When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.
Ex 32:1-6 NIV
The scriptures above tell a story, one that is being replicated to a greater or a lesser degree in the Church today, just a couple of days ago I was meditating on the theme ‘the abuse of provision’ and it was about how God’s people often take what God gives us for the express purpose of building a tabernacle for himself amongst men and just build monuments to our pride, testaments to our covetousness and our yieldedness to the god of this world and his values, this was what Israel did when they abandoned the God they could not see to build a golden calf.
Just about when Moses was about to bring Israel out of Egypt God commanded him to tell the people of Israel to ask for precious articles and jewels from their Egyptian masters, the bible actually says Israel spoiled the Egyptians. You know we are never told why this was commanded but un folding events later give us insight as to why this provision was made.
Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” (The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.)
Ex 11:2-3 NIV
The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 36 The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.
Ex 12:35-36 NIV
Come to think of it, what is provision? The word is a compound of two words, pro meaning for and vision, in other words what is given for vision. So other to make sense of what is given f, we must understand what vision what is given is meant to enable.
I believe because Israel did not understand or know why God actually enabled them to spoil the Egyptians, a time came in their lives when what God gave to them to enable the building of his tabernacle in the wilderness (as we would see later) was used to feed their idolatry, lusts and flesh as in the building of the golden calf. There are many things to be said about the golden calf that are very similar to the idols we build today for ourselves many times in the name of God, for one thing it was very precious in their estimation, been made of gold.
This is the first lesson we can learn in learning how not to abuse provision and it is this; when vision (purpose) is not known or clear, the abuse of provision becomes inevitable. Never forget this, God always put provision into His people’s hands because He wants to build His tabernacle amongst men. Of course you know this is not talking about buildings made up of bricks and mortars but the Church, the living temple of God
As you come to him, the living Stone — rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:4-6 NIV
How does this work today? You find many believers who as they prosper in the world seem to make it a priority to acquire bigger ‘toys’ for themselves, latest model cars, houses in posh areas all around the world, more trips abroad etc but what you won’t find is a correspondence increase in what they invest in Kingdom work; evangelism and programs that directly impact the poor, needy and spiritually vulnerable. Of course they may contribute to Church building or improvement projects but those ones are like the golden calf, we can see them and admire the work of our hands. This is not saying these things are not useful in their place but by themselves if they are not directed by the Lord and part of a program that is reaching souls and changing lives daily, then they will not measure up to the Lords standards.
What did God have in mind, when He commanded the people of Israel to spoil the Egyptians? I guess we know the answer now. He wanted to build a tabernacle for himself.
This tabernacle had certain characteristics
Contrast this to the monument that Israel built by their own hands in the abuse of God’s provision and you will see clearly why what many people are building today in the name of the Lord may actually be them and not the Lord.
Look through the scriptures, everywhere the Lord had commanded something to be built for him, it had to be in accordance with given specifications and by those he had chosen to build. God was even careful to exclude David from building the Old Temple but directed that Solomon was to build it.
Something more you need to see and this is another very important lesson
Before God gives Vision he makes provision, provision always comes before vision, always, now the provision may not be readily apparent, we may need to call for it, pray to receive it but once the vision is given be sure that provision was already available.
There are so many examples to confirm this truth
You can think of more examples, listen if God has truly called you to build for Him, then know that the people you need and the resources you need are available, they will come to you at the appointed time.
The Church is God’s temple today, it is to be built in accordance with his specifications, just gathering people and preaching the word daily, praying for the sick etc is good but it takes more than that to build the temple.
I believe that true Apostles have the divine mandate and specifications to understand how the temple must be built, of course every member of the body has a part in the building proper but some have a greater understanding about how the plan reads. This may be why Paul called himself the master builder.
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.
1 Cor 3:10 NIV
Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts — to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers — all of them master craftsmen and designers
Ex 35:30-35 NIV
In talking about provision let’s be clear and understand that we are not only talking about material or financial provision but also about skills, talents and gifts in people as we see in the scriptures above. God raises up or anoints certain people to be part of the provision of building His temple through the people He has raised up in the Church. In a general sense it will be those that God has raised up through which Jesus continues His ministry today, but in more specific ways it will mean people that Jesus sends to be a part of different ministries and Churches and works that He has raised up.
However the danger for many today is that just like some were deceived under Aaron to lend their resources to building an abomination so many today are doing just that. Think about this, It may have been that some of the skilled laborers that God had positioned to help Moses build the temple had actually lent their skills to building the golden calf! Talk about abuse.
Friends if you feel a call to ministry, please ask the Lord to direct you to where He is building through His set men, don’t just accept any ‘opening’ it may be a satanic trap. I think in times past the Lord may have winked at this but now as we enter the age of restoration, it is critical that where our money and skills are going to must be where God really wants them to go.
What is it that makes people to abuse provision that causes them to engage in building and serving their flesh and gods of gold and silver?
I think the answer can be simply put as a loss of perspective, what do I mean? Remember that it was the absence of Moses that caused the people to begin to look for something else to fill the void caused by his absence. It is same today, once we lose sight of Jesus; we begin to build stuff in his name, gods of gold and silver, monuments to our idolatry! I think it is not for nothing that Paul commanded the Church to look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, the Church as a whole has lost sight of Jesus, we need to recover our vision of Jesus!
Losing sight of Jesus does not mean that we don’t pray in His name, go to Church or even do miracles in His Name, it means that the consciousness of who and what He is, our sense of personal devotion and communion, our unalloyed commitment to His ways and fidelity to His word is not there anymore. He is not One person that fills our thoughts and consciousness, we don’t see Him as He is anymore instead we see him as we want to see Him just like us!