The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls. Exodus 30:15
I’m working my way through the bible in order to produce my own biblical timeline. I know I can go somewhere and buy one easily enough, but I figure I’ll get more out of it doing it myself. That’s been the case so far.
Obviously, I’m not reading in depth. I’m scanning and looking for clues to dates. Mostly it’s counting the years from one guys birth, all of his begetting, and death. You do get the odd clue here and there as well. I pick up a tidbit here and another there, things I’d forgotten about or never really knew. For example, Exodus 30:15 above. That struck me as very interesting.
The current exchange rate is one Israeli shekel for .261 US dollars. Half a shekel would be 13 cents. This is no big deal to a rich person. It could be a huge deal to a poor person.
At the foot of Mt. Sinai the Children of Israel were getting schooled on all of the rules involved in being God’s chosen. Were there a lot of poor or rich people? They had started out as slaves, but recall that they plundered the Egyptians on their way out of town.
Maybe some people were better at plundering than others. Who knows?
This is where God is the great equalizer. You want atonement for your soul? Your ritual offering is 13 cents. Are you rich? Do you think you can secure better favor for yourself with much more? Forget it! 13 cents. Period.
First, this tells us it isn’t about the money. It’s saying that this is a relationship, and there is going to be give and take. We don’t have anything that God materially needs. Still, WE are material. It’s how we relate. That’s why it’s a ritual offering.
Second, everyone comes to the table equally. You can’t buy a better seat, so to speak. Trying to do so appears to be a sin. Note the verbiage: The rich shall not give more. It’s isn’t a suggestion. It’s a command. God knows us, oh so well! Likewise the poor don’t get a pass. There are no excuses in this relationship.
If I can afford to give more at church, am I a better member? If I can’t, am I worse off before God? No to both!
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51:17
Try reading the Bible by scanning like I’m doing. You might find something that will speak to you, something you’d forgotten, something to remind you of how you are with God.