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Shemot/Exodus 35:21 Every man came whose heart lifted him
This phrase starts the recounting of the building of the Mishkan, with the various contributions coming from those who wanted to give - a voluntary offering. Two portions ago (T'rumah) G-d told Moshe to take up a collection from the people, but that he was only to "accept a contribution form anyone who wholeheartedly wants to give" (Shemot 25:2, CJB). Now at the start of the giving, we hear of those who came to give: those whose hearts lifted them - those who were inspired, motivated from the heart. The Sages saw the heart as the seat of the emotions, the persona, the real person as opposed to the brain, where the intellect or reasoning was seen to dwell. G-d spoke into and gave conviction to the heart. Consequently, the heart was the centre of the being, the motivator; if you wanted to do something then you would find a way. All appeals were made to the heart, for if the heart was swayed, then the rest of the body would follow.
In the scroll of Jeremiah, we find the L-rd speaking about the human heart: "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? I, the L-rd, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give each man according to his ways" (Jeremiah 17:9-10, NASB). This gloomy assessment seems to be echoed in the words of Yeshua: "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, acts of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, strife, pride and foolishness" (Mark 7:21-22, NASB). What a contrast with the generous hearts among our people who gave so much for the building of the Mishkan that they had to be told to stop.
Yeshua told the well-known story of the sower who went out to sow and then explained to his talmidim how the story worked. Luke's record tells us, "those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they do not believe and be saved" (Luke 8:12, NASB). Then, after the rocky soil and those crowded by thorns, the good soil represents those "who have heard the word in an honest and good heart and hold fast and bear fruit with perseverance" (Luke 8:15, NASB). It would seem that our heart attitude is the key to understanding this. It isn't a matter of what we know, what we understand, what we can prove or reason out, but how we respond in the very depths of our being - from our hearts - to G-d that makes the difference. The Puritan divines waxed lyrical about the dangers of an unrepentant or unregenerate heart. As Rav Sha'ul straightforwardly said, "If you confess with your mouth that Yeshua is L-rd and believe in your heart that G-d raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved" (Romans 10:9, NASB). Where the heart leads, the mouth follows.
Further Study: Matthew 15:15-20; Matthew 12:33-37
Application: Where is your heart today? Do you rejoice in G-d and bring Him an acceptable sacrifice from a heart that is open and generous towards Him, or are you not yet at that place?
© Jonathan Allen, 2005
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