Day 4: Exodus 36:1-7

1 Bezalel and Oholiab and every skillful one to whom the Lord has given skill and understanding to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded. 2 Moses then called Bezalel and Oholiab and every skillful one to whom the Lord had given skill, everyone whose heart was stirred to come to do the work; 3 and they received from Moses all the freewill offerings that the Israelites had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, 4 so that all the artisans who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task being performed, 5 and said to Moses, “The people are bringing much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.” 6 So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing; 7 for what they had already brought was more than enough to do all the work.

1. The LORD had given skill and understanding to know how to do the particular work of constructing the sanctuary, and those so gifted were the ones charged with the task. How often do we fail to discern or even to trust that if God wants a thing done, He will gift and call someone to do it. Central to the work of Moses at this time was to call forth an lead those called and gifted for the necessary tasks of the moment.
2. The artisans available to accomplish the work were more than adequate. How often does the church live out of a sense of lack, struggling to find warm bodies to fill positions within the church’s programming life. In this story, the hearts of the artisans were stirred to come and do the work. HOW DO we put out the call, preach, teach, proclaim, in such a way that people will know and respond to the invitation – will know that there is room for them to bring their talent – gifted by God – for use in the Sanctuary.
3. People brought gifts because they wanted to see the sanctuary of the LORD built. So much so that Moses finally had to send aroud a message telling everyone to stop, for they had more than they could use. HOW LONG will it be before the church has that experience? WHEN will people respond with such zeal, enthusiasm, and generosity that the church has far more than it could possibly use for the ministries and work of the Kingdom of God on earth?

One of the words to describe these artisans is ‘wisdom’ (in Hebrew pronounced “chokmah”). This word also is translated ‘skill’. Interesting that in the Hebrew language in which most of the Old Testament is written, this one word has these two meanings. We would not normally connect the ideas of wisdom and skill. But, think of the work of a master carpenter, for instance. One distinction is that the master carpenter knows how to choose just the right piece of wood for the job, where I would just grab any piece that looked the right size. The master has the wisdom to ‘read’ the wood, knowing what it can and can’t do, and the task for which it is best suited. This then translates outwardly in skill, as the master carpenter shapes the piece into a beautiful collumn that will hold up far more than its own weight, because the integrity of the grain has been honored. Inner wisdom is expressed outwardly as skill. One might say of a top executive: “She is great at her job.” (evaluation of outward accomplishment) – the reality is that behind the skill, this executive has wisdom that enables her to know what to say and do at each moment, how to choose and prioritize tasks, what to leave alone or delegate, when to fight and when to withdraw. Wisdom is the inner gift, skill is the outward expression.

In what areas am I experiencing (or needing) an increase in skill, and what forms of wisdom will be required to develop those skills? What experiences, resources, relationships will I pursue in my quest to acquire the skills necessary for the tasks of ministry to which God has called me?

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