Reading through the Bible together
The evidence of God’s direct and personal contact with Moses must have stirred up a revival among the Hebrew people. Israel must have been eager to do their part as Moses gathered the people to report to them God’s message and plans (Ex 35:1). The people were to donate offerings for the building of God’s tabernacle, a dwelling place where His presence would be felt continuously. The relationship God had with Moses was to be extended to Israel as a nation. However, before relaying God’s plan for the tabernacle, Moses reinforced the sanctity of the Sabbath, the cornerstone of this relationship. Here we see the importance of keeping God’s law, as it takes precedence over life itself (Ex 35:2b). Despite being involved with building the sanctuary, the people would not be working on the Sabbath, the day of worship. The importance of worship on Sabbath is above everything else. Worship is based upon God’s law, so breaking it in order to build the tabernacle, would be not be right.
Israel contributed to God’s tabernacle and the spirit of willingness was manifested. The idea of giving with a willing spirit is repeated five times (Ex 35:5, 21, 26, 29). Despite establishing the importance of His law, God’s worship is based upon freedom of choice. A willing spirit is the fruit of a thankful heart and this is the true spirit of worship. Obedience to God’s law and a thankful heart is at the foundation of the worship established with the building of the tabernacle. The gifts brought by the people were the fruit of the condition of their heart. The beauty of the precious gifts of gold, bronze, rare stones were to please the eye only as a reminder of the beauty of the relationship between God and his people. The symbolism implied within the tabernacle would establish God’s relationship not only with Israel but the entire human race.
Questions to ponder: Are the beauty of God’s sanctuary and imagery contradictory to the commandment given in Exodus 20:4? How is it different? How can the proper context give new significance to the content of imagery?
Giselle Sarli Hasel
School of Visual Art and Design
Southern Adventist University