Scripture Reading: Exodus 31:1-11
If you feel like you’re not very gifted or skilled, or if you wonder if God’s going to use you in any special way, today’s lesson is for you. God does choose and equip people to do His work.
In the last few chapters of Exodus, God has gone into considerable detail telling Moses how to make all kinds of things for the place of worship: the tapestries, altar, utensils, incense and oils. Now God tells Moses how it would all get done: God had chosen and equipped people to do His work:
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘See, I have chosen Bezalel…and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts―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 craftsmanship. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab…to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you’ ” (Exodus 31:1-6).
What was the very first thing with which God had filled Bezalel? The Spirit of God. It’s encouraging to me to know that when God calls us to do something, He will, first and foremost, fill us with His Spirit so we can do it.
I remember praying for a man on the night he gave his life to the Lord. As we talked, he told me he had really wanted to read his Bible, but in the 50+ years he had been alive, he had never been able to do it. So I prayed with him: “Lord, fill him with Your Spirit so that he can do the things he wants to do.”
I left my Bible with him and the next day he started reading it. Then he bought his own Bible and kept reading it. Within a few weeks, he had finished the New Testament, so he went back to the Old Testament and read it, too. Then he started reading the whole thing all over again, and began passing out Bibles to all his friends. Now he’s a pastor of a church!
If you feel like you’re not able to do what God’s called you to do, ask Him again: “Father, fill me with Your Spirit so I can do the things You want me to do.”
But God didn’t stop there with Bezalel. God also filled him with “skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts.” God also said He’d send yet another man, Oholiab, to help Bezelel, along with many other people to help them both. God equipped all of them with various skills, abilities and knowledge to do His work.
Asking God to equip you isn’t a “magical” prayer. I’ve anointed my hands with oil and prayed that God would help me to play the piano better. After washing off my hands, I sat down to play again―and it sounded just like it did before! But over time, God has answered that prayer by giving me more and more opportunities to play and lead worship and develop my skills.
Now this is just a guess on my part, but where do you think all those Israelites got their skills, abilities and knowledge to do all kinds of intricate work with gold, silver and bronze? Remember that they had just been slaves in Egypt, working for kings who were later buried in those incredible pyramids. Have you ever seen the coffins or other things they’ve brought out of Egypt, like King Tut’s headpiece, or the other intricate carvings found in his tomb? Who worked on all that stuff? It’s probably fair to say that a number of the slaves helped to carry out the details of that elaborate work.
I wonder if the Israelites might have felt that all those years were wasted, making images of someone else’s gods. But now, God was calling them to use their gifts and skills for Him, to make a place of worship that far surpassed anything they had ever done before.
Keep praying that God will fill you with His Spirit, giving you skills, abilities and knowledge that you can ultimately use for Him.
Want to learn more? You can watch a podcast with more discussion about this topic below.