Exodus 35:30-31 – God-Given Skills

God gives to His people all that they need to serve Him well.  In the account of the building of the tabernacle and its many accouterments, Yahweh singles out two men whom He has appointed to lead this effort.  Earlier in Exodus 31:1-11 God first calls Bezelel and Oholiah.  When He provides more details as to what He wants, God renews this call in Exodus 35:30-31:

Then Moses said to the people of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship,

A couple verses later God also calls Oholiab by name.

Look at what the Lord has filled these men with in all the associated verses:

  • The Spirit of the Lord
  • Skill
  • Intelligence
  • Knowledge
  • All craftsmanship
  • Ability to devise artistic designs
  • Ability to work in gold, silver, and bronze
  • Ability to cut stones
  • Ability to carve wood
  • Ability to work in every skilled craft
  • Ability to teach
  • Ability to work as engraver, designer, and embroiderer
  • Ability to do any work in construction of the sanctuary

These men knew all these trades because of what God gave them to serve in His Name.  And these capabilities weren’t given only to Bezelel and Oholiab.  In their leading and teaching role, many other men contributed to the overall effort as we see in Exodus 35:10:

“Let every skillful craftsman among you come and make all that the Lord has commanded:

More than that, the women added much as Exodus 35:25-26 details:

And every skillful woman spun with her hands, and they all brought what they had spun in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen. All the women whose hearts stirred them to use their skill spun the goats’ hair.

This was truly a team effort because everyone had something he or she could bring to the table in service to Yahweh.

Note that the Israelites could build and construct the tabernacle and all these items because of what they’d gotten coming out of Egypt.  God had told them they would plunder the Egyptians (Exodus 3:22), and they did.  Think about this.  They were slaves and literally had nothing but the meager clothes on their backs.  Look at all they are able to contribute to this building project.  Exodus 36:6 tells us they brought so much that they had to be told to stop because the craftsmen had too much!

So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing,

This gives us the principle that God supplies everything in this world.  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10).  All that the Israelites had was given by the hand of God.  So it is with us.

And so it is with our skills, craftsmanship, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.  All the abilities we have come from God.  When our egos rise up and we become arrogant in our ways because of what we think we have done, it’s good to remember that we are not our own creator.

In addition, this example provides us background for what Paul detailed about the church as the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12, specifically verse 14:

For the body does not consist of one member but of many.

That’s the point about how God brings together those who serve Him into a functioning whole.  The Israelites became such a body in their service to God, and so do we.  That’s why we can echo Paul’s words in Romans 8:28 with confidence:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

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