BY: CINDY JACKSON
BIBLE TEXT: Exodus 11:2-3: “’ . . . and let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold.’ And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians.”
Exodus 35:5: “’ Take from among you an offering to the Lord. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to the Lord: gold, silver, and bronze . . ‘”
Exodus 35:22: “They came, both men and women, as many as had a willing heart, and brought earrings and nose rings, rings and necklaces, all jewelry of gold . . .”
PERSONAL REFLECTION: Lord, I’ve read this story in your Word a hundred times. Please show me something fresh, something new, a message relevant for me today.
That was my prayer a few weeks ago as I was making my way through my favorite part of the Bible, Exodus, the story of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. I have always been amazed at God’s instructions for the Israelites before they left Egypt, to go to their Egyptian neighbors and ask for their silver and gold. The fact that these neighbors actually gave them their treasures and valuables is even more astounding. It wasn’t until a week later that God granted me the fresh word I requested. As I was reading Exodus 35, which describes the gathering of the materials for the tabernacle, it struck me that these treasures – the jewelry, gold, silver, and other items that the Israelites were bringing for the tabernacle – were the same plunder they had taken from the Egyptians. As slaves in Egypt, they wouldn’t have had any of these valuable items of their own. The Israelites walked out of bondage with gifts from the Lord, gifts given from the very source of their bondage, and, at the right time, they were able to offer them back to God. Gifts given in bondage later became acts of worship to a good and generous God.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Our family has been in bondage for the past year and a half – in bondage to a disease that has wreaked havoc on our son. We know that he is going to be delivered from this disease, and we see healing as I write this, but answers and healing don’t always come as quickly as we like. That morning, at my kitchen table, with my Bible open to Exodus 35, God spoke to me clearly. In your bondage there are gifts, if you will only open your hands and receive them. Receive them, walk in freedom, and then use them for My glory. The gifts He is giving me through this challenging journey are not gold and silver, but more valuable – faith, patience, kindness, hope, contentment, humility, love, wisdom, peace, knowledge, servanthood, and the list goes on. If I have a willing heart, I can give each of these treasures back to Him. My prayers have changed. Yes, I still pray for healing, but mostly I pray that our circumstances will be used for His glory. My daughter and I now even say to one another when we are having challenging days, “Open your hands and receive.”
PRAYER: God, thank You for being the Giver of good gifts from bad circumstances. Lord, help me always to open my hands and receive the gifts You have for me and to have a willing heart to glorify You with what I’ve received. Let my suffering be all for Your glory.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cindy will celebrate 30 years of marriage to Tim this June. They have three children: Audrey (25), Tyler (21), and Drew (19). Cindy enjoys cooking, reading, writing, and teaching, as well as spending time with Tim on the Caney. Her favorite time of the day is the hour or so she spends each morning at the kitchen table or on the back patio with her Bible in front of her and Jesus beside her. For the past year and a half she and her family have journeyed through Lyme disease with their son Tyler.