Exodus 36:3b-5 & 6b-7
They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task he was doing, and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the LORD has commanded us to do.” … So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more.
Had this tabernacle construction taken place in a different era of Israel’s history, under a less stalwart leader, I can imagine Exodus 36 reading quite a bit differently. What if King Saul’s captains had rushed up to him and exclaimed, “Oh king, the melted gold and scarlet threads and acacia wood-beams are piling up out back—what do we do with the surplus?” I think Saul might’ve said, “Keep them coming!” And Gideon might’ve made an ephod out of the precious metals to add to his memorabilia. And Solomon might’ve built another shrine for his idolatrous wives on the hill of shame. And Hezekiah might’ve paraded the cache in his treasury and invited all his constituents for a private viewing. And Jacob might’ve used the excess threads to weave a more fashionable coat for Joseph. And Samson might’ve bought lavish gifts for his never-satisfied mistress, Delilah.
But not Moses. He sees what this endeavor means to God and to the people, and I think it genuinely grieves him to have to stem the tide of this spiritual outpouring. Seeing the long lines of givers who keep bringing their best day after day, yearning to outdo each other in acts of love, must overjoy his shepherd’s heart. He’s got a smile on his face as wide as the Mississippi, and the last thing he wants to do is dam up that stream of faithfulness that’s flowing like never before. But he must; because if he doesn’t, I get the feeling all these people will be broke by the weekend.
Friend, we’ve all been restrained at times for speaking ill or driving too fast or stealing the cookie from the cookie jar, but have we ever been restrained for giving too excessively? Let’s make today a first. Let’s join this line of bountiful worshippers outside Heaven’s door and keep on giving till the Lord sends us home!