Torah reading: Exodus 35:1 – 40:38
Haftorah reading: Ezekiel 36:16-36
This week two portions of the Torah are read: Vayakhel and Pekudei.
The book of Exodus has been all about moving forward. The very word ‘exodus’ conjures up images of a journey, an exit from one place to go to another place. With this week’s readings we are at the end of the book and we read these words: Moses said to the whole Israelite community, “This is what the Lord has commanded: From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering…” (Ex. 35:4-5).
God expects voluntary offerings from his people. Notice the words: everyone who is willing…God does not coerce or manipulate. Offerings are to come from willing hearts for that is when they are pleasing to the Lord.
Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence, and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments (Ex. 35:20-21).
The happiest people I know are generous people. Moses had to stop the Israelites from giving to the work of God. They found great satisfaction and joy in their giving.
And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary… said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done” (Ex. 36:3-5).
Moving forward requires people who give to the work of the Lord. It also requires gifted workers with servants’ hearts.
The Israelites had done all the work just as the Lord had commanded Moses. Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded. So Moses blessed them (Ex. 39:42-43).
There is great blessing in doing a job well, with excellence and faithfulness.
Excellence is defined as ‘the quality of being especially good’. Those who did the work of building the Tabernacle were not sloppy; they didn’t start and not finish; they didn’t do the minimum, they gave their all. Since every day of our lives should be a love gift to our God, shouldn’t everything we do be done with excellence?
Faithfulness is defined as trustworthy, reliable, loyal and thorough in the performance of duty. As we have followed the details of the building of the Tabernacle over recent weeks, we have witnessed the diligence, the reliability and the thoroughness with which the workers completed their tasks for the glory of God.
Excellence and faithfulness are also two character traits of God Himself.
We read in Isaiah 12:5: Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth.
And in Deuteronomy 7:9: Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His loving kindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments
Our God is excellent in all His ways and He is faithful to us, even when we are not faithful to Him.
In Tune with Torah this week = As we are called to be holy as He is holy, it behooves us to as ourselves this week: Am I a reliable, dependable person? Do I keep my word to others? And to God?
Secondly, do I carry out my responsibilities with excellence? Or am I satisfied with doing the bare minimum? Am I diligent to do my best, knowing that everything I do is intended to bring glory to God?
May excellence and faithfulness be found in all of us.