Monday, February 9, 2009
The relationship between God and His people was broken.
They complained about dying when Pharoah's army was behind them - God delivered them. They sang, and worshipped and praised (for a day or two). Then they complained bitterly because they were hungry - and God gave them manna. Then God put on a spectacular display of power in preparation for delivering The Law - and they all pledged faithfullness and obedience. Moses is up on the mountain for LESS than 40 days - and they build a hand made god and throw a wild party to worship it.
God is not thrilled with His people at this point. Here is what He says, "Tell the Israelites, 'You're one hard-headed people. I couldn't stand being with you for even a moment—I'd destroy you. So take off all your jewelry until I figure out what to do with you.'" So the Israelites stripped themselves of their jewelry from Mount Horeb on." (Exodus 33:5,6)
So the rest of the reading today deals with the renewing of that broken relationship. God and Moses talk as friend to friend. God has Moses chisel out the 10 commandments on two tablets of stone. There is ANOTHER period of 40 days on the top of the mountain with God. God lays out AGAIN the path for His people to follow and obey Him.
This time the people wholeheartedly enter in. They obey. And when Moses describes the building of the gorgeous portable tent that God specified, EVERYONE joyfully participates.
In fact, one of my favorite passages comes from this text:
"Then they came back, every one whose heart was roused, whose spirit was freely responsive, bringing offerings to God for building the Tent of Meeting, furnishing it for worship and making the holy vestments. They came, both men and women, all the willing spirits among them, offering brooches, earrings, rings, necklaces—anything made of gold—offering up their gold jewelry to God. And anyone who had blue, purple, and scarlet fabrics; fine linen; goats' hair; tanned leather; and dolphin skins brought them. Everyone who wanted to offer up silver or bronze as a gift to God brought it. Everyone who had acacia wood that could be used in the work, brought it. All the women skilled at weaving brought their weavings of blue and purple and scarlet fabrics and their fine linens. And all the women who were gifted in spinning, spun the goats' hair.
27 -29 The leaders brought onyx and other precious stones for setting in the Ephod and the Breastpiece. They also brought spices and olive oil for lamp oil, anointing oil, and incense. Every man and woman in Israel whose heart moved them freely to bring something for the work that God through Moses had commanded them to make, brought it, a voluntary offering for God..." (Exodus 34:21-29)
Community! Excitement! Joyful giving!
When the relationship with God is renewed, there is an outpouring of love and obedience. There was such lavish giving, that Moses had to ask them to stop!
"So Moses sent out orders through the camp: "Men! Women! No more offerings for the building of the Sanctuary!" The people were ordered to stop bringing offerings! There was plenty of material for all the work to be done. Enough and more than enough." (Exodus 35:6,7)