Camped at the base of Mount Sinai, God directed Moses to “tell the Israelites to take an offering for me. You are to take my offering from everyone who is willing to give. This is the offering you are to receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet yarn; fine linen and goat hair; ram skins dyed red and fine leather; acacia wood; oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense” (Exodus 25:2-6).
Egypt’s emancipated slaves, God’s chosen people, responded obediently and generously. “The Israelites brought a freewill offering to the Lord, all the men and women whose hearts prompted them to bring something for all the work that the Lord, through Moses, had commanded to be done” (Exodus 35:29). In fact, they were so generous that the gold amounted to over a ton (Exodus 38:24). At today’s value of $1,900 per ounce, their offerings of gold amount to something north of sixty million dollars! Wow!
But how? Who would lead in the construction and craftsmanship of something fit for God’s dwelling place? “The Lordalso spoke to Moses: ‘Look, I have appointed by name Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with God’s Spirit, with wisdom, understanding, and ability in every craft to design artistic works in gold, silver, and bronze, to cut gemstones for mounting, and to carve wood for work in every craft’ ” (Exodus 31:1-5). Bezalel’s name meant “in the shadow of God.” Filled with God’s Spirit, endowed with supernatural wisdom, understanding, and ability, Bezalel was God’s man for this God-sized task.
Bezalel wasn’t alone. God also said, “I have also selected Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to be with him”(Exodus 31:6–11). “Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made everything that the Lord commanded Moses. With him was Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, a gem cutter, a designer, and an embroiderer with blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and fine linen” (Exodus 38:22–23).
God could have waved a magic wand and said, “hocus-pocus alakzam.” God could have fashioned, shaped, and created a masterpiece and called it the Tabernacle. He didn’t. Instead, he called and equipped His servants.
Likewise, He could have evangelized and discipled the world without assistance. Instead, He saved us by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). Having done so, God called us His masterpiece. “For we are his workmanship (His Masterpiece), created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10). We, like Bezalel and Oholiab, are called and equipped to participate in building His kingdom. Like the gifted artisans at Sinai, each born-again believer has received a super-natural “manifestation of the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:7), “different gifts” (Romans 12:6) “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).
Let’s get to work!