Read: Exodus 35:30 – 36:7
Consider: Moses recognised the abilities of those around him and he encouraged their involvement in the work of finishing the tabernacle, its furnishings and decorations. Moses knew his own limitations and was willing to involve others in this great work, that God had commanded him to do. Notice, however, that it was not Moses’ personal choice that set apart these people, it was God’s choice. Look back with me to Exodus 31 where we read: Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills – to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. ‘I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you’ (Exodus 31:1-6).
When Moses spoke to the Israelites he reiterated that God had chosen these people and had given them the necessary skills for the wok at hand. This is what he said: Then Moses said to the Israelites, ‘See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills –
And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others (Exodus 35:30-31, 34). Notice that:
- God calling Bezalel and Oholiab would give them confidence that they were capable of undertaking the work;
- Recognising that God gave them the required skills and abilities, would leave no room for pride in their own abilities. Everything they did would bring glory to God;;
- God gave them the ability to teach others, so that they could pass on their skills and knowledge to others, who could become involved in the work;
- God did not differentiate between secular and sacred work. We are told concerning Bezalel that God had ‘… filled him with the Spirit of God …’ (35:31). God knew that Bezalel had skill, but he also wanted a spiritual person; someone who would know he was actually working for God and not men.
There is one more thing to notice and this can be found in Exodus 36 where we read: Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work (Exodus 36:2). God did not pressgang these people into his service, he wanted them to come willingly.
What can we learn from this to apply to our lives? Firstly, that God can use you if you are willing. God calls individuals from all backgrounds to serve him, but he never forces people to do so against their will. Of course, stubbornness may be evident that requires complete submission to God’s will. There are many people in our churches who have the necessary skills and abilities to get involved, but who are unwilling to take on responsibilities.. If this is you, it may be due to a lack of confidence. If so, today’s reading shows us that when God calls a person into his service, he also equips them appropriately.
Secondly, no matter how small or great the task is, God wants spiritual people to be involved. God does not differentiate between spiritual and secular tasks in his service. Unfortunately, society tends to value those who use their minds more highly than those who work using their hands. God values all those who are involved, no matter how menial the task might seem.
Thirdly, it is important to pass on skills and abilites to the next generation, who will be involved in serving in the church long after we are gone. We always need to remember that it is not our church, but Christ’s. We only hold it in trust for a short time.
Pray: Father, we thank you that you value the full range of skills and abilities that are found in your church. May we be willing to get involved, knowing that you will equip us for the task. Keep us mindful that it is Christ’s church and that we only hold it in trust for the future. Amen