Sunday School Lesson//19October2003

Exodus 35:4-36:38/Building the Tabernacle

Bloomfield Hills Baptist Church/Boomers SALT



The building of the tabernacle and the equipping of the Children of Israel is a great picture of how God expects the church to operate today.  With our own current building project underway, perhaps we can learn something from the first major building project faced by the Children of Israel.


I.                     The beginning of the successful construction of the Tabernacle started with the heart (Ex. 35:4-9)

A.      Willing hearts were the key (35:5,21,22,26,29,34)

B.       What contributed to the willing hearts of the Children of Israel?

1.        It should have been from an appreciation for God’s love and freedom from slavery but we know they were awful complainers. (Ex. 16)

2.        It was from a repentant and cleansed heart.  They  were moved by God’s holiness and were thankful to be spared from death at the hand of the Levites after the golden calf incident (32:27-28)

3.        Some were moved by God’s righteousness and repented after Moses forced them to drink water containing the ground up gold dust from the golden calf.  (32:20)

4.        Today,  willing hearts are still hearts that are cleansed and in fellowship with God

C.       What do our hearts look like today?

1.        A medical doctor could open us up and find hardened arteries and diseases due to neglect of the heart.

2.        If God looked into our hearts what would he find?  Hardness?  Coldness?  Bitterness? Discouragement?   We can fall prey to spiritual heart diseases and some because we neglect our hearts.

D.      When we realize the source of all we have, we will be more willing to give

1.        John the Baptist said that “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven (John 3:27)  His cup was always half-full instead of half-empty.

2.        All of the gold, silver, bronze, the purple cloth……were given free to the Hebrews by the Egyptians--through the agency of the Lord working the plagues (Ex. 12:35,36)

3.        They looked silly wearing all that gold and purple cloth in the desert anyway!

4.        Do we think we somehow deserve to be in this land of abundance instead of in a hut in Bangladesh?  We are here in America by the grace of God.

5.        God’s grace is the source of all we have anyway.


II.                   The use of our talents is not from a willing heart but from an obedient heart (Ex. 35:10-19)

A.      There is a difference in verses 5 and 10.  Service was not from a willing heart but from an obedient heart—it is expected.

B.       The suzerain-vassal treaty form of the law had a provision for corvee—forced labor.  It’s expected.    And we can see God’s provision of giftedness through the Holy Spirit (v. 31)

C.       We have been provided spiritual gifts so that we can serve.  (I Cor. 12)

1.        As you look at the list, if you are good at it, it is probably your gift.

2.        If you are complimented about it, it is probably your gift.

3.        If you enjoy it, it may well be your gift.

D.      The site of the construction of the tabernacle was filled with people working together in harmony (v. 24-28…) and a church should be the same way.

E.       Most of us are stressed with the complexity of daily life and our schedules.  We need to start somewhere small and see where we can fit in and use our talents.  This will be important as the church continues to grow—and the new building will be a catalyst for growth.


III.                 We need to have a wise heart, not a dumb heart.  (Ex. 35:26, 35, 36:1,2,8)

A.      We are introduced to a new term ”skill” or “skillful” person which is literally “wisdom of heart”.

B.       We all want a wise heart.  What does a wise heart do?

1.        It leads to a skillful use of  talents and ambitions which furthers the Kingdom of God

2.        It moves arms and legs to do the right thing (35:29).  It is not constrained by reason.

3.        It is sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading (35:31)  It is not hardened by sin.

4.        How do we get a wise heart?

a.        Ask for wisdom which comes from God and He gives it generously without reproach.  God doesn’t say, “That’s a dumb question!!” (James 1:5)  God wants to counsel us.  (Ps. 32:8)

b.       Allow the Holy Spirit to control (fill) you according to his command to do so (Eph.5:18)   Confess sin first as God will only fill a vessel that’s cleaned out.

i.                     See the harmony it brings in Eph 5:19-20.  I’d like to work and serve with those kind of people!

ii.                    The commands to love your wife and honor your husband follow this filling.  We need the Holy Spirit to do that! (Eph. 5:22-33)

c.        Understand the will of God (Eph. 5:17).   Start by acknowledging and trusting Him in all you do so he can direct/straighten your path. (Prov. 3:5-6)

5.        We don’t want a dumb heart.

a.        If unregenerate, it is deceitful and desperately wicked.  (Jer. 17:9)

b.       If in the body of a believer, it leads him to exhaust his talents and energies that are not a skillful use of his God-given talents—it leads him out of God’s will.


IV.                Wise hearts working together accomplish blessing and abundance.  (Ex. 36:5)

A.      The wise hearts lead to the provision of much more than was needed for the tabernacle (v. 5)

B.       In our families, wise hearts in concert will transform our homes/our church into havens of blessing.


V.                  The foolish heart does not take part in the blessing (Ex. 36:6)

A.      Givers had to be turned away after the need was met.  Some were probably late-deciders  finally participating but they were too late and  turned back and did not share the joy & blessing.  (v. 6)

B.      Some then probably now  felt self-conscious with those gold nose rings or purple dresses and maybe never used them for embarrassment.


Foolish hearts are a drag on the Kingdom.  We  may need to examine and fix our hearts and seek the wisdom and leading of the Lord so that we can participate in the blessings of His ministry.  Let’s seek to serve in some large or small capacity and do it with a joyful, willing and wise heart.


Since we are studying within the context of the Tabernacle, below is a diagram with some verses about how the parts of the Tabernacle are a picture of Christ.