Lovingly Crafted by Bezalel (with the help of the Holy Spirit)

CraftsmanI can almost see it now… a handsome metal plate attached to the articles in the ancient Israeli Tabernacle, or engraved into the gold, bronze or wood, or embroidered into the delicate and beautiful fabrics that adorned it… “Crafted lovingly by Bezalel and Oholiab.” And additional wording could have been added “with the help of the Holy Spirit.”

These two men, according to passages I’ve read in my Bible reading the last several days, were responsible for all the stunning craftsmanship that made up the Israeli Tabernacle! Of course they had natural talent and ability – but even that was God-given. But they were called by God and gifted by the Holy Spirit to fulfill this role as well. They did not fulfill the task alone, but taught others to do the tasks needed and oversaw their work so it would be worthy of the Lord’s Tabernacle and to bear their name.

I mean, search the Scriptures… Nowhere in the Bible will you find “craftsmanship” listed as a “gift of the Holy Spirit” except in Exodus 31:1-11 and Exodus 35:30 – 36:5. Which leads me to suggest that our understanding of the rich diversity of “Spiritual gifts” is beyond imagination and includes much more than what takes place in the auditorium of a church but also embraces the things that occur in “the marketplace!” But all of it is to be done “for the glory and honor of God!” The God-honoring work of Bezalel and Oholiab would have taken place in workshops of various kinds and involved a variety of skills.

Here’s just a taste of what the Bible says in the Exodus passages I cited:

“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.'” (Exodus 31:1-6 ESV)

“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, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft. And he has inspired him to teach, both him and Oholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver-by any sort of workman or skilled designer. Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whom the LORD has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.'” (Exodus 35:30-36:1 ESV)

And then what follows in chapters 36-38 are at least 65 instances in which it is said of Bezalel, “He made, he overlaid, he coupled, or he cast” … 65 times!!! Many contributed – but it was all done under Bezalel’s oversight and calling. “Crafted lovingly by Bezalel and Oholiab (and many others) with the help of the Holy Spirit”

Is it any wonder that Apostle Peter in one of his epistles urged, “As each has received a gift, let him/her use it to serve one another, as good stewards of GOD’S VARIED GRACE (God, rich “variegated” giftings, the Greek text implies)… in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong all the glory and dominion forever and ever!” (1 Peter 4:10-11)

In the class at Trinity Church, Cedar Hill, Texas, where I share teaching responsibilities, a friend of mine, Bobby Stoval just finished a wonderful teaching series on “The Call of God.” All Christians are called by God in some way – and gifted by the Holy Spirit to do what God has called them to do! Whether in the marketplace or the Church, may we do everything with excellence – for the glory of God – to help others and advance the cause of Christ! That’s my desire.

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