Just over three months after Israel’s exodus from Egypt; Moses went up to Mount Sinai, to be alone with God.
He was there without food or water for an incredible forty days and forty nights.
It was at this supernatural meeting that He received the mandate to build a sanctuary in the wilderness – wherein the Lord could dwell among them.
Towards this project, there was to be a “fundraising”. The Lord instructed Moses to charge the people to bring donations of gold, silver, bronze, yarn (blue, purple and scarlet), fine linen, goat hair, acacia wood, red-dyed ram skins, sea cows’ hides, olive oil, spices, onyx stones and other gems (Exodus 25:1-9). All of these were to be used in the construction of the sanctuary.
Now, this fundraising stirs up curiosity.
Having just come out of untold slavery, where would the Israelites have gotten such expensive materials like gold, silver, bronze, yarn and fine linen from?
One would expect them to find it difficult to afford these; but surprisingly, they had all and even more!
So, how on earth did that happen?
In spite of how ruthlessly the Egyptians oppressed them, making their life routine revolve around hard labour, the Israelites left slavery with an abundance of precious materials and substance. This was because God had a plan.
From the outset, God made this plan clear, first to Abraham, and then to Moses.
He told Abraham, “Your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.” (Genesis 15:13-14)
Hundreds of years after, the Lord said something similar to Moses, “And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. But every woman shall ask of her neighbour, namely of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing.” (Exodus 3:21-22).
By the time they were to leave Egypt, Moses had probably forgotten, but God had not. With a fine mix of dread and surrender, the Lord inclined the hearts of the Egyptians to a favourable disposition to the Israelites (Exodus 3:21; 12:36).
So, after the decimation of Egypt’s firstborns, the Egyptians were terrified, to the extent that, they were not only willing to force Israel out, they were ready to do any other thing they asked of them. As long as the Israelites will be out of their sight, they would grant any request.
God was the one pressing the buttons.
He told Moses, “When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out of here altogether. Speak now in the hearing of the people, and let every man ask from his neighbour and every woman from her neighbour, articles of silver and articles of gold.”(Exodus 11:1-2)
Acting according to instruction that Passover night, the Israelites demanded of the Egyptians what they wanted; thus, they plundered them and got some remuneration for years of unrewarded labour (Exodus 3:21-22; 12:35-36).
Now, although, God had told Moses that the booty of choice materials would be for adorning their children; those items would be required for something more – He would require them for the tabernacle! After all, He had supplied more than enough – they even had so much, they could errantly afford a golden calf, while Moses was still on the mountain.
God ensured they left with their flock and passed through the Red sea, so goat hair, ram skins, hides of sea cows and precious stones will be available (Exodus 12:38). He also ensured that from Egypt they went through Sinai and the wilderness, where obtaining acacia wood, olive oil and spices would be easier.
And having earlier ensured they emptied the Egyptians treasuries, collecting their gold, silver, bronze and raiment (royal blue, purple, scarlet, and fine linen particularly associated with Egyptian royalty); God made sure that He wouldn’t be in want of materials for His sanctuary.
Can you fathom the depth of God’s wisdom?
His ways are surely beyond us!
That night, Moses and the Israelites may not have understood why God gave that instruction. But they obeyed all the same.
You see, sometimes, you may not understand what God is asking you to do; do it all the same – its relevance may be in the future and not in the present.
God’s wisdom is one reason you should never fret when everything looks all gloomy.
The depth of God’s wisdom is the reason Romans 8:28 should cling more to your heart. As long as God’s wisdom is at work, all things will always work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His divine purpose.
Remember the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus?
Speaking about it, Scriptures say, “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:7-8)
You see also that God always has a plan (for the future). He does for His children, individually and collectively (Jeremiah 29:11).
And He does work to accomplish them.
This should always give you confidence and assurance. But above all, it should incline your heart more towards faith and obedience.
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Ogaga Eruteya is a Nigerian Christian minister, writer and speaker. He writes on Faith, Personal Development, Youth Development, and Life Realities. With his words, he seeks to inspire, motivate, propagate life’s truths and represent a sincere Christian voice. Learn more about Ogaga here.