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ch. 31:1-11     ch. 31:12-18


Bezalel And Oholub (ch. 31:1 - 11)


In this section we have two men mentioned. Verse 2 tells us that God had filled these men with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge of all kinds of crafts.  There are a couple of things to note here.  One thing is that God had to fill these men to make the items they were told to make.  They needed divine help and inspiration.  If this was true back in these Old Testament days, how more true is it to have the Spirit of God today in building the church. Without the Holy Spirit's involvement in the church, the church is not built according to God specifications.  The Holy Spirit is a must in the church.  If He is excluded from our activities, our efforts are purely humanistic and worthless to God.  This is what God wanted here in Exodus, and this is what He wants today.  There is no other way. It's God's way or no way.


The second thing to note is that the Holy Spirit gave these men the ability and the inspiration in the areas of crafts.  I believe this speaks to the creativity that is part of God's calling on a life.  The Holy Spirit can make people creative, no matter what craft they are involved in.  It can be building something.  It can be in the arts, such as music, photography, or painting.   The Holy Spirit can provide both the creative inspiration and the ability in these areas.  I'd only suggest that if the Holy Spirit provides such inspiration and ability, it would be His will that it is directed towards Him and the Kingdom of God.  Our creative and artistic abilities should show forth the glory of God.


Note the words "artistic designs" in verse 3.  I've written an article on these words.  It is as follows.


In Exodus 31 and 36 God commissioned Bezalel and others to build the tabernacle that would be His home on earth.  Before they could begin this project, these people were "filled with the Spirit of God, skill, ability, and knowledge, in all kinds of crafts, to make artistic designs …" (Exodus 31:3 and 35:32)  This tabernacle was to be God's "home away from home."   For this reason God provided detailed building plans for His earthly home.  It had to be functional, full of symbolism, and esthetically pleasing.   


Note the reason why God gave these people the Holy Spirit, skill, ability, and knowledge.   It was to create fine quality art, or as the NIV puts it, "artistic designs".  I really like the term "artistic designs."  God Himself is the ultimate artist.  An example of "artistic design" in the tabernacle is seen in the embroidering of the linen curtain.  Exodus 36:35 states, "they made the curtain of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and finely twisted linen, with cherubim worked into it…"  Doesn't that sound like a work of art to you?


The "artistic designs" seen in the tabernacle, and later in the Old Testament temple, should also be seen in God's New Testament temple.  I don't believe God would want His New Testament home to be any less esthetically pleasing than His Old Testament home.  Christians, both as individuals and as the church, are now God's "home away from home."  We therefore should consider ourselves a work of fine quality art.  Jesus has commissioned us to work with Him in creating us into an esthetically pleasing work of art.  If we can become this work of art, the world will see God's glory in us.   


As individual Christians, we have God-given talents that the Holy Spirit can use and improve on.  Some of us are musicians, some singers, some sculptures, some  photographers, and some embroiderers.  The list is endless.  We all have a part to play in creating "artistic designs" in God's New Testament temple. 


Over the centuries we've used our creativity to build temples from wood, stone, brick, glass, and steel.  In many cases these temples have been fine works of art.  There's no doubt about that.  We often marvel at these esthetically pleasing structures, but as beautiful as they are, I suggest we put our creative efforts to better use.  With the skill, ability, and knowledge that comes only from the Holy Spirit, we can mold ourselves into fine quality art.  God doesn't live in the temples we've built.  He lives in us.  Since we are God's temple, we are to be a fine quality work of art that He would feel comfortable living in, and which would also radiate His glory.  The temples that we have built radiate more of our own glory than God's.   


A good book to read concerning Christians and the arts is Franky Schaeffer's book entitled, "Addicted To Mediocrity", copy written 1981, published by Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers. 



The Sabbath (ch. 31:12 - 18)


Verses 12 and 13 tell us that God wants Israel to keep the Sabbaths.  Note here the plural "Sabbaths", not the singular, "Sabbath".  This is not just the seventh day, it is all the other Sabbaths that God has spoke to Moses about, for example, leaving the fields fallow every seven years.  On the other hand, the word "Sabbaths" plural, might be in reference to all the weekly Sabbaths Israel was supposed to keep.  


These Sabbaths were to be signs between God and Israel.  I'd suggest that means these Sabbaths were to be a means to remember that Israel serves the one and true God.


Verses 14 to 17 speak specifically of the seventh day Sabbath.  Verse 14 tells us that if anyone desecrated the Sabbath must be put to death.   It also tells us that anyone who works on the Sabbath must be cut off from Israel, yet in verse 15 it says if anyone works on the Sabbath must die.  So, at the moment, I'm not sure why one verse says cut off from Israel and the next verse says die.


One thing to note here is that this day is a "day of rest, holy to the Lord."  The whole purpose of this day was to stop work, rest, and remember the covenant Israel had with their God. 


The Sabbath rest for Christians is a debatable issue.  Many Christians say they keep the Sabbath, but in reality they do not keep it in the way it is taught in The Law of Moses.   First of all, they keep the wrong day.  It's not the first day of the week.  It's the seventh day of the week.  Also, so often there is much church related activity done on this day that it is not a day of rest.  I personally do not believe that Christians are required to keep the Sabbath.  I won't state my reasons here because I have done that elsewhere. 


Verse 18 tells us that before Moses left the Lord, God gave him the two tables of stone in which God Himself wrote the Ten Commandments on. 


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