Exodus 25:3-7, "And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass and blue, and purple and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, and ram's skins dyed red, and badgers' skins and shittim wood, oil from the light, spices from anointing oil, and from sweet incense, Onyx stones and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate."
I remember as a kid my father giving me money. It was a gift that he had been waiting to give to me. He had told me ahead of time that he was going to bring it by. I could hardly wait. I had plans for that money. Perhaps a headphone set, and some tapes from the music store. I just knew that I didn't have the ability to get any of those things before, but now that he was going to provide the funds for me, I had everything mapped out.
He followed through, and the money was in my possession. Thus, my dreaming began. Until one day I got a call and my grandmother, relaying a message to me that the funds that I had been given by my dad, just a couple of days prior, would need to be returned due to an emergency. Boy, when I tell you I was heart broken, that would be an understatement. I had all these plans in place, and I was not too far from accomplishing what I had set out to do with those funds. But, I also knew that the emergency that came up took president over my plans.
Finally, my dad arrived and I saw him pull up in the drive way. I slowly gather myself together, with the money and walked outside. I must have been a pitiful sight. When I finally reached the car, my dad got out, and I breathed a sigh, and placed the money in his hands. He knew that I wasn't happy by the look on my face. But I also knew that he wasn't happy about having to take back the funds he had given me as a gift. A look of shame fell over him, and I could feel he was sorry for having to ask for it back. He apologized an assured me that this would not have happened accept this was truly a must. It would impact his future and mine if I didn't return what he had given to me. I don't really know what happened to cause that inconvenience in his life, but I know my dad would not have asked for those funds back unless it was very necessary. I also recognized that he knew he could come to me and request those funds back and trust that I would understand. He knew I was mature enough to know that this was a serious situation, and that he would not require such a act from me if it were not completely a must.
The COI were being summoned to participate in the building of a sanctuary. Something that would impact their lives, the lives of their children and theirs to come, for eternity. It would hold the very key to their future within its walls, and God needed them to willingly participate in erecting this place where He says He wants to dwell with them. He asked them to bring materials that would aid in the building of this "Mobil place of worship" if you will. God instructed Moses to inform them not only to give willingly and from the heart, but also give something that I believe the COI had not intended to have to give up. Something God has gifted to them on their way out of bondage from Egypt.
When they were freed from the bondage of Egypt, they initially had nothing in their possessions prior to that great escape. They were slaves mind you, and barely had anything of value, accept for perhaps some cattle, and a few other items here and there to assist in the journey. But nothing that would be considered of wealth to help them along their journey to purchase food, cattle, land or anything they would need. But God had instructed Moses to tell the Israelites in Exodus 11:2, to go and "borrow of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold...the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians." So much so, that they gave them items of great value as they departed. The Israelites spoiled the Egyptians for many goods and took them into the wilderness with them.
Can you imagine how they must have glowed with excitement when Moses told them what God had instructed them to do. I bet they thought they hit the jackpot. Finally, they were going from poor slaves, to RICH with goods...and all gained from their enslavers, the Egyptians of all people. FREE to go and live as they pleased. This was now starting to feel more like it to them. Going from house to house to their neighbors, and gathering more than they could even carry. Not one person probably refused them, and would you? Considering that their God had taken down the most powerful empire on earth at the time with some plagues! They probably said "TAKE WHATEVER YOU WANT!", and the Israelites did just that.
But, it wasn't really that, as much as it was that God had given the Israelites favor in the site of the Egyptians, Exodus 11:3. It said that Moses was seen as a great man by Pharaoh's servants and the people of that place. That probably explains why there was also a mixed multitude that decided to follow the Israelites and leave the city as well.
They marched on and found themselves rich waxing with goods, marching through the desert. They had more wealth than they had ever had, so much so that they wore it in their ears, around their necks and on their arms. Their kids wore it, and even some of the cattle was dressed with it! Probably some beautiful hair pins for the ladies, and or scarves of fine linen and wonderful heads wraps for the men, to keep them from the noon day sun. I imagine their wealth sparkled in the sun as it beat down on them as they marched. But those very ornaments and fine things they possessed, that God had allowed them to spoil the Egyptians for, were the very things God would use to bring them to a deeper understanding of who He was in their lives. In fact, those very gifts and spoils that God allowed them to obtain from Egypt...they use to form an Idol to worship.
I find my life in Exodus 25:3-7, as I view the amazing gifts God has given to me in my life time. Those that are material, physical and those that are relational. Gifts that at times I have taken for granted and thought were all mine to use as I please, for my enjoyment, or please. Or perhaps things that I thought I deserved because of my hard work, or effort. Things that were not evil or wrong, and yet my possession of them and mind set towards them was totally in the wrong place. God has on many occasions asked me to return to Him what He has given to me, just as my father did when I was a kid. Not because I had done something wrong, or because He made a mistake in giving it to me. But instead, He wanted me to understand that the gift giver was far more valuable and the gift itself. Knowing that He would never withhold any good thing from me. It may just be that I am to have these things, or relationships for a small time, and then return them to Him, so that He can do something much more profound and great with them, far more than I ever could. Gifts like my children, or my husband, whom I love greatly, but must give them to God in order for Him to use them as He pleases. My money or my possessions, that I enjoy having, and using to make me happy. But ultimately, God has provided so that I may use them to bring glory and honor to His name, which is in turn for my own good and safety.
Then, perhaps I simply have made a God out of these very things that were given to me as gifts. Things that used to replace my love and fidelity to the one who created me. I used them to create something that can't even compare to the great and wonderful creator and redeemer. Always leaving me empty and broken, thirsty but never satisfied.
The ultimate goal was for the COI to surrender those goods, those gifts, obtained on they way out of bondage, in order to rebuild their relationship with their creator. They were cool to have, but having Him was far more valuable than any gold, silver, brass, purple or blue linens could ever be. Don't mistake the gifts which God has given, for being your possession alone.
Even after they had chosen the gold and silver and made a golden calf to worship in a dry place. God loved them and gave them an opportunity to surrender their lives to Him, even after they had done such a heart breaking thing. God asks that we surrender all to Him today, so that He may take those very gifts and prove them, through Him, to have a far greater purpose to lead us into being with Him for eternity. Don't love the gift, more than the giver.
Revelation 3:18, "take my advice and buy gold from me refined by fire so you can become rich! Buy from me white clothing so you can be clothed and your shameful nakedness will not be exposed, and buy eye salve to put on your eyes so you can see!"