The Craftsmen of God
What do you do when a sudden task rises up and threatens your peace and joy? Today’s devotion highlights the “little people” with “big problems” and how God enables us all to thrive under pressure.
Exodus 36: 1 - “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.”
I love how God calls out the craftsmen, even those with funny names ;). If you’re ever exhausted with Old Testament names, remember the One who ultimately named and called them.
God has a purpose for these people, just like He does for us. Where this becomes overwhelming, notice God’s role:
“…every craftsman in whom the LORD has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work…”
As we saw with Moses and Aaron, God called them to many acts of obedience, but it was always His power and grace that proved them as victors. Sometimes obedience was as simple as throwing down or lifting up a staff. God gave them instruction as well as the skill and intelligence to know how to do any work, no matter how difficult it may seem at the request, just like He does for us.
Last year God blessed my wife and me with new jobs. New job. Same God. The “unforeseen” trials came with “unforeseen” provisions, joy, and character growth.
Think about what the craftsmen must have felt like as God called them to build this first “tent” on the go. Hebrews 8:5 calls it a “copy of heavenly things.” Similar to our pilgrimage as Heavenly citizens dwelling in this Earthly plain, these faithful of God were given a direction to copy heavenly things so that God would be glorified.
While Israel built a “home” for God in this tent, and eventually the temple, we believers are temples of His Holy Spirits, so every work we do can cause others to notice Him. How did we miraculously become temples? By faith in His word and His grace to bless us in power. (Gal. 3:5; Eph 1:13, 1 Cor. 6:19)
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own… (1 Cor. 6:19)
I share this specifically for the reminder “you are not your own.”. Not only do we possess the power by God, but we also ought to deny the spirit within that would say no to the One who died to save and equip us for glory.
I finished a draft of this devotion and was promptly met with a sick daughter. My initial reaction was not that of a faithful servant. Then it hit me: obedience to God often means building temples we neither expected nor knew how to finish when God presented the work.
Hebrews 11 comes to mind as Noah’s faithful response to God’s call.
“By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household.” (v7 - emphasis added)
Pastor Andy and I recently prayed about my starting counseling again. I’ve been afraid of the pain and even the unforeseen drama of... duh duh duh... scheduling. In his encouragement and by God’s grace, I prayed for God to work and show Himself as greater than my fear.
What happened? A new counselee contacted me out of the blue, requesting help.
This passage reminded me of my role to say Yes. His role is calling us to faith, obedience, and reliance on His power. I don’t have to foresee how this will work for His glory.
Will we be like Pharoah, withholding obedience out of fear and selfishness to our kingdoms and plans, or will we be like craftsmen who trust the LORD and seek to spread His kingdom, power and glory?
Sometimes our kingdoms are as small as the ten minutes we thought we needed to get ready for work. We have so many opportunities to do great works of faith. The details in Exodus chapters 36-38 show God is aware of all the pieces needed for His plan to work. Part of that plan concluded in Exodus 40 with God dwelling among His people, fire by night and smoke by day to remind them of His unfailing strength and presence.
Do you believe He can be the same for you?
If you’re struggling, remember where your skill, intelligence, and know-how come from.
When God’s people worked in harmony with God’s will, His power through them created great wonders that pointed creation toward its creator. May these heavenly copies inspire your hope in God to show Himself in your work.