it that way. It's everybody. Right.

It's the whole congregation. Yeah. So, there we just looked at the calling of the skillful craftsman. So, he involves the nation not only through the materials they contribute, if their hearts are generous, but also if their hearts are generous, through their skills. So, here's the stuff we need, and here's the skills required.

Exactly. And here's the list of what we're going to make. And here's the list of what we're going to make, which ended in verse 19.

Here's the stuff. Remember, all this stuff is what we're going to do. Yeah. Well, let me pick it up in 20.

Okay. Well, then all the congregation of the people of Israel departed from the presence of Moses, and they came. And here's one of those, everyone whose heart stirred him. I love that.

It's a great phrase. Everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit was moved him. And they brought the Lord's contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. And so they came, both men and women, all who were a, here's another, a willing heart. They brought brooches, and earrings, and signet rings, and armlets, all sorts of gold objects.

Every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord. And everyone who possessed blue, or purple, or scarlet yarns, or fine linen, or goat's hair, or tanned ram skins, or goat skins, brought them. Everyone who could make a contribution of silver or bronze brought it as the Lord's contribution.

And everyone who possessed acacia wood of any use in the work brought it. And every skillful woman spun with her hands. And they all brought what they had spun in blue, and purple, and scarlet yarns, and fine twine linen. And all the women whose hearts stirred them, whose hearts stirred them, to use their skill spun the goat's hair. And the leaders brought onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod, and for the breast plate, breast piece. And spices, and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant incense. And all the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done, brought it as a free will offering to the Lord. That is so beautiful.

What great involvement, and what willing involvement. And it does say everybody. Everybody who had something to give gave it.

It doesn't say how much or how little. Yes, yes. So I just counted up while you were reading, seven times there's a reference to the Lord's contribution or an offering. Yeah, or an offering. And the people's heart attitudes, all those whose heart moved them, everyone whose heart stirred them, everyone whose spirit moved them. Yeah, that's a willing heart. Yeah. You know what really struck me is they came, they came, they came, they brought, they brought, they brought because their hearts moved them. Right? That is so important to us to understand about participating in the work of God, do we come to God and bring everything that we have, because everything that we have is a gift from him in the first place, because our hearts are moved by the greatness of the presence of our God in our midst.

Yeah. Is your heart motivated to welcome God into the midst of where you are, and are you willing to contribute your riches as well as your skills, which are gifts to start with from him, to see that happen? And that's what's really being, that's what's being transacted right here. We want God in our midst, and we will do these things because we're so enthusiastic that that's exactly what God will do.

He'll be in our midst. And the list of stuff that they brought, of course, is amazing, but what struck me on this reading was those who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, so that, those are adornments, personal adornments. Yes.

He said, I don't need to make my... Yes. ... wear these beautiful earrings. I can melt them down and give them to the work of the Lord. Yeah.

That's amazing to me. There's a very personal gift. Right. Yeah.

So now, speaking from a man's perspective, I can't quite tell you how costly this is, but how costly is this to a woman to give those things up? Well, it could be very costly, but if you remember... Not just in the price, but I mean... Back when they made the molten calf, they literally took the earrings out of their ears... Yes.

... and used them for that. So this is the stuff that they hadn't already given to idolatry. Yeah, because that gold for the calf is gone.

But yes, for a woman, very often, gold jewelry that she has has been a gift from her husband or from someone else who loves her, and so to give that, I think, is a significant gift. Well, and a beautifying issue, right? Yeah. Right.

Yeah. So this isn't just expensive jewelry. This is something that actually contributes to their beauty, and they're giving that up in order to have God be in their presence.

The sacrifice here is just really quite poignant, I think, in so many ways, including just the skills, contributing your work and your skills, what you know how to do. And you would expect from a larger picture, as they leave Egypt and they're going to the Promised Land, that they would put all their efforts, all their ambitions and efforts from that point of getting to the land and building their cities, building their homes, building, building, building. And here, not being in that Promised Land, they're putting all of their initiative into inviting and welcoming God into their presence. Okay, that raises an interesting question, because if they had gone directly from Egypt up by the coastal road, straight up into the land of promise, they would have been there in, I don't know, a few days, a couple of weeks at most. Whereas they don't know at this point that they're going to be down here at Sinai and wandering around in this peninsula for a generation.

It's gonna be longer than a few weeks. For 40 years. But yeah, they are... The stuff that they had brought out, they were intending to carry into the new land to build their homes and make civilization happen there for them. To kind of feather their own nests. But here they are giving it so that God will be in their midst here in the wilderness. And the theme even in the Promised Land when they get there is, it's not the Promised Land that's the great benefit to the nation of Israel. It's God's presence.

God's presence. And here we're getting that lesson right here in the desert, God's presence is worth everything we own and who we are. That's the real wealth.

Right. And so when you finally do get in the Promised Land after Joshua, it turns out where they go bad is when they start thinking that, well, we've got our place here. We've got our address on our street here. We've got our house that we didn't build.

Some other people built it. We got these vineyards we didn't plant, but we have these. So we're set to go. In the Christian vernacular, it's like saying, I finally arrived at the streets of gold. I'm in the best place to live possible. But if God's not there, this is all for naught. And so in the end, what God says to kind of wake them up to this when they're in that position is he pushes them out of the land and says, the land wasn't really the issue. The issue was a place where you can dwell with me. And here they learn that lesson right here in the sands of the desert right here. Are you willing to contribute all that you have and all that you are into celebrating and welcoming the presence of God in your day-to-day life?

Making a place in your midst for him. Yeah, exactly. So that's what they're doing here. And they're all engaged in this.

They're all engaged in this. Well, in these last couple of minutes, this made me think a lot about the mentions in the New Testament, especially that Paul makes about the body of Christ, about the multi-varied contributions from the body of Christ. Oh, the variety of gifts.

Variety, yeah. And even, I mean, you read from 2 Corinthians about the cheerful giver stuff. But I mean, more than that, there is actually a spreading of gifts among the body of Christ. And here we have the skillful people, including the women, everybody, who contribute in such a way in the New Testament that Paul, I think, makes a connection to this. He sees the connection of a group of people who have been redeemed by God, because Egypt was enslaving them, so they were literally redeemed by God, Israel was. But we've been redeemed by God, too, Christ, from our sins. And so he sees this parallel between the busy and enthusiastic and willing hearts of those who've been redeemed by Christ and how they form a new body, in fact, indeed, a new house that celebrates and welcomes the presence of God. A dwelling place of God in the Spirit, he says a couple of times in different ways. I see a direct connection here. Well, so I have in front of me Ephesians 4.

So you turn somewhere. There you go. Ephesians 4.7, to each one of us, and he's talking about our unity in the Spirit. To each one of us, grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift, right?

So there's our gifts measured out to each one, and then later in the chapter he lists the gifts, but he says, and for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, building up of the body of Christ, now listen where he's going, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. Yes. So in other words, we are utilizing our gifts to grow the whole body up to maturity, to be all that we were intended to be in Christ. Yes. So this is the New Covenant version of these people that are celebrating God's presence.

Giving their contribution, giving what they have. Yeah, and I looked a little later in Ephesians 4. He says we're supposed to grow up into Christ from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it's equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. So there you see this picture, and then later, actually earlier in Ephesians in 2, he talks about the fact that in Christ, in Him, you also are being built together into a dwelling place. A holy temple, he says. A dwelling place for God by the Spirit. So there's that tabernacle again, but it turns out in this twist from Paul's perspective, we are that dwelling place. Yeah.

Well, it's not a twist, it's a development, right? Because here we get the tabernacle in the wilderness, which is a movable tent. Then when they enter the land of promise, they're going to build an actual stone temple that's attached to the ground. A permanent house. A permanent house, which then, after the cross, gets leveled, God allows it to level, never to be built again.

Yes, it's gone. Because now, because of the accomplished work of Christ, the Holy Spirit has come to indwell His people, and His believing people become the dwelling place of God in the Spirit. We become the temple of God. And so He's very literally in our midst, in the midst of each one of us by His indwelling spirit but in the midst of His corporate body, which is built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. It's amazing. So this is not an accidental connection here.

No. Here we have in Exodus 35, the people of Israel with willing hearts contributing to the presence of God and the building of His dwelling place in the New Testament, in the New Covenant. Here we are, enthusiastically by willing hearts, not just contributing to the presence of God, but God says, I'm going to be in you. You will be my tabernacle.

Whoa, upside down and crazy, but that's just very cool. That's what this message is meant to tell us in Exodus, is that God not only wants to live with us, He wants to live in the house that we corporately together make in all of our believing hearts. And Peter says we're being built like living stones.

Like living stones. This imagery, when you track that movement from that movable tent in the wilderness through the stuck to the ground temple, through the huge expansion of the spiritual reality of we believers becoming the dwelling place of God in the Spirit, then it becomes this very complete picture of what happened in Christ. Oh, yeah. You can draw insights in this just by sitting and thinking about it. It's so beautiful. Yeah.

It's really great. Well, we already talked about the fact that the specifications for the tabernacle and the stuff inside all have spiritual connections, and they connect back to this bigger picture that we're talking about, that we have become that dwelling place of God. Well, and the writer of Hebrews says, now, what you built on the ground is just a picture of the greater spiritual reality. And we have some descriptions of that greater spiritual reality in Revelation. So this is a developing picture that has begun here in the wilderness.

God's intention with the creation of man is that He might dwell among us, and He's making it happen through Christ. Well, next time we're going to come back to those two specialists, these guys, Betzalel and Aholyov, they're going to get in charge of being the foreman of the actual construction of the tabernacle. I'm so excited.

And they're going to be given their building papers next week, and the people of Israel are going to enthusiastically and willingly join them in contributing not only their things, but their skills to see it happen. So come back next week as we start that as we return here on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, morethanink.org. We're never quite too sure, are we?
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-03 14:14:56 / 2022-12-03 14:27:24 / 12

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