I am currently doing my devotional study through the book of Exodus and I am loving every minute of it! Too often, I think Christians bypass some of the Old Testament books because they deem them irrelevant or boring. However, a simple study through these books will prove that mindset to be faulty.
Chapters 25-30 deal with the construction of God’s temple and the consecration of the priests. In those chapters we read about the Ark of the Covenant, the Table for Bread, The Tabernacle, the priest’s garments, and the consecration of the priests. We learn in those chapters that God delights to dwell among His people, He alone establishes the regulation of His worship, and that His priests ought to be holy and set apart for their calling. Further, we see that God’s people needed someone to represent them before God.
In chapter 31, we read of God setting apart Oholiab and Bezalel for His work. It’s in this chapter that we read, “and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs (v.3).” God adds, “And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you.”
If chapter 30 of Exodus shows us that we need a representative in the priests, chapter 31 shows us that the Spirit of God enables us to serve God’s people for God’s glory (Merida, 187). Furthermore, we see that the work of God is accomplished by the Spirit of God. God does not call us to do something that he does not first equip us to accomplish.
We Have Been Blessed
All Christians have been given the promised Holy Spirit. Since we have the Holy Spirit, we have all been given unique gifts by God. Everyone of us have different skills, talents, and abilities. For some of us, we are gifted communicators, others are discerning, and others may have a knack for leadership. If we’re not careful, we can easily fall into the trap of thinking that our abilities and talents somehow make us better than others.
However, after reading through the book of Exodus, one thing is clear: Our skills, talents, and abilities don’t originate with us, but with God who grants them to us. When we understand this, we will understand that we are called to be stewards of the blessings God has entrusted to us through His Holy Spirit. God is the one that caused these men to be filled with His Spirit and set apart for His work.
The Purpose of our Gifts
Why have we been given gifts? Are they for our own self-gratification or for the praise of another? What we see in Exodus is that we must be stewards of God’s gifts for the praise of His glory. First, God has not gifted us to receive praise from others, but to glorify Him. The question we must ask ourselves is this, “Do I use my gifts to propagate my own glory or to glorify God?” Do we use our abilities so that others will notice and acknowledge our giftedness or for others to marvel at the goodness of God?
Second, God has gifted us for the well-being of others. God gave these men a unique set of skills for the well-being of the people. They were to construct things so that others would marvel and praise God in righteousness and faithfulness in the tabernacle. The Apostle Paul tells us that all Christians have been blessed with gifts for the common good (1 Cor. 12:7). He states in Ephesians, “And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-12).
Christian, you have been gifted by God. How are you using those gifts for the building up the body of Christ to which you belong?
The Power for Christian Ministry and Living
Exodus 31 shows us that we cannot accomplish the work of God apart from the power of the Spirit of God. Too often, we incorrectly believe that we can be faithful in our Christian lives because of our own strength and energy. However, we know that if we consistently rely on our own power, we will ultimately crash and burn. We need God’s Spirit to empower us and lead us into faithfulness and holiness. Solomon states it like this, “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain (Ps. 127:1).”
Application for Today
With these truths, let us draw near to God. We must remember that every good gift that we have (and our abilities are good gifts) originate from God. He did not have to entrust us and empower us with these abilities, but in His grace and goodness, He deemed it appropriate. Let us be good stewards of the blessings that we have been given. May we consistently turn people’s praise of us into praise of our Heavenly Father.
We must ask ourselves, “How can I use my gifts for the building up the body of Christ?” How can I serve in my local congregation with the gifts that I have been given? We see from this text that we were not redeemed to live in isolation, but we were adopted into a family. Let us serve faithfully in the body of Christ.
Let us daily go to the throne room and ask for God’s grace and guidance through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Let us pray for God to consistently lead us, guide us, and strengthen us by the power of His Spirit, so that we can accomplish the work that God has called us to.
Lastly, may we be filled with humility at the understanding that God was not obligated to bless us in this way. We were wretched sinners deserving wrath and condemnation, but we have been redeemed! We have been sealed with the blessed Holy Spirit of God. May our understanding of the gospel and its implications on our lives bring us into singing praises for our God!
Soli Deo Gloria