Bezalel and Oholiab

I have never heard a single Sunday school lesson or sermon that I can remember on the lives of two men who are a huge part of Israel’s history. In the book of Exodus God gives great details about how the tabernacle and all of its furnishings will be built. About two-thirds of the way into the story of the tabernacle in Exodus 31 God tells Moses about Bezalel (son of Uri, the son of Hur from the tribe of Benjamin) and about Oholiab (son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan). These men are “filled with the Spirit of God, with skill ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts” (Ex. 31:3). They are introduced in Exodus 31 and their story picks up again in chapters 35 and 36. In 35:34 it states that not only do these two have the ability to do the work but they also have “the ability to teach others.”

Bezalel is the primary builder of all of the religious furnishings for the nation of Israel. Oholiab is his right hand man. Apparently they work side by side like old friends. Together they build and craft while teaching the people how to replicate what they are doing.

Moses is the leader who receives the word of God and tells the people. These guys are the men of action. They take the word of God and build and mold the future of Israel’s house of worship. These are the guys who built the ark of the covenant as the center of God’s presence.

This story grabbed a hold of me recently and I have been reflecting on it the last couple of weeks. I have come to understand a few things:

1. All of us have some skill God can use. You may not be a preacher or leader, but that does not mean you are unnecessary in God’s kingdom. Building and making things for God’s glory is a valid ministry. What skill do you have that God could use?

2. You may not lead but you can serve. There were numerous craftsman who helped Bezalel and Oholiab who never get mentioned by name. They served and brought glory to God without their name ever being mentioned. What is holding you back?

3. No matter what you do, be sure and teach someone else how to do it. It is easy to get the “I’ll do it myself” mindset. Sometimes projects are just easier done that way. I completely understand that thinking, but these two guys take the time to teach others. This makes their work easier in the long run. It helps to develop other people’s gifts. It allows my work to continue if something happens to me. Finally, it enabled the work to get done faster than two man could have done it alone. What ministry are you sharing with someone?

4. You may do something great and quickly be forgotten. I never remember hearing anything about these two guys in Sunday School or Church but that does not mean they were not pleasing to God. They performed a great act of service that blessed people for generations. Being famous is not the same as being faithful.

I am sure there are other lessons we could learn from these two Biblical characters but you get the idea. I guess I have been thinking about this because our Church is kicking off a Vacation Bible School (VBS) tonight. I have watched people serve behind the scenes designing, decorating, preparing food, getting lessons ready and preparing for a week with large group of kids. Some days I feel like Moses leading the people but I realize without all the Bezalels and Oholiabs the Church would get nothing done.


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