Exodus 31: Rest, Oh My Soul

Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze,5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. 

-        The first eleven verses of this chapter should be a reminder to us of this: The Lord always provides for His projects! Detailed and elaborate plans were given to Moses, but what good were plans without someone equipped to do the work?

-         What a beautiful reminder to us, as His slaves, that when He calls – He equips! I love Galatians 3:3, which reads, “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” First, ask yourself what the Lord has called you to do, and then ask yourself if you’re carrying out that work through the power of the Holy Spirit or through your own efforts. 

-        We don't know much of Bezalel other than God filled him with His Spirit. It goes on further to inform us what it is to be filled with His spirit. It means wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and skill. It was of extraordinary proportion so that he not only could do the work, but teach others. Think about that! When we are full of His spirit, we are given wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and skill. We are not filled just so we’ll have these gifts and keep them to ourselves, but that we should share and teach God’s fullness to others.

6 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: 7 the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant law with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent— 8 the table and its articles, the pure gold lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense, 9 the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand— 10 and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests, 11 and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them just as I commanded you.”

-        Verse six in the KJV reads different, and I really like it: "And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee." These men were wise because God put wisdom in them. That wisdom was meant to bring Him glory through the construction of the tabernacle. What are you doing with the wisdom the Lord has given you? Recognize that it is from Him and solely for His glory. James 1:5 reminds us that anyone who lacks wisdom should ask for it, and the Lord will freely give it to you!

-        I love me some F.B. Meyer. So, here’s an encouraging quote from him to mull over: “There is a niche for each of us in God’s service, to each a special work is given; and for each those talents are imparted, which are requisite and adequate.” We all have talents that God has given us! Use them for His glory because what you’ve been given is sufficient for the task.

12 Then the Lord said to Moses, 13 “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.

-        At first, it may seem odd that Sabbath reminders are inserted into this section. However, previous verses spoke of the work to be done and the individuals who were called to serve in this capacity. While work is a wonderful thing, it must operate in balance with rest. God knew that the god of achievement could quickly distract His people. Think of the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10: “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

-        Martha’s heart to serve Jesus through her meal preparations was not wrong, it was simply that Mary had chosen something better. There were many preparations and details to follow in constructing the tabernacle, and God knew that the Sabbath must be kept or the work would become a distraction instead of an outlet of His glory. What distracts you from spending time with Him? These distractions may not be inherently sinful – but they can be unnecessary or imbalanced. Like Mary, make a conscious and intentional decision to choose what is better.

14 “‘Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death; those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their people. 15 For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death. 16 The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. 17 It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”

-        To put people to death for not observing the Sabbath may seem a bit extreme in our eyes, but we must remember that what was physical in the Old Testament has a spiritual meaning in the New Testament. We know that the Sabbath was a day of rest. Is not Christ a symbol of the Sabbath? He is the true rest and peace that people seek in this world – and not just one day a week, but at all times. He was put to death so that we could have that complete rest and enjoy Him eternally. What's your “rest” status? My prayer for you is that your Sabbath isn't just on Sundays, but that you carry the act of Sabbath in your heart throughout the week.

18 When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.

-        God gave Moses lots of instructions and thoughts. For forty days, Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving these words from the Lord. Then, the Lord gave Moses something to show the people. Tablets of stone which were inscribed by the finger of God. Wow! That ranks in the “awesome” category, doesn’t it? But that same God who spoke to Moses, dwells in us. We can receive instructions and insight from the Lord, just as Moses did. Proverbs 7:3 reminds us that we are to write God’s Word on the tablet of our hearts. The inscription is permanent! Spend some time today meeting with the Lord, hearing from Him, and letting His word be engraved on your heart. Amen.