Exodus 36: Much More than Enough

In the first seven verses of this chapter, the pleasant scene of obedience and giving is extended over from the previous chapter. God’s people continue to give the materials needed for the construction of the tabernacle and its artifacts from their own possessions. Bezalel and Aholiab are the gifted artisans identified by name, and they as well as other artisans are called by Moses to do the work.

As they begin their work, an assessment is made that they have been given sufficient materials to complete the tabernacle and associated items. As it says in the latter part of verse six and verse seven, “And the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.”

In verses eight through thirty-eight, we have a detailed description of the work that is taking place. While reading through these verses, the details are familiar as these were things that God instructed Moses in previous chapters.

There are two valuable lessons in this chapter that are easy to miss. The first is the dedication of the artisans and the people to serve God with exactitude. If God is our supreme Creator (He is), and we recognize Him as such (we do), then ought not His Words be more important than any words we hear or read? How much more important then should His instruction to us be, that we make sure we follow His guidance and fulfill His commands? If God is our Master, it is our duty to be faithful and obedient and to do so with fullness of heart, just like the giving people and the hardworking artisans of this chapter. It follows also that obedience to God precedes but does not exclude obedience to our superiors. Our bosses, teachers, parents, anyone with a hierarchical command over us should be obeyed so that we can display a godly example of obedience.

“He who despises the word will be destroyed, but he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.” Proverbs 13:13

“Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.” Ephesians 6:5-8

“Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.” I Peter 2:18-20

The second lesson is that the little things matter. Think of all of the little details of intricate gold and bronze work, colored thread, and carved wood that were necessary to complete the tabernacle. Moses and the artisans were committed to getting these details all exactly right. It makes one think of Jesus’ words from the book of Luke, and how if one is faithful in the very small things, it is a practice that is made consistent to the bigger things of life too. It is a simple concept that is easy to remember. So, let us pledge to be faithful and honorable and obedient in even the smallest matters, so that when we face trials of great magnitude, we will be prepared to make the tough decisions needed to stay on the right side of the Lord.

Luke 16:10: “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.”

Luke 19:17: “And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’”

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