Exodus 31

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Read Exodus 31

Bezalel and Oholiab

1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. 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: the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant law with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent— the table and its articles, the pure gold lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense, 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.”

The Sabbath

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.

Go Deeper

Exodus 31 is a chapter that is important in its teachings, but also in its practical application. First, God chooses the people who will actually execute the plans of building the tabernacle and all the furnishings. Second, God commands Israel to observe the Sabbath so they may know that He is the Lord who makes them holy. Finally, we see God giving to Moses the two tablets of stone which were written by the finger of God. We know them as the Ten Commandments. 

At this point, Moses has been on Mount Sinai with God for 40 days receiving detailed instructions of how the Israelites would worship God. As we read in Exodus 25:9, God told Moses to “make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.” Nothing is left to chance. No place is left for human scheming. Every single detail was designed by God. Now that the pattern had been completely set before Moses, God makes known who will execute these plans. He chooses two men: Bezalel (from the tribe of Judah) and Oholiab (from the tribe of Dan). We are told in 31:3 that they were filled with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of craftsmanship. God knew these were the right men for the job. 

We have seen over and over in the book of Exodus (and Genesis before it) that God calls ordinary people, often the least qualified, to accomplish His will. Joseph was called from a dungeon to deliver Egypt from a famine. Moses was called from the back side of the wilderness to free Israel from slavery. Later on in the Old Testament, David, the youngest of Jesse’s sons, was called from the field as a young boy caring for his sheep to become Israel’s King. That’s just what God does. 

Just as God chose Bezalel and Oholiab, He calls and equips us to live for a greater story–an eternal story that makes His name known to those who are living in darkness. May we surrender our fear, our insecurity, and our own selfish agenda, trusting Him to provide everything we need in order to live out the call that He has given us. 

Questions
  1. In this chapter, what do you notice about God and how He accomplishes His work? 
  2. In what ways might God be calling you to partner with Him in serving others and building His kingdom?
  3. How does knowing that God equips those He calls encourage you today? In what ways has God equipped you to uniquely serve Him today?
Did You Know?

The commandment to keep the Sabbath was strategically placed at the end of these instructions. God had just given them a great assignment that would take a lot of work but it was also vitally important that they remember to pause and remember the Sabbath.

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1 thought on “Exodus 31”

  1. God chooses and fills! He intentionally equips his people with abilities to accomplish his purposes and do everything he commands. What is my skill set and how am I using it for kingdom building? Creating the tent of the meeting, ark of the covenant, cover, furnishings & clothing was no small task. God knew his people would need rest, a pause to reset and be refreshed, so he gave them the gift of the Sabbath. He didn’t offer this as a suggestion but a command. Their physical bodies would need a break, but more importantly their hearts would need reminding of the holy, lasting covenant they had entered into with him. Verse 18 calls the people not only to observe the Sabbath but celebrate it. We can fully trust that every single command given is good and driven by an immense love for us. Live loved today!

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