Last week, we learned that God gives us the materials we need for the work He sets before us, and that we are called to build with what we’ve been given. Now, as we move forward in Exodus, we will see that God not only provides the resources to accomplish His plan but also partners and helps to get the job done. So let’s dive into Exodus 31.
“The LORD said to Moses, ‘See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you.’”
I love how the LORD tells Moses that He has called by name two craftsmen who will be in charge of the building project. He didn’t just tell Moses that there were two guys who would really help him. God gave Moses their names and lineage to help Moses find and commission these men. He also tells Moses that He has already called them and filled them with His Spirit, and given them the abilities they need to build the tabernacle.
Oholiab and Bezalel, two men specifically called by God to build and direct the construction of God’s holy abode. We don’t know much about Oholiab, but God tells us a lot about Bezalel, so we’re going to focus on him.
Did you notice who gets the credit for Bezalel’s talents? Does the text say that he was just born with these extra abilities, or that his hard work made him a great craftsman? I’m sure that Bezalel and Oholiab worked at perfecting their craft, but ultimately God gets the credit for their abilities. He tells Moses that He has filled these men with ability, intelligence, knowledge, and all craftsmanship. Bezalel was born and equipped for that moment in history. And since he was faithful in perfecting his craft, he got to lead the project in crafting the dwelling place for the living God of Israel. What an honor!
Another thing I find interesting about Bezalel is his lineage. Did you notice who his grandfather was? “Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur…” Hur, that name should sound familiar. Hur was one of the elders of Israel. Throughout the story of Exodus we’ve seen his name pop up at various events. He was with Aaron and Moses during the Israelites’ first battle and helped Aaron uphold the arms of Moses so that the Israelites could win. Hur is also mentioned with Aaron when Moses leaves them in charge of the Israelites while he goes up Mount Sinai to meet with God. Because of his high standing in the Israelites’ leadership, I’m guessing that Hur was with the seventy who got to see the presence of the Lord after the giving of the Law.
As you can see, Bezalel was the grandson of a prominent man among the Israelites. His grandfather has some note-worthy attributes in regards to faith and some not so positive accounts. However, one thing is certain, Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God. Despite the shortcomings of his well-known grandfather, Bezalel feared the LORD and was blessed. God gave him a special gift and would use him in mighty ways in the months to come.
So what can we learn from Bezalel? The biggest take-away is to hone and perfect our God given abilities. Just as Bezalel most likely spent his entire life becoming a better craftsman, so also we should spend time becoming better at what we’re good at. Yes, God gave Bezalel his gifts, but Bezalel needed to be a good steward of those gifts and make them grow and increase. As Jesus taught in His parable of the talents, “to whom much is given, much is required.” (Matthew 25)
Secondly, wait on God to give you the opportunities to use your gifts. We never know when God will call upon us to utilize our gifts for His kingdom and glory. Just as Bezalel didn’t know that he would be chosen to lead the construction of the tabernacle, so we don’t always know what God has in store for us. Therefore, we must wait patiently for God and His timing. The Lord has given us our abilities, and He’ll call us to use the gifts He’s given us at the perfect time. So wait and see what doors God will open up to use your gifts.
Finally, notice that Bezalel wasn’t the only man God called to build the tabernacle. God also told Moses about Oholiab. This must have been encouraging for Moses, because I’m sure he was feeling overwhelmed by the task given him. But God reassured him that He’s already prepared a team who will efficiently and effectively carry out His plans. In fact, the LORD tells Moses that He has given all able body men the ability to finish this great work.
This brings us to our final application point: we are not called to work alone. We need a team, and in His perfect time, God provides the men and women who will join us in our specific mission to further the kingdom of God. While God gives some special gifts to carry out a specific task, He has also given everyone the ability to further His kingdom if they are willing to serve Him.
So let’s get ready to serve God with what He’s given us and join the team of faithful workers already serving to expand and build His kingdom here on earth. And let us remember that when God gives us a project, He will always provide the people and resources need to get that project done.
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