Of course there were many regulations that helped them work out how to be generous, such as not going back over their field or vineyard after they had harvested it, so that the poor could glean from it. Letting their fields lie fallow, again so that the poor could benefit. One of their motivations was to remember that they had been slaves and aliens in Egypt, and so to care for the foreigners amongst them.

A couple of times in their history they embarked on major construction projects. The erection of the Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting in Moses day was the first.  Although it was a relatively simple tent, it was nonetheless made and adorned with expensive and high quality materials. How did a refugee and nomadic group of people produce such a magnificent thing?

They gave freely and willingly. “And they came, everyone whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and brought the LORD's offering to be used for the tent of meeting” Ex 35.21.

They had responded to what Moses told them: “This is the thing that the LORD has commanded: Take from among you an offering to the LORD; let whoever is of a generous heart bring the LORD's offering: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and fine linen; goats' hair,  tanned rams' skins, and fine leather; acacia wood,  oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense,  and onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and the breastpiece.” Ex 35.4

There is the typical Israelite: giving freely, willingly, generously because their spirit and heart was stirred and moved. Responding to the word of the Lord through Moses. Wanting to have a share in what the Lord was doing. Amazingly they gave too much. Moses had to tell them to stop! Can you believe it?        To be continued ...