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Prepare

What if our response to God’s goodness is reflected by our generosity to God and to others? What does your generosity reveal of your awareness of God’s extravagant goodness? Pray for a stirred heart in this area.


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Bible passage Exodus 35:30 – 36:7


Bezalel and Oholiab
 30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, "See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers.

Exodus 36

 1 So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the LORD has commanded."

 2 Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. 3 They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. 4 So all the skilled craftsmen who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left their work 5 and said to Moses, "The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done."

 6 Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: "No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary." And so the people were restrained from bringing more, 7 because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


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The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


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Inspired generosity
In this section we see two evidences of abundance and multiplication among God’s people as they prepared the Tabernacle for worship. First, Bezalel and Oholiab are seen again as the leaders of the building project (see Exodus 31:1–11). Filled with God’s Spirit they were to lead all the artisans in creating this place of divine dwelling and worship. And they were to teach others rather than doing everything themselves.

Second, we see the people bringing offerings of materials for the project to such an extent that Moses had to stop the people from making offerings because it was too much.

Worship through serving
When God’s people are stirred by all that God has done for them, both in redeeming them and in continuing to forgive and love them, then there should be a multiplied response in worship. Gifted leaders serving God by not only doing what they are gifted to do, but also by training others too (see Ephesians 4:11–16). And God’s people giving generously so that local church needs are more than covered.


Respond


Is your local church a community so stirred by God’s goodness and so filled with God’s Spirit that there is an extravagant and multiplied response from the church in worship and in giving? Pray that it would be so, and that it would start in you.

Peter Mead


Deeper Bible study


‘For we are God’s fellow-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.’ (1 Corinthians 3:9, TNIV)

How different from the previous ‘running wild ... out of control’ (Exodus 32:25). Now all are ‘willing’ (Exodus 35:5,21–29; 36:2), working together to supply material and skills to make the tabernacle and its furnishings beautiful. Just as ‘and God said’ in the Genesis account of creation is followed by ‘it was so’, so all ‘the Lord said to Moses’ regarding the tabernacle (chs 25–31) is obeyed in detail (chs 35–40). In contrast to their previous disobedience, now all do ‘as the Lord commanded’ (36:1,5, this phrase is used 25 times in Exodus 35–40). Today’s reading tells how the call for ‘willing’ gifts and ‘skilled’ workers (Exodus 25:1–7; 31:1–11; 35:4–19) is answered in differentiated abundance. Gratitude is evident, following the covenant renewal – a response seen centuries later in Christ’s comparison of an ungracious host and the woman who ‘poured perfume on my feet’ and in Paul’s commendation of the generous Macedonian churches (Luke 7:36–50; 2 Corinthians 8:1–5).

Skilled workers are numerous: Bezalel (35:30–33) is joined by Oholiab in being able to teach others (v 34), but immediately we move on to a great diversity of ‘skilled workers and designers’ (v 35). All are involved together (36:1,2), but they could not work without the over-abundance and variety of material gifts, brought by ‘the people’ (vs 3–7). Nor is it just human effort (no one is self-made): five times we are told the Lord gave the skill or ability (35:31,34,35; 36:1,2), requiring the workers’ willingness to use those skills to his glory (36:2). Even more so today, the life of the church (and that includes material aspects) most gives glory to God when all willingly use God-given skills, with a diversity of gifts, working together. Some may have particular ‘ability [and so responsibility] to teach others’ (35:34), but all are called to be ‘willing to come and do the work’ (36:2), building a beautiful ‘sanctuary’ (holy place). What a joy when there is ‘more than enough’ (v 5).

John Olley


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To be in your presence (This is my desire)
Noel Richards.
Copyright © 1991 Thankyou Music

  • Song: There's a sound (Restoration Song)
  • Composer: Lou Fellingham, Nathan Fellingham and busbee
  • Artist: Lou Fellingham
  • Album: Promised Land
  • Publisher: Kingsway Music
  • Copyright: Copyright © 2008 Thankyou Music & The Livingstone Collective/kingswaysongs.com
  • Buy this album here



Comments
  • Rachael Hampton | Thursday, 30 November 2017

    Wouldn't we love to hear an announcement at church, or get a letter from an organisation we support saying, 'Please stop giving for a while. We have more than enough.' God needs the wealth of this world to get His work done, and the law of sowing and reaping is both a natural law and a law of the Kingdom. We give because we are blessed; we are blessed with more because we share, so that we can give again. But I love that God is not interested in providing for just the basics of life, but in creative beauty: intricate designs, gorgeous colours, lovely shapes to delight the soul, and reflect His nature. We need not be ashamed of creative gifts He has put within us, however unusual they are. May we use, give and share all that He has given us, with thanksgiving and joy. GILVIN, Amen to your prayer, and to the comments also. Barbara, I was transported with those 2 flash mobs, and shared them with others who were likewise blessed. Thank you.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Friday, 01 December 2017

    How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity. Ps 133

  • Angela Munday | Friday, 01 December 2017

    God is so patient and kind; He provides us with everything we need and it is a joy to share our blessings with others so they feel God's love too. RACHAEL - it was so good to hear the announcement in church "The food bank is full and overflowing, please do not give any more." God accepts what we give back to Him and miracles happen.......Joyful thanks, Heavenly Father for the discipline and order You offer Your children. Amen.

  • Roger Hall | Friday, 01 December 2017

    A lovely theme today! God is so Good! I'm thinking of the mysterious gift of the miraculous cruse of oil, and the barrel of flour! Or even the tank of petrol. Mostly, though, it's just the miraculous way He is always there, pouring sunlight on my life and flooding His words with meaning and encouragement.

  • Ruth Chisholm | Friday, 01 December 2017

    Giving is a good discipline but a heart filled to overflowing with the "biggerness of God" leads to spontaneous acts in the moment, just because we can, these often have the most impact. But It's hard to give out when we're running on empty, and back to the readings from earlier this week, to prioritise amongst the business of the season, to seek God's face, that His glory may shine through us. (Beats shopping any day!!)

  • Jack Russell | Friday, 01 December 2017

    So today is about skilled craftsmen and teachers with God given talents offering their services and in return receiving offerings that others had brought. Yes absolutely Racheal we do need no to be ashamed of the God given creative talents we have. And Ruth I had a thought not dissimilar to yours about giving out when running on empty when reading "prepare today". You have hear is said that the secret to joy is prioritising Jesus, Others, Yourself in that order. But what if all that does is lead to burnout and resentment? So while I hear what is being said about generosity to God and others in prepare I would add the caveat that this can only happen from a place of being filled to overflowing. Running on empty is far from that. And loving others comes with the caveat "as you love yourselves". Something that prepare didn't mention is about loving yourself and it is so important to do to maintain giving from a place of abundance.

  • Ruth Lewis | Friday, 01 December 2017

    I am so Blessed by all of the comments!!!!!!!!!

  • Ruth Lewis | Friday, 01 December 2017

    DAVID C., I an praying for JAN, and also for you!!!

  • Roger Hall | Friday, 01 December 2017

    The giving of gifts of love resonates, as I think one of the greatest would be that of Mary, opening her pot of perfume, worth a year's wages, and anointing Jesus' feet, and washing them with her tears and drying them with her hair. Nowadays, a years wages may be about £20,000. What did she do without?

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