When I turned the page (actually, I clicked to go to the next chapter), I found something interesting in chapter 36. There are these two guys, Bezalel and Oholiab, and they are super gifted in craftsmanship and engraving. It says that the Spirit of God had anointed them for this task.
That is not the big deal. The big deal is that Moses takes all the money—all the gold and silver—and he gives to these guys and their team. They are tasked with building a tabernacle.
‘Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary.’ (Ex. 36:2-3)
Several years ago, I met a pastor who pledged to support our congregation. I never saw a penny. However, he communicated to me as if we were buds. Now I am friends with many people who don’t support us financially, but it was weird—it was as if he thought he was supporting us. Money is a touchy subject, so I just continued in relationship with him and never said anything.
After more than a year, I received a message from this pastor. He was so apologetic. Apparently, someone was stealing money. He thought they were supporting us, while a staff member was siphoning off cash. Since then, he has been one of our biggest supporters and cheerleaders.
My point is that in the midst of this great move of God, these men, Bezalel and Oholiab, were completely trusted with the funds. How do we know that they weren’t stealing from the kitty? Maybe good ole Oholiab stuck a few gold coins in his tunic every day. We know he didn’t nor did the other because of what we read next.
‘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 left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.” Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.’
According to Exodus 38:24, they gave about one metric ton of gold. That alone—forget the silver, bronze and other elements—would be worth $40,000,000 today!
Now, that is biblical giving and accountability.
The people gave with such zeal and joyfulness that Moses had to give an order for them to stop giving.
And the men receiving the funds were so honest in the fear of the Lord, that instead of giving into the temptation to let the people keep giving, they told Moses about the problem of “over-giving.”
The New Testament equivalent of this can be seen in the book of Acts. In the Hebrew scriptures, God uses elements from the earth to build His Tabernacle and then His Temple. Both times the glory of God comes:
‘Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. (Ex. 40:34-35) When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple.’ (1 Kings 8:10-11)
This, too, came after supernatural giving:
‘King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted.’ (1 Kings 8:5)
Wow! What I would give to be able to have experienced that. But we see the same thing in the New Covenant. This time God doesn’t need gold and silver, but he builds His house with people. In Acts 2, we see the Holy Spirit fall on the 120 in a similar fashion in Jerusalem, causing a revival that would shake the Roman Empire!
And one of the first hallmarks of this revival is… sacrificial giving.
‘They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…’ (Acts 2:45-46) ‘There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.’ (Acts 4:34-35)
The first thing that jumps out at me is similar to what we see in the time of Moses. There was no IRS. No one was checking up on them to make sure the money was spent right. In fact, when two of them in the chapter five lied about how much money they received for a property they sold, they died! The fear of the Lord in the midst of revival caused the people to live in integrity when it came to funds.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe in accountability. We are a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and have received their highest rating. Accountability has saved many from giving into temptation. What I am saying is that in the absence of the ECFA, the people were honest.
We can’t get away from it. Revival and supernatural, generous giving go hand in hand. We see it when the tabernacle is dedicated, when the temple is dedicated and when the New Covenant community is birthed and commissioned.