“And Moses Blessed Them”
The title of this article is taken from Exodus 39:43, which states, “And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.” Chapters 35-39 of Exodus deal with the construction of the tabernacle (and all the other material that went along with it) and the making of the priestly apparel. To read the conclusion of this great undertaking is wonderfully encouraging, for it ends with that great statement, “And Moses blessed them.” Why does the Bible state that Moses blessed the people?
Moses blessed the people for their giving. The tabernacle was financed by freewill offerings from the people of Israel. Moses instructed the people to make their offerings to the cause, and they began doing so. The text tells us, “And all the wise men, that wrought all the work of the sanctuary, came every man from his work which they made; And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing” (36:4-7). Moses literally had to “restrain” the people from giving! Would it not be wonderful if elders in the Lord’s church today could have this problem? Moses blessed these people because their love for the Lord led them to give abundantly to His cause.
Moses blessed the people for their work. These people were not lazy. Women used their hands to work with cloth (35:25-26). Wise-hearted men (endowed by God with such wisdom—31:1-11) made linen curtains (36:8), a tabernacle covering (36:19), a hanging for the tabernacle door (36:37), and other material to be used in the construction of the tabernacle (36). Aaron’s son Ithamar took inventory of the tabernacle building materials (38:21), and Bezaleel and Aholiab are also mentioned by name as being directly involved in the work of the tabernacle (38:22-23). When reading through Exodus 35-39, it is impossible to miss the great attention to detail that resulted in a great deal of work for the people in building the tabernacle. However, the people did not shirk their responsibility, and the tabernacle was completed in exact accordance to God’s pattern given to Moses on Mount Sinai. Moses blessed the children of Israel for their diligence in completing the tabernacle. Likewise, today, diligence brings a blessing from the Lord. “Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15, ASV). The work of a faithful child of God for his Father is never in vain—“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).
Moses blessed the people for their obedience. In the text used as the title of this article, the number one reason the people were blessed is stated—“…they had done it as the LORD commanded…” The phrase “as the LORD commanded Moses” is used seven times in chapter 39 to describe how various parts of the tabernacle and/or priestly apparel was made (see vv. 1, 5, 7, 21, 26, 29, 31). It is recorded in 39:32, “Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation finished: and the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they,” and 39:42 states, “According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work.” Ultimately, Israel was blessed by Moses because they obeyed the commandments of the Lord in building the tabernacle and making the priests’ clothing. The people’s obedience could be said to be the number one reason they were blessed by Moses in that, without obedience, they would not have given freely and over-abundantly to finance the work, nor would they have worked as diligently to complete the task. Obedience to God always brings a blessing. “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:9).
Israel was by no means perfect, and they often sinned against God and murmured against Moses. However, Exodus 35-39 gives an encouraging account of one instance where Israel did right and was blessed by Moses (and, by implication, God Himself). This account culminates in the last verse of chapter 39 with the statement, “And Moses blessed them.” The lessons for our time are clear—let us never be stingy with God, for liberal giving to the Lord’s cause brings a blessing (cf. 2 Cor. 9:6-7); diligent work for the Lord is not in vain (cf. Gal. 6:9); and obedience to God always pleases our Heavenly Father (cf. 1 Sam. 15:22; Mt. 7:21-23). Let us all do our part to support the Lord’s church financially, to work “the thing which is good” (Eph. 4:28), and to obey God’s Word in all things, so that we may be blessed ultimately by God with an eternal home in heaven with Him. Remember, “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (Jam. 1:25, emp. added).
[Article written by Chad Dollahite, taken from Bremen Church of Christ (Bremen, GA) bulletin]