In case you can’t read this plaque from the front of our church (because it is really old, people), here is what it says:

“Hanging 60 ft. above the street is the 19th bell cast by Paul Revere. Gold and silver coin and jewelry were donated by the people of this parish in 1797 to be melted down for use in the bell giving it an unusual tone and quality. It is keyed C sharp, weighs 827 lbs. and was hauled from the Boston Foundry by Abram Perkins.”

So there you have it.

I don’t think I had ever read this plaque before last week, but my parents were in town and my mom wanted to take pictures of our church before they left. When I read it, it reminded me of a story from when God asked the Israelites to construct a tabernacle for His Presence to dwell among them:

Moses said to the whole Israelite community, “This is what the Lord has commanded: From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver and bronze … and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.” …Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence, and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the Tent of Meeting, for all its service, and for its sacred garments. All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the Lord … The leaders brought onyx stones and other gems … All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do. (Exodus 35:4-29)

When I showed my husband this picture and told him how it reminded me of that story, he said, “The funniest thing about that story is that all of those offerings the Israelites brought for the tabernacle weren’t originally theirs. They came from the plunder God gave them from the Egyptians during the Exodus.”

My husband is a smart man. And he is also many other wonderful things, but I’ll save them for another post.

“And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.” (Exodus 3:21-22)

The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians. (Exodus 12:35-36)

When God sets His people free from captivity, they leave with plunder from their enemy. Of course, that’s only if they are willing to take it.

And He intends that plunder to be used for His glory.

Certainly it is not usually going to be something tangible. But be sure that God will not deliver you and bring you out empty-handed. There will be plunder to take hold of on your way out of the pit. It is given to us to bless us, but it is also given to us to bless God. As a double slap in the face to the enemy, the plunder taken from him is used to glorify our Deliverer.

I think it’s fitting that the first tent in which God chose to have His Presence dwell was built with the freewill offerings of His people, a permanent memorial to how He had rescued them.

Today His Spirit dwells in all who believe in Him (I Cor. 3:16). Wouldn’t it be fitting for our plunder to be offered to build up God’s “temples” walking around us every day? After all, that’s what redemption means. The enemy meant it for evil, but God meant it for good (Genesis 50:20).

And just like the sound of the old bell at our church, the tone and quality of praise offered from a broken clay jar will have an unusual sound because it comes from the heart of a grateful person set free by her God.