“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me. And this is the contribution that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins, goatskins, acacia wood, oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones, and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.'” Exodus 25:1-9
God’s instructions for contribution and the construction of the ark and tabernacle were undergirded by His supply for everything. The only way the slaves-turned-nomads had all this bounty to give is that, after much struggle, they had come out of Egypt. It was the Lord who had engineered the plagues, and the final decision of an angry pharaoh, in order to have the Israelites released with great plunder. This new nation, who had grown from 37 people in Egypt to hundreds of thousands, carried out with them great and varied riches. (Genesis 46:26-27; Exodus 3:19-22; 12:33-37)
Bounty doesn’t show up on its own. We would have no eternal life, no indwelling Spirit or unlimited spiritual riches, if not for Jesus’s struggle and victory at the cross. Love is deeper when pursued and fought for, and wisdom is sweeter when mined from the depths of the Bible. Forgiveness is won only through the excruciating death of our Savior, and extended by oft-painful release of anger or resentment. (John 16:7; Ephesians 1:3-10; 4:32)
In what are we struggling today, and how might the Lord be developing or uncovering His riches in the midst? It may be a disappointment or grief, where He can shower His compassion, comfort, and sufficiency. It might be a weakness in proclivity to complaint and despair, where He will supply hope, contentment, and gratitude. We may be struggling for answers, and He is bidding us come for instruction and power and to understand that His ways are far higher than ours. We might be riled by a strained relationship, where He can enable understanding, the ability to communicate, and love that transcends differences. (Jeremiah 33:3; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Ephesians 4:1-3,15-16; 1 Peter 4:8)
Would we welcome the struggle for the spiritual and character and wisdom muscles that are exercised and built there? Would we learn to look beyond our difficulties to desire the rewards they win? And when our gracious God brings us through with bounty, are we ready and eager to return it with gratitude to Him, the giver of every good and perfect gift? (James 1:17)
Jesus promises His children peace in every struggle, and the knowledge that He is working all for our good and His glory. And because Jesus lives victorious over sin and the grave, He imparts to us victory for every struggle here below. (John 16:33; Romans 8:28-30; 1 Corinthians 15:54-58; 2 Corinthians 2:14)
Lord Jesus, help me triumph in every difficulty, and so show forth Your infinite wealth and worth. May my life show the other side to a world struggling with pain and disbelief, and flagging in hope.