On the day Moses finished setting up the tabernacle, he anointed and consecrated it and all its furnishings, along with the altar and all its utensils.
I. THEIR SPONTANEITY.
1. The princes had already given offerings towards the erection of the tabernacle (Exodus 35:27, 28), and now they bring further offerings for its conveyance (verse 3) and for its complete furnishing (verses 10-17). The power and will to give are a "grace" bestowed (2 Corinthians 8:7), and the more we give the more of the grace of giving we may enjoy (Matthew 13:12).
2. If regarded simply as a duty, it was right that the princes should take the lead, as now it is a duty for men in authority and men of wealth, pastors and officers in Christ's Church, to be "zealous for good works."
3. But the chief excellence of these and similar gifts was the "willing mind" (2 Corinthians 8:12). Under the law of Moses much was left to spontaneity (cf. Exodus 35:5; Leviticus 1:3, etc.), how much more under the law of Christ (Matthew 10:8; 2 Corinthians 9:7). The absence of willinghood may change the fine gold into base metal in the sight of God.
1. The uniformity of the gifts might possibly have been the result of fashion; Nahshon, of the tribe of Judah, setting the fashion, and the other princes following it. The "fashion" of generous giving may well be set and followed, that the illiberal may be shamed out of their mean devices. But,
2. The uniformity here was probably the result of previous arrangement, and the sign of an honourable emulation. This God approves (Hebrews 10:24), and St. Paul seeks to employ (2 Corinthians 8:1-7: 9:1-5). With this object public benefactions (subscription-lists, etc.)are acceptable to God if the spirit of the precept (Matthew 6:3, 4) is not violated. The details here published for posterity remind us that every particular of our gifts and services is recorded before God. E.g., a coin and its value, absolute and relative (Mark 12:41-44). A jewel, a family heirloom, and how much it cost to give it up (2 Samuel 24:15).
3. The uniformity was a sign that each tribe had an equal share in the altar and its blessings; even as different families, races, and individuals, have in the world-wide redemption of Christ (Romans 10:11-13). - P.
— A wealthy European monarch has been fired with enthusiasm for Africa. When I visited King Leopold I asked him, "What makes you so earnest about Africa?" I was touched with his reply. He said, "You know God took away from me my son, my only son, and then He laid Africa upon my heart. I am not spending the revenue of Belgium on it, but my own private resources, and I have made arrangements that when I die this civilising and evangelising work in Africa shall still go on." At the present time the king is expending £80,000 a year in Africa out of his private purse.
The princes of Israel... brought their offering.Ezra 5:1, 2; Ezra 6:14. The like zeal and forwardness we see in Nehemiah 4:3, 4, &c. The apostle persuading the Corinthians to liberality toward the saints, willeth them readily to perform that which they had willingly begun. The reasons are plain.
1. The God of heaven will prosper weak beginnings if there be a readiness and cheerfulness in us. This should be a great encouragement unto us, as it was to Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:20).
2. If we look back we are not apt to God's kingdom (Luke 9:62). If we give over we lose our labour, we miss our reward.
3. It is better not to begin than, having begun, not to proceed; better never to lay the first stone in the building than, having laid a good foundation, not to make an end, because it will be said to our reproach (Luke 14:30).
1. This serves, first, to reprove such as give over their profession, resting in a good work begun and in weak and small beginnings.
2. Secondly, it reproveth such as stand at a stay, such as neither go forward nor backward, but are always the same men, and look where you left them, there you shall be sure to find them. These are earthly minded and savour only of the earth.
3. Thirdly, such deserve to be reproved who hate those that go before and beyond them in the duties of piety, in gifts of knowledge and understanding.
4. Fourthly, it is our duty to proceed in sanctification, and labour to bring forth fruit evermore in old age (Psalm 92:15).
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