Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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At Mount Sinai, when God gave commandment for the tabernacle to be built, He also commanded Moses to “speak unto the children of Israel that they bring me an offering.” This particular offering was for the construction of the tabernacle, where sacrifices and atonement for sin could be accomplished. It would be God’s special place among His people. This was an extremely important undertaking; in fact, the tabernacle (and later, the temple) was the most important place on earth, where the most important deeds were done to secure mankind’s salvation.
In general, Israel’s response to God’s commandment to bring Him an offering was admirable. The people brought so much that the men who were working on the tabernacle were forced to ask Moses to ask the people to stop, “for the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much” (Ex. 36:5-7).
But let’s slow down and think about this. If we read the story too quickly, we might overlook a couple of very instructive points. First, we might miss the fact that when Moses came down from Mount Sinai and conveyed God’s commandment about bringing an offering, he made it clear that God’s commandment was not intended for everybody in Israel! We are told repeatedly that the commandment was only for those in Israel who had a willing heart (Ex. 25:2; 35:5, 21-22, 29). Unwilling people were not asked to give a thing. That truth gives us a crucial insight into the heart of God. Nothing is acceptable with Him unless it is willingly given. One of the fundamental requirements of an acceptable animal sacrifice in the Old Testament is that it be willingly given (e.g. Lev. 12-3).
One remarkable element of the story of the tabernacle offering is that so many of God’s people were so willing and quick to respond with so much. That is an incredible instance of love on the part of men toward God. And the collection of this offering was not the work of a day or two; it took months to construct the tabernacle. Every morning, new offerings were brought to Moses until Bezaleel and Aholiab, the two men in charge of construction, came and told Moses, “The people are bringing much more than enough for the service of the work that the Lord commanded to make. And so, Moses gave commandment, Let not man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing” (Ex. 36:5-6).
There were many in Israel who hesitated too long to bring an offering and to have their part in the building of the tabernacle. If they waited too long, they would have brought their offering after Moses stopped accepting offerings. This means that there were some who brought their offering too late. Perhaps they hesitated before responding to God’s call for an offering because they were a little greedy, or they were slothful in business and put off bringing their offering until it was convenient, or they waited to see what others would do before deciding what they would do. But the end result for many was that they missed out, forever, on the privilege of having a part in building the most holy building the earth had ever seen.
When God opens a door for you, do not hesitate. Go through it! Do not wait to see what others do with the open door. If it is opened for you, then pray to have the love of God necessary to take advantage of the opportunity to please God and help people. Answer the call of God quickly. For His call to come to us is a very great honor. The least we can do when God calls is to respond quickly. That way, He knows we honor Him, fear Him, and love Him.