At first glance this Old Testament passage might seem a bit tedious, perhaps even boring. After all, getting the details on the furnishings for building the tabernacle (the Ark of the Covenant, the utensils for worship and sacrifice, and the tent that houses it all) can be laborious. But that is the point. It took a great deal of planning, effort, and commitment to realize it all. Although Moses received the instructions and revelation from God on the mountain, he still had to communicate it to the people and solicit their help.
What we see here is a wonderful synergy between God and the people, a kind of divine/human cooperative and a spiritual rhythm of revelation and response. The contributions and the work were done by people “whose heart stirred” them to give and labor. The people freely gave of their things and of themselves to realize the accomplishment of the tabernacle’s construction.
True worship of God has as its epicenter a dialogue between the divine and the human. God speaks, and the people respond. God reveals, and the people’s hearts are stirred. Worship is cheapened when it is mere duty and drudgery, an obligation and nothing more. What is more, one-way communication is not worship; it is a monologue. Worship is not designed to be a passive activity of sitting and soaking. Moses and God’s people seem genuinely enthused to participate and to be a part of what God was calling them to do. Worship that comes from willing hearts is a beautiful thing, because encountering God and being stirred within by him is a unique and purposeful relationship – and it isn’t boring.
Gracious God, just as you laid it upon the hearts of people long ago to participate in the work of worship, so impress my heart with your mission in this world. I give you my life along with my possessions so that my entire self will be dedicated to the worship of Jesus Christ. Amen.