Exodus 31:1-6 (NIV)
Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have 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 crafts. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you . . .
We’re moving around the Old Testament, scanning back and forth, searching for Holy Spirit truth. Like explorers, we’re parting the dense brush of familiar biblical stories, looking deeper into each one for fresh insight into the nature and work of the Holy Spirit. With every discovery, we are adding to our broadening vision of how the Spirit works through you and me today, as awakened people, to accomplish the gospel goals that stir in the Father’s heart.
According to Exodus 31:1-6, the opening story of Bezalel and Oholiab, the Holy Spirit accomplishes the will of God by working through, and with, our skills. Hmm. Our skills? Do you mean the Spirit uses the skills we loved learning, hated learning, learned because we had to, paid good money to learn, learned over decades, learned over a few weeks, or learned through the school of hard knocks?
The Spirit works through our work. The Spirit works through our experience. The Spirit works through our studied, rhythmic, informed, planned, deliberate, and habit-formed actions. We learn from this passage that not all gifts from the Holy Spirit fall easily into the categories of “spontaneous,” “surprising,” or even “miraculous” (as some would conceive). Sometimes the Spirit’s presence is manifest through a person’s inspired application of wisdom and learning, accrued over decades, and given heavenly impetus for the accomplishment of a particular task.
Perhaps you are a parent, educator, artist, teacher, health care worker, pastor, politician, or coach who is bringing your years of study, experience, and skill to a task given you by God. The Spirit fills those who follow God’s loving invitation into the long, hard, and disciplined work of preparation for service. He strengthens our character through challenging seasons of training, and then uses the package of our heart and skills to accomplish his will.
First, we are told that Bezalel is “chosen” (v. 2). Second, we learn that Bezalel is “filled . . . with the Spirit of God” (v. 3) expressed in wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and skills. Third we learn that Bezalel and Oholiab are given the “ability to teach others” (35:34), turning their skills not only toward their task—but also toward the mentoring and discipleship of others.
Strengthen the skills given to you by God, as an ongoing act of worship. Yield your talents and their development to the Holy Spirit along your journey. Then, keep a listening ear to heaven for the kairos moments the Father speaks, “Here. Now. I have filled you with my Spirit for this task.” Do what God has given you to do—then devote yourself to training others to do the same.
Jesus, I receive your Holy Spirit. I yield the years of my learning, growing, and experiencing life to you. Come, Holy Spirit, help me to perceive your presence at work as I serve others with my skills, and help me to train and encourage others to do the same. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
What skills has the Lord been inviting you to hone over your lifetime so far, and in what ways has he invited you to use those skills? Can you think of other disciples in history whose training prepared them for a moment when God used them powerfully?
For the Awakening,
I believe that as the saying goes: God does not call the qualified, God qualifies the called, is true. Looking back over my past life, I can discern that God does indeed prepare us to accomplish his will by sanctifying ordinary skills. My love of gardening and my former vocation as a peace officer has given me insight into Jesus’s parables concerning agriculture and the skills required to deal with interpersonal conflict resolution. David’s former vocation as a shepherd prepared him to shepherd the people of Israel as it did Moses.