Exodus offers a great lesson for us on the topic of free will. Exodus 25:2 says, Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution…
First, the majority of people alive during Moses’ day did not contribute to the constructing of the tabernacle in the wilderness. The text says that Moses revealed this opportunity to “the sons of Israel.”
Second, the text indicates that among the sons of Israel there would be some whose hearts stirred them. Leaving behind the question of who stirred the hearts of these folks, we can still see that perhaps not all the sons of Israel participated in the design and construction of the tabernacle.
Third, some, in fact, would be stirred to participate in the design and construction of the tabernacle. They would contribute their gold, and they would donate their time and their skills as craftsmen–just as their hearts stirred them.
Fourth, these who contributed and participated did so “freely,” that is, they did so with a glad and willing heart, not under compulsion as when they were making bricks for Pharaoh. In a sense, we might say that, so far, everyone alluded to in this text has operated according to the desires of his own heart.
But, finally, we must see that those who are most free and able to help are the ones whose hearts are stirred. They alone seem to be free to obey the Lord. They are free to obey God’s will, which is to build the tabernacle according to His design, according to His instructions, according to His preferences, color schemes, shapes, and sizes.
So it remains today. Many are called; few are chosen. Many will never hear from God. Of those who do hear, not all will obey. But those who hear and obey, they will accomplish the will of God and discover that they were building a house for God, according to His plan and His desire. To put it another way, they will be glad to obey God’s will.