Mighty God, high and lofty, yet very near. I come to you in faith and trust, and bow before you in worship.
Read Exodus 31:1–18
Bezalel and Oholiab
31 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. 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.”
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.
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.’”
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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectBe open to God’s Spirit through his Word today.
Today’s passage is a wonderful reminder that it is God who gives people abilities, skills, knowledge, intelligence, craftmanship, artistry and design instincts (vs 2,3). So why do we often compare ourselves to others, trying to be like them or condemning ourselves because we can’t do what they do? That futility is shown in the light of these verses. God made you to be you, and me to be me. He has a different purpose and calling for each of us. Your name may not be Oholiab Smith or Bezalel Jones (you’re probably grateful for that), but your work, service, skills and abilities all matter and are important to God.
Immediately after focusing on work, we move to thinking about rest (vs 12–16). Once again, Exodus shocks as we read of God’s instruction to put to death anyone that breaks his command and works on the Sabbath (v 14). God has made it holy, as a lasting sign between him and his people (v 17). What does it mean for us today? The New Testament doesn’t quote the fourth commandment (see 20:8–11), but does expect us to be set apart from the world – different in the right way (e.g., 2 Corinthians 6:17). Resting, following God’s example (v 17), and trusting him to provide for us is one of these.
Resting from work allows us to refresh, recharge, meet with others to worship and devote time to relationships. Which of these do you need to focus on more?
Lord, I claim the promise for those who wait upon you (Isa. 40:31): moments of exaltation, periods of steady devotion, and times of empowering strength.