Bezalel and Oholiab

Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has 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 artistic crafts.  And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others.  He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.

So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.”

Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work.  They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning.  So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.”

Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.

–          Exodus 35:30 – 36:7


I just finished re-reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.  I am also finishing up the last chapters of Exodus.  So, when you hear Rick Warren say, wait unto the Lord (Psalm 27:14) and find out what God has given you as a purpose and then you read about Bezalel and Oholiab, something ties those two together.  Of course, Rick Warren says to go out and do.  You learn best by doing, and by doing you find what you are passionate about.  It’s hard to sit on the sidelines and see what looks like it is fun, and then jump in.


I thought golf looked fun.  I could get some shots off the ground.  A few guys at work invited me for nine holes after work.  I got near the green in two shots, but I chipped over the green three times before one of my friends slapped the ball out of the air on the fourth try so that this chipping nonsense would be over.  I then proceeded to take a few putts before going to the next hole.  By the end of the nine holes, I was getting the feel of chipping and putting.  I wasn’t good at it, but I had become good enough to be invited for the next outing.  You cannot watch the Masters Golf Tournament and then be a master.  It takes practice, or simply doing.


But Rick Warren went on to say that after doing a variety of things for God, there needed to be that time where we waited for God to clearly direct us to our purpose.


What did God do for Bezalel and Oholiab?  For starters, God indwelled in their hearts the ‘Artisan’ temperament.  Artisans (Sensing-Perceiving or SP in Myers-Briggs Terminology) are generally people that do not like learning for learning’s sake.  They are often not good in school, but if they see value in the education to be able to do something, they’ll be the star.  If an Artisan watches storm chasers filming a tornado, they might become a leading PhD meteorologist so that they could become the best storm chaser ever.  The experts on temperament studies say they we are given our temperament at birth.  What does Exodus 35:31 say?  “… and [God] has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills”


But when these two were slaves in Egypt, didn’t they just make bricks?  The Egyptians were not fools.  They probably watched the Israelite children at play.  When they say Bezalel painting something, they saw a child that was better than children twice his age (just guessing).  They set him and Oholiab aside.  Even within the world today, totalitarian style governments set some children aside for science, technology, engineering, and math, but they also set others aside for athletic endeavors.  I do not imagine the Egyptians being any less astute at reading potential in others.


So here you have two children, born with the desire to create beautiful things who have been set aside as slaves to the artistic types of Egypt.  They were the best, because they were taught by the best that Egypt had to offer as art teachers.


It is said that Michelangelo considered himself a sculptor.  Yet, he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  Da Vinci was another great mind who could be good at more than one thing.  Bezalel and Oholiab were good at everything needed to build everything that the Lord directed Moses to build.


Then, there is the imbuement of the Holy Spirit.  They had Almighty God soak the Holy Spirit into every pour of their bodies.  They had the desire to learn their craft, through God giving them the best temperament to stick with the tough educational process.  They had learned the skills needed in Egypt.  Had God directed the Egyptian artists in the direction of Bezalel and Oholiab?  I am sure He did.  But to ensure that everything was built exactly as God had intended, the Holy Spirit dwelled within them to guide them in each stroke of the hammer and each stitch with the needle.


So what?  That was thousands of years ago.


God gave each of us a unique temperament.  There are four basic temperaments, branching into sixteen temperament-types.  We have either followed our desired career path that best uses that temperament or we haven’t, but what of our spiritual purpose in life?  While we may be stuck in the hum-drum 9-5 at the office, following our parent’s dream for our lives (as an example), we can follow God’s perfect plan in our service to Him.


Like Rick Warren says, we may have to try out a few different service projects, or mission trips, or other purposes in serving God.  But when we find that passion, we can no longer sit on the sideline.  When God has given us the ‘Ahha!’ moment, we must get moving.


May we all search for our purpose, spend time in prayer to hear God tell us what that purpose is, and then rely on God for strength while we follow that purpose.



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