In Exodus 33, God calls the Israelites stiff-necked and the people mourn. God tells them to take off their ornaments. The people took them off. In Exodus 35, we see they found what to do with them.
The Israelites are gathering the materials for the tabernacle. We got the instructions before. Now it’s happening.
“All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and … all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord.”
Moses was marked for God by his glow. The Israelites are now giving up their markings of the world in exchange for the presence of God. They are making the tabernacle so that God could tabernacle among them, live with them.
God gave skill to men and women for making the things of the tabernacle. Women are spinning threads that will become the curtains and priests’ garments.
God gave each an ability to use for the collective good. That’s God’s communism. Worldly communism takes from everyone and benefits some. It devalues people and wastes talents and gifts. The government makes itself as god to the people. Instead of fearing and honoring God, they fear and honor their rulers.
God’s communism is the only kind that works because it’s the only kind that has love and truth as its head. As long as humans are in charge, there will be sin and death. In God’s communism, people aren’t forced to give. They give freely as their hearts move them. They are happy and willing partners in the collective goal.
We see that here in the building of the tabernacle. We’ll see it in the building of the temple. We’ll see it in the early church where they had all things in common and no one had any need among them. There were wealthier and poorer, but the abundance of the one supplied the other’s lack, and maybe it would switch in the future who was who.
Worldly communism (and its counterpart, socialism) forces people to give. The higher-ups dictate what will be and everyone has to participate. Without the heart of the people, it misses the communing, communal and community part of communism.
God’s communism springs out of the love and life of the individual. It can only ever happen with God in charge.