I thought that it might be interesting to explore the types of offerings given by the Jews in an attempt to see where I could improve in my giving. Here are some of the examples:
Freewill offerings (n@dabah) – this was an offering given voluntarily for the work of the Lord. A freewill offering could be given as follows:
a. At the Leader’s request – Those who are willing would give generously. For example, the Jews who had a willing heart were requested by Moses to bring offerings of precious stones, anointing oil, linen and other items to build the tabernacle in the wilderness. Scriptures say that “… they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD’S offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments” (Ex 35).
In fact, the people were so willing that they brought the offerings every morning (Ex 36: 3b). Their gifts were so abundant that Moses had to ask the people to stop bringing them in (Ex 36: 4-6).
Synonyms for freewill offering include willing offering and voluntary offering. Both words are translated as n@dabah in Ex 35: 29 and Lev 7: 16.
Other examples of freewill offerings could be found in Ezra 1: 1-6, 7: 16.
Peace offerings – this was given to express thanks for something the Lord had done (Lev 7: 11-12).
Vows – In the context of offerings, a vow is defined as a promise/offering that would be kept/given by the individual if God would do something for them. The Hebrew word is neder.For example, Hannah asked God for a son and vowed that she would return the child to God as a Nazarite (1 Sam 1: 11). When she weaned him, she took him and her offerings to the temple in Shiloh (1 Sam 1: 24). The Lord then kept His part of the bargain and the child became a prophet.
Another example of a vow is the one made by Jacob when the Lord revealed Himself as he ran from Esau. God spoke to him about the blessings instore. Jacob vowed that he would tithe and build a place of worship in the place (Bethel) where he had seen God (Gen 28: 18-22).
Years later, as he returned home, he was told that his brother Esau was coming to meet him. Fearful for his and his family’s safety, he reminded the Lord of His promise to multiply his seed (the underlying prayer was for one of preservation). Later that night he met and wrestled with God (Gen 33).
The Lord kept His word and delivered him, having caused Esau to forgive him for the wrong he had done. The key truth, however, is that Jacob did not keep his vow to build the altar in Bethel. He built it instead in a place called Shechem, a disastrous move since his daughter Dinah fornicated with the prince of the land and lost her inheritance in Israel (Gen 33: 20).
God appeared to him and asked Jacob to return to Bethel and build the altar as he had promised (Gen 35: 1-3). When he did so, the Lord appeared to him again and blessed him, changing his name to Israel (Gen 35: 6-15). God wanted to renew him and take him to a new dimension of prosperity and the anointing. Jacob’s testimony really struck me when I saw the impact of failing to keeping vows made to God.
Blessings and more to come.