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#333 – Gifts by Grace (Exodus 31:1–6)

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“The Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have called by name Bezalel 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)

I want to read the first six verses. This is God talking about the construction of the tabernacle. I want you to listen closely the language here.

What I love about this passage, and why I wanted to read all six of these verses is because here we’ve got the names of different people. Some of them were pretty hard to announce, but take Bezalel, for example. We know about Moses, but hardly anybody recognizes the name of Bezalel. In this passage, God talks about how He specifically filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God and given him ability, knowledge, craftsmanship to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, to cut stones for setting, to carve wood, and to work in these different crafts.

I just think the tabernacle would not have been able to be constructed without Bezalel and other guys like him, other people like him. So, yes, God is speaking to Moses and using Moses in a unique way, but God is also using Bezalel in a unique way. Every part of this picture matters.

It makes me think about 1 Corinthians chapter 12 when Paul is talking about the body of Christ, the church, and he says we’re all members, parts of this body, and every part matters.

I think if we’re not careful, we can look at even certain leaders in the church and think, “Oh, now, that person’s really important.” We can fail to realize every person is really important. I’m not just saying that. It almost sounds cliché as I say it, but it’s true. It’s biblical. God has given unique gifts, skills, talents to all kinds of people to do all kinds of things in the world. This is skilled with crafts. I think we have a tendency to say, “Oh, the most noble professions are pastors, or missionaries, or people who are leading this non-profit organization, or people who are doing this or that.” And, this person over here … I don’t want to pick on any particular profession, but this person’s an accountant. That doesn’t seem as noble as a teacher. Or, “No, this person over here works in a coal mine.” That doesn’t seem as valuable as going overseas as a missionary when the reality is it’s all valuable.

There’s gifts given by God to all of His people to play all kinds of different parts in the spread of His glory in the world. God says, “I have given to all able men ability that they may make all that I have commanded you.”

The whole picture here is God’s grace in gifts given to all kinds of different people for all kinds of different jobs, responsibilities … all for the same purpose, that He might be glorified.

So, let me encourage you today if you’re that accountant, or if you’re that coal miner, or if you’re in this or that stage in your life where maybe you’re almost tempted to think, “Ah, I’m not doing something as important as this person over here, or that person over there.” Don’t underestimate for a second how God is using the gifts and the grace that He has given you right where you are, right now, for the display of His glory.

Realize that God puts us where we are with the gifts we have for the accomplishment of His purposes. What is most important is not which part we’re playing. What’s most important is that we’re faithfully playing whatever part He calls us to play using the resources, the gifts, the grace He’s given to us for His glory.

God, I praise you for Bezalel in Exodus 31, and men and women all across Your church today who do all kinds of things in the world, good things done to Your glory. We pray that you would deliver us from any hierarchy of significance based on position and what we perceive as most effective for the advancement of your kingdom. God, we pray that you would give us a far broader view than this and a far more humble view than this that realizes You are the dispenser of gifts and abilities. You’ve dispensed them in all kinds of different, creative ways for the display of Your glory in multitudes of ways.

So, God, may it be so today. May it be so in my life as a pastor. May it be so in this accountant’s life, and that teacher’s life, and this mom’s life, and this dad’s life, and this student’s life, and this retiree’s life. God, help us, help us, help us, we pray, with the gifts You’ve given us, the skills You’ve entrusted to us, the abilities, the opportunities You’ve given to us. Help us to glorify You today, right where you’ve put us.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and president of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, and Counter Culture.
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