From Exodus 30-32
The LORD has given Israel the law and as part of that they have to build the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant and the many items associated with their worship. To this end, the LORD has raised up Israelites whom he has given skills and abilities for serving the LORD and his people.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
31 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, 4 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.
6 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: (Ex 31:1–6)
Its always interesting to note the role the Spirit plays in the Old Testament. Always working behind the scenes and at this time only coming upon special individuals for special tasks. In this case the Spirit endowed Bezalel and Oholiab with the skill needed to build and construct various items of worship.
They were ‘filled with the Spirit of God’. Normally when the Spirit comes upon people they speak. They speak of the LORD, what he has done and his message for the people. Speaking gifts however are not all that the Spirit works within people. In this case he (the Spirit) gave these men the abilities of craftsmanship and artistry.
The LORD has gifted everyone of his people for acts of service. What is your gift?
They used their gifts to make to following items. These were used in a central symbol of Israel’s faith and religious practice.
7 the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent, 8 the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, 9 and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin and its stand, 10 and the finely worked garments, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, for their service as priests, 11 and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the Holy Place. (Ex 31:7-11)
The first three are well known and are very important. The tent of meeting, the ark of the testimony and the mercy seat were used for centuries after their creation. Their creators are largely unremembered afterwards, but perhaps you can see that everyone has their place and can be involved in projects that have large and ongoing benefits for the community. We should give some recognition to the little people.
According to all that I have commanded you, they shall do.” (Ex 31:11)
They had their job and they did it as they were told (Ex 35-39).
Story of Israel
As well as these men the Spirit also equipped his prophets. Notably the book of Kings speaks of the Spirit empowering Elijah and then Elisha for ministry.
9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” 10 And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” 11 And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.
Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. 13 And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over. (2 Ki 2.9-14)
The passage describes the passing of of the baton of ministry. Unlike most people, Elijah didn’t die, he was taken away.
Sooner or later the older generation needs to pass on the baton of ministry to the younger. That’s why teaching the younger generations is so important. Sadly, Israel botched it many times. In this case however, Elijah had a profound effect on Elisha and he follows in his footsteps. Elisha asks for more of the Spirit and he received what he asked for.
Story of Jesus
Following the death and resurrection of Jesus the Spirit was given to his disciples.
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” (Jn 20.19-23)
In this way Jesus commissioned end empowered his disciples for ministry. In Acts he does it for all his followers.
Have you asked to be filled with the Spirit and equipped for a specific kind of service?
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