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 36:1-7
“‘If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring to the Lord a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed. He is to present the bull at the entrance to the tent of meeting before the Lord. He is to lay his hand on its head and slaughter it there before the Lord. Then the anointed priest shall take some of the bull’s blood and carry it into the tent of meeting. He is to dip his finger into the blood and sprinkle some of it seven times before the Lord, in front of the curtain of the sanctuary.
- Leviticus 4:3-6
The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.
“‘When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering. He shall offer them before the Lord to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood.
“‘These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl. But if she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’”
- Leviticus 12:1-8
In the first Scripture, Bezalel and Oholiab are the two who God placed the Holy Spirit to guide them in building everything needed for proper worship of the Lord, the tabernacle, even down to the fence posts. But they managed the skilled workers. All these people were essential in getting the work done, but we would not consider them “essential workers” in the modern concept of that word.
And a special note: Have you ever heard a construction crew complain because they were over paid and had more construction materials than they needed? If so, are you from this planet?! And have you ever heard of a church telling the congregation that they should stop giving? … hmmm. … I thought so.
As for the next two Scriptures, the priest is an essential worker. They even have a ceremony of sin offering when the priest himself has sinned.
But who do we consider essential workers lately? This concept was reimagined during the COVID lockdown.
We all consider the military to be essential. Okay, some may not. We all consider the police … okay some do not think that either, but I think those are anarchists. Fire fighters? Of course. When we defund the police, there will be more fires…
But during the lockdown, grocery store personnel, food delivery people, pharmacy people, and others like that became essential personnel.
Teachers worked from home over the internet. My son had a blast that year, and a very steep learning curve. But in the recent ice storms, schoolteachers stayed home.
But my daughter-in-law, on the other hand, had to go to work. She was an essential worker. What does she do? She plays with dogs at the doggie day care.
WHAT?!?! Think that through. Our son, an elementary schoolteacher is not an essential person. They can simply cancel school that day, but someone who plays with dogs is essential. Does that not turn your world upside down?
Sure, she has to know how to handle dogs of all sizes. She has to anticipate before the fight starts and prevent it. She has to control dogs that are stronger than she is. But when things work right, she plays with dogs.
Why is she essential? They kennel dogs and other essential workers have dogs that need day care. But the thought seems upside down.
When I was much younger, I worked at a nuclear facility. For about 36 hours, the roads became iced over. I was required to take a vacation day, although most other people got a free day off – long story. But those who were at the plant went on short shifts and rotated back and forth to ensure nuclear safety and adequate rest for all employees. There was no way to safely get a relief crew in to relieve those that were caught on shift during the ice storm.
But, our daughter-in-law risked life and limb to drive in to work each day of the ice storm, while our son, an elementary schoolteacher stayed home with the children and their dogs.
But then I started thinking about the making of the Tabernacle. It took a “village” as they say, to make it, but once the tabernacle was constructed, who were then the essential workers? Okay, there were the people who carried everything from one place to another.
But once you arrived at the new spot to camp out and set up the tabernacle, who was then the essential worker? A Peter, Paul, and Mary song came to mind.
Yep! The guy with the hammer to drive in all those tent pegs. He, then, becomes an essential worker. Without the guy who hammers in the tent pegs, you do not have a tabernacle. Without the tent peg hammer guy, with no tabernacle, much of the ceremonies for worship cannot be performed.
And maybe what God wants us to know is that no matter how mundane the work, getting the job done and done right is essential, at least to someone. And doing a good job cheerfully pleases God.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
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