“Do It Like This”

“Do It Like This” January 30, 2023


Exodus, chapters 25-27; Acts, chapter 6

Exodus 25:1-9 (NLT):

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings. Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them. Here is a list of sacred offerings you may accept from them:

  • gold, silver, and bronze;
  • blue, purple, and scarlet thread;
  • fine linen and goat hair for cloth;
  • tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather;
  • acacia wood;
  • olive oil for the lamps;
  • spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense;
  • onyx stones, and other gemstones to be set in the ephod and the priest’s chestpiece.

Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you.s


These chapters in Exodus are not, to be perfectly frank, particularly inspiring to me. Chapters 25-31 set forth the instructions that God gave Moses to construct the Tabernacle.  Then, chapters 35-40 tell the story of the construction – in language that is practically identical to chapters 25-31.  The detailed instructions – “make it this big, out of this material, in this way” – are not exactly the sorts of passages that most people hold dear.

But as I read these first verses of chapter 25 today, I sensed God saying, “Hold on a minute.  I have a few things I want you to notice.”  First, the tabernacle was to be constructed from offerings, not from “tithe.”  For those who might not be familiar with those concepts, “tithe” is ten percent of the “income” that God has blessed us with.  In those days, it consisted primarily of crops and animals.  God’s people were commanded to bring the tithe “into the storehouse” (Malachi 3:10).

“Offerings,” on the other hand, were gifts that God’s people brought freely to Him out of gratitude to Him for His goodness.  That’s why God tells Moses in verse 1 to “Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them.”  God wanted the Tabernacle – His dwelling place among His people – to be based on love and gratitude, not obligation.  (Later, when the Temple was constructed, people were directed to support it – through things like the “Temple tax” [Nehemiah 10:32], but that’s a topic for another day.)

“Do It Like This”

Second, God tells Moses, “Here is the list of sacred offerings you may accept from them.”  This reminds us that offerings to God are not to be whatever we’re trying to clean out of our house, or stuff that we don’t want or need anymore.  The list is very specific: gold, silver, and bronze; fine linen and goat hair cloth; gemstones – everything on the list was to be of high quality.  There was none of this “Hey, we need some wood; does anybody have any wood we can use?”  No, it was acacia wood – and as we see as the instructions progress, the wood was largely covered in gold.

That brings me to the third point: “You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the plan I will show you.”  As the instructions proceed, God reminds Moses several times to “do it exactly like I show you.”  Not only did God have a particular list of materials that He was willing to accept; He also had exact specifications that were to be followed.  This reinforces the principle that we are to give God our best – the best of our time, the best of our resources, and our best efforts.  When we’re motivated by love for God, rather than obligation, it shouldn’t be that hard!


I think the application should be obvious: God deserves our best.  When our children (or grandchildren) are young, and they bring us something they’ve made for us, we’re overjoyed – because we recognize the love that motivates them.  But as our children become adults, we’d be much less happy with the same things.  Why? Because what was a gift of love from a four-year-old looks like much less thoughtful from an adult.

The point is that when we profess to do something out of love, it ought to reflect our love. That’s true in human relationships, and it’s true in our relationship with God. God doesn’t set these lists and standards because He’s greedy or snobbish; He does it to help us to understand what it means to really love.  After all, He didn’t hold back His best when He gave us His Son!


Father, thank You for reminding us that if we claim to be motivated by love, our actions should reflect that love. Help us to give our best to You, knowing that You gave Your best to us. Whether it’s our time, our efforts, our passion, or our resources, help us to give you our best. “Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing” (Psalm 34:10, NLT). Amen.

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