Skills as both gift and responsibility
Here’s my reflection on today’s reading from Exodus 35:
Skills as both gift and responsibility.
“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— 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 artistic crafts.” (Ex. 35:30–33 NIV11)
God spent a lot of time talking to Moses about the dimensions, shapes, materials, and arrangements for His holy tent – the Tabernacle. Once all that was clear the task turned to building it. At that point something new was needed – craftsman and artisans.
Bezalel was one of these and his qualifications are pretty intriguing.
Firstly, Moses tells us that God has filled him with His Spirit. That’s a pretty good start. The third person of the Trinity will take up a place within this holy artist. God’s presence will be right there with him.
Secondly we see that Bezalel will additionally be filled with wisdom, understanding, knowledge and a variety of skills. That’s a pretty good mix too. But they will be present in more than the general sense of ‘he’s a pretty wise guy’ – instead this man will have these blessings so that he can make artistic designs in a wide variety of materials.
Does that cause you to pause?
God sets this man aside to make things beautiful. To craft things. To design things. At its heart here we see that not only does God approve of art – but that He specifically empowers it. Of course, this isn’t an endorsement for everything that calls itself art. Or to say that every artist is divinely inspired or empowered. But he was.
There’s one more gift. Not only does God provide a master craftsman for His tabernacle, but we see a few verses later,
“And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others.” (Ex. 35:34 NIV11)
Bezalel and Oholiab have great skill but they have another ability that will make their personal skills far more valuable to the community – they have the ability to teach others! By passing on their skills these wonderful individuals will spread their God-given talents across the people. God’s people as a group will become more artistic through this building process. I guess I’d never thought of that before!
If you’re artistic I’d love you to think about how you could use that skill or talent for God’s glory. If you’re talented have you ever tried to share it? Maybe this could be our prayer.
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding us today that You treasure beauty. Thank you for empowering and equipping Your sanctuary to be a place pleasing to the eye and honouring to You with its craftsmanship. As I reflect on the privilege of Your in-dwelling Spirit I ask that You might help me to work in ways that bring honour to You my Maker and energy to share those gifts with those around me. Amen.”