Put simply these were ordinary men given understanding and skill by the LORD for the work God required. Ordinary men doing an extraordinary work because they didn’t steal the spotlight.
One Word –
“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 36:1
Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 36, 37, 38; John 12
Big Idea –
Can I let you in on a little secret? As I read Exodus 36-38 this morning, I struggled to stay awake. I find comfort in knowing that others have dozed off while reading their bible; I’m not alone. Honestly I grew weary reading again and again, “He made. . .” as the work of building everything associated with the Tabernacle.
It should be pointed out that this does not mean that Bezalel personally made all these things; rather he was responsible to instruct and oversee the work of all the craftsmen. As the one in charge of the work Bezalel “made” the Tabernacle and it’s furnishings, but he didn’t do it alone. This should encourage us to know that God will help us to do His work in our churches and communities today. God is not looking for superstars, just those who will work together.
But have you ever stopped to consider where did all these ordinary guys obtain the understanding and skill needed to construct the Tabernacle? Yes, the LORD gave them the talent or giftedness for the work, but how was it developed? I think it is fair to conclude that Bezalel and the other craftsmen developed many of their skills while serving as slaves in Egypt. The Hebrews did more than make bricks; they were building not only the cities, but the places of worship for the Egyptian gods.
If Bezalel and the others developed their skill and knowledge as slaves in Egypt, then this certainly is an example of how the LORD works all things for the good of those He has called. Bezalel and his companions would now construct the place of worship for the LORD, the One true God.
But when you stop to dig a little deeper, there is something more to be found about Bezalel and his special relationship with the LORD that set him apart for this work. First, is an recognize what his name means. Bezalel literally means “in the shadow of God” or being under the protection of God. Bezalel was not distant from the LORD, but walked or lived in God’s shadow.
Are we as close to the LORD that we too are within His shadow? If we’re in God’s shadow, then we are not in the proverbial spotlight; God receives the glory for anything we would accomplish.
Second, the LORD tells Moses, “I have called by name Bezalel” (Ex. 31: 23 also 35:30). For the LORD to call by name (qara’ shem in Hebrew) is uncommon, happening only two other times in the Old Testament. God tells Moses I “will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD,’” literally qara’ shem call out my name; the LORD also speaks through the prophet Isaiah to His people Israel encouraging them to not fear for “I have called you by name [qara’ shem], you are mine.” (Ex 33:19; Is. 43;1). God knows the names of His people just as He knows the number of hairs on each of their heads (see Lk. 12:7), but Bezalel is the only one the LORD specifically called by name.
Yet if like Bezalel we too live in God’s shadow, then we can look forward to a day when the LORD will call us by a new name. Jesus said to all those who repent overcoming this world, “I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.” (Rev. 2:17). I’m glad for the name given to me by my parents, but I’m looking forward to receiving the called name of the LORD just for me.
One final deeper thought about Bezalel. Solomon described creation saying, “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.“ (Prov. 3:19-20). These attributes chokmah, tabuwn, and da`ath in Hebrew are the same qualities the LORD gave Bezalel; “I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge“ (Ex. 31:3 KJV). In the same way, as we by faith in Jesus live within God’s shadow, the LORD wants to give us wisdom, understanding and knowledge; these gifts of the Spirit are available to us because “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).
Ordinary men, like Bezalel and like you and me, can do extraordinary things because we live within the shadow of the LORD our God.
LORD Jesus, forgive me for those times when I try to stand in the spotlight trying to ‘be somebody.’ Holy Spirit help me to live in God’s shadow, to walk in humility because it is not about me. LORD let my life bring You glory in all I do and say. Holy Spirit I rely upon You to give me wisdom, knowledge and understanding.