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"Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD." Psalms 134:2
Grover Laird, Editor
7030 Dorsey-Evergreen Rd
Fulton, MS 38843
July 2020 Sermon
Where Is Your Gold?
By Roger Laird
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether. Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold." (Exodus 11:2)
A very interesting fact about the exodus of the Children of Israel, was the last minute “borrowing” of important items such as gold, silver, and wearing apparel. This event was foretold to Moses before he ever appeared before Pharaoh. Oddly enough, the great psalmist David described the event years later in his psalm when he said, “He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.” (Psalms 105:37)
This occasion becomes especially significant when we remember that the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, whose labor bought gold and silver for their masters. It was prophesied in Genesis 15:14, instructed in Exodus 3:22, initiated in Exodus 11:2, implemented in Exodus 12:35, and then recorded for future generations in Exodus and Psalms. These poor slaves who gathered straw and made brick under brutal taskmasters, are now free to leave this oppressive land, and to do so in style. Their sons and daughters will be wearing the fine raiment of Egypt, along with Jewels of silver and gold. All of the things that they had not been able to give their children up to now, will be theirs just for the asking. The substance of Egypt was great, as indicated in Hebrews 11:25.
We can easily follow the trail of gold from Egypt to the wilderness with the Israelites. However, it is difficult to imagine that God wanted the Israelites to be gorgeously arrayed as they journeyed through the wilderness. In fact, I believe that He has another purpose for this gold that would be of lasting value and immeasurable blessings to the Children of Israel.
The nation of Israel left Egypt in a sad state of affairs spiritually. There was some knowledge of God. Although it is obvious that there were very few who know much about the worship of that Almighty God. Moses was given a special name to identify God to the Israelite people. It is possible that if from no other source, the tribe of Joseph was aware of God, since Joseph prophesied that God would one day deliver the nation of Israel from the hands of the Egyptians. An example is found in Aram and Jochebed. They did an outstanding job of raising their children considering the circumstances. They personally taught Moses the art of making right choices, and when given a chance he chose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”
This great chosen nation of God needed three things immediately. They needed to be taught about God and His ways, and this was the job of Moses. They needed a set of laws to guide their lives since they had no written word of God to go by. This was accomplished by God giving the Mosaic law at Mt Sinai. Finally, they needed a specific meeting place for the offering of sacrifices and the worship of God. There was no way that Israel could just make do until they got to the land of Canaan. It was evident that these needs were of an immediate nature since God began to meet the needs as soon as they left the land of Egypt. The first two could easily be accomplished while they traveled, but the third item was not quite so easy. However, God in His infinite wisdom already had a plan worked out to meet this need. A portable tent would serve the Children of Israel as long as they were on the move. God designed the tent (the Tabernacle), and instructed Moses to make sure that he made each part of it according to the divine plan.
Modern man is no different than ancient Israel. He needs all of the items mentioned in the previous paragraph. It is the obligation of parents, preachers, and other Bible teachers to instill a knowledge of God in the people. We have the tremendous blessing of having God’s laws written in a book so that we can refer to them day by day. A working knowledge of these laws is a must for serving and pleasing Him. His people also need a place to gather for the purpose of worship. It is a wonderful thing to worship Him wherever a person may be. However, a brief study of the Old and New Testaments make it clear that we are not to “forsake the assembling” of ourselves together. All three of these basic spiritual needs of man are listed as a “great commission” and it requires the efforts of all of God’s people in time, labor and money.
This was also true of the Nation of Israel. However, they had a very serious problem. They were living in a foreign nation where as slaves they did not have much in the way of goods to give to God. As always, in His infinite wisdom, God had already prepared to meet the need. Here is how He did it! “...The children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.” (Exodus 12:35,36) What an incredible marvelous way of providing for the spiritual needs of the nation of Israel.
Now we come to Mt. Sinai where Moses is instructing the people about God. The Law has been given, and now comes a direct command from God. “...Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” (Exodus 25:8) Along with the command to build a sanctuary according to God’s plans, comes the instructions on how to finance it. “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.” (Exodus 25:2) There were no raffle tickets, bake sales, chariot washes, or barbecue plates. God even indicated what was to be put in the offering plate. He began by saying gold, silver, brass, and then continued with a list of items that were not readily available in the wilderness. The question immediately comes to mind, how can the Israelites finance such an operation? A trip back to Genesis will reveal the brilliance of God’s plan. “...That nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”
The Children of Israel didn’t even own what they gave to the Lord. It had been loaned to them by God through the Egyptians. That is no less true today. If a person has the wisdom to mold wood into marvelous shapes, it is because God gave him the wisdom. So every dime that he earns from using that talent is really a loan from God. Not only does God loan us the substance, but He allows us to use most of it for our own good! These rich blessings are seen in this story. “But every woman shall borrow of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters: and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.” (Exodus 3:22)
Don’t let anyone deceive you, God’s methods ALWAYS work! Moses finally has to restrain the people from bringing any more offerings. The reason was clear. “For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.” (Exodus 36:7) It is beyond dispute that if God’s plans are followed, there will be enough to build the tabernacle, to meet the needs of those who minister the gospel, and with an appropriate amount left over to meet man’s personal needs.
Some of the borrowed gold that left Egypt did not make it to the Tabernacle. Where is that Gold? If we return to Mt. Sinai where man’s first two primary needs are being met, we get a glimpse of man using God’s gold to finance his own method of worship. Disgruntled by how long the process (God’s plan) was taking, the Children of Israel decided to step in and take care of things themselves. At the instruction of their temporary leader, they took the golden earrings borrowed from the Egyptians and melted them into a calf. Then an altar was built before the calf in order to worship.
T he gold used in that calf never was of any use to the Lord. It ended up as a powder stirred into the drinking water of the Israelites. So much gold has been used to construct calves that will never bring honor to a Holy God. Meanwhile, there is little gold available to print Bibles, extend missions, meet the needs of our neighbors, and finance those who dedicate themselves to the spread of the gospel. A perception of eternity, and the benefits of investing in it, would change all of that.
Thank God, there were people who did not invest in the calf, but instead invested in the Tabernacle that brought honor and glory to Almighty God. One person I recently read after summed it up in this phrase: “You cannot take it with you, but you can send it on ahead!”
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