May 15, 2019

What Are Your Talents?

Exodus 36

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“Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whom the LORD has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.”

And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the LORD had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work. And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the LORD has commanded us to do.” So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more.

And all the craftsmen among the workmen made the tabernacle with ten curtains. They were made of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarns, with cherubim skillfully worked. The length of each curtain was twenty-eight cubits,1 and the breadth of each curtain four cubits. All the curtains were the same size.

10 He2 coupled five curtains to one another, and the other five curtains he coupled to one another. 11 He made loops of blue on the edge of the outermost curtain of the first set. Likewise he made them on the edge of the outermost curtain of the second set. 12 He made fifty loops on the one curtain, and he made fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that was in the second set. The loops were opposite one another. 13 And he made fifty clasps of gold, and coupled the curtains one to the other with clasps. So the tabernacle was a single whole.

14 He also made curtains of goats' hair for a tent over the tabernacle. He made eleven curtains. 15 The length of each curtain was thirty cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits. The eleven curtains were the same size. 16 He coupled five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves. 17 And he made fifty loops on the edge of the outermost curtain of the one set, and fifty loops on the edge of the other connecting curtain. 18 And he made fifty clasps of bronze to couple the tent together that it might be a single whole. 19 And he made for the tent a covering of tanned rams' skins and goatskins.

20 Then he made the upright frames for the tabernacle of acacia wood. 21 Ten cubits was the length of a frame, and a cubit and a half the breadth of each frame. 22 Each frame had two tenons for fitting together. He did this for all the frames of the tabernacle. 23 The frames for the tabernacle he made thus: twenty frames for the south side. 24 And he made forty bases of silver under the twenty frames, two bases under one frame for its two tenons, and two bases under the next frame for its two tenons. 25 For the second side of the tabernacle, on the north side, he made twenty frames 26 and their forty bases of silver, two bases under one frame and two bases under the next frame. 27 For the rear of the tabernacle westward he made six frames. 28 He made two frames for corners of the tabernacle in the rear. 29 And they were separate beneath but joined at the top, at the first ring. He made two of them this way for the two corners. 30 There were eight frames with their bases of silver: sixteen bases, under every frame two bases.

31 He made bars of acacia wood, five for the frames of the one side of the tabernacle, 32 and five bars for the frames of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the tabernacle at the rear westward. 33 And he made the middle bar to run from end to end halfway up the frames. 34 And he overlaid the frames with gold, and made their rings of gold for holders for the bars, and overlaid the bars with gold.

35 He made the veil of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen; with cherubim skillfully worked into it he made it. 36 And for it he made four pillars of acacia and overlaid them with gold. Their hooks were of gold, and he cast for them four bases of silver. 37 He also made a screen for the entrance of the tent, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, embroidered with needlework, 38 and its five pillars with their hooks. He overlaid their capitals, and their fillets were of gold, but their five bases were of bronze.

Footnotes

[1] 36:9 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters
[2] 36:10 Probably Bezalel (compare 35:30; 37:1)

What Are Your Talents?



Key Verse | Exodus 36:1

“. . . [E]very craftsman in whom the LORD has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.”

Bio | Jennifer Bradley

Hey! Here are some things to know about me:

• God has used a lot of great ministries at Watermark to change my life, including re:generation, GriefShare, Shift, Kaleidoscope, and, of course, my community group. 10/10 recommend.

• I'm a big fan of music and concerts, and I've made more than 100 playlists on Spotify if you ever need a recommendation. 

• If we go to a restaurant that has chicken fingers on the menu, that's what I'm getting every time.

Central Truth

Each of us has been given specific skills for a specific purpose commanded by God.

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Devotional | Exodus 36

This week, I've been watching Making It, a wholesome show hosted by Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope that brings craftsmen from all over the country in a friendly competition to build things with their hands. I...

This week, I've been watching Making It, a wholesome show hosted by Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope that brings craftsmen from all over the country in a friendly competition to build things with their hands. I can't relate to this skill that these contestants share with Bezalel and Oholiab, but it's cool to watch their God-given talents and think about how similar talents were used to build the tabernacle. 

Exodus 36 is full of good truths. It reminds us that God has given each of us skills to use for His kingdom (Exodus 36:1); it gives us a picture of generosity so great that God's people had to be restrained from giving (Exodus 36:3-6); and it shows us that while God has a grand, all-encompassing plan, He also cares deeply about the details (Exodus 36:8-38). My biggest takeaway is how everyone played a part to ultimately create something that pleased God. Whether it was Moses leading with God's command, the people bringing materials as freewill offerings, or the craftsmen carrying out the construction, God stirred the hearts of His people to each play a role, none less important than the other.

I used to feel resentful toward people who were really good at something, whether it was singing, sports, dancing, or making things. I'd try to think of my own natural talents and couldn't come up with anything worthy of mentioning in an icebreaker game. What I've come to realize is that God doesn't care about our talents—He cares about how we use them. In my case, I had to lay down my pride to stop trying to find an impressive hobby that I could "use for God" and start using my own testimony to do what we're called to do in the first place and just share Christ with people. When God calls us to do something, He provides the resources and ability to do it. And if it's not the glamorous path we had in mind for ourselves, then it's a good reminder that Someone else belongs at the forefront.

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Discussion Questions

1. What skills or talents has God given you? Are you using them for yourself or for His purpose?

2. Do you trust that God is using you as part of His bigger plan? If not, what's stopping you from believing this today?

3. Have you thought of ways to use your gifts or personal experiences to serve in the church? If loss is part of your story, check out GriefShare and Shift at Watermark. If you have a knack for hospitality, look into Frontlines. Or if you have talents in fine arts, check out the many opportunities within Watermark Arts

10 Comments available

Jay Caruso 6 days ago

Great stuff Jenifer thank you for your willingness to be caring vulnerable. Thank you for this part of your devo:

God stirred the hearts of His people to each play a role, none less important than the other.

Sharhonda Conner 10 days ago

Great and timely reminder Jennifer that it’s not about what our talents are, but how we use them. I struggle at times of feeling like I’m not good at anything because I compared myself to others. God was glorified by the Israelites who brought things to make the tabernacle, not just the ones who constructed it. Reminds me of 1 Corinthians 12 showing that we are all a part of the body and each part has a necessary place and purpose. And Psalm 138 tells us that He will fulfill His purposes for us.

Connor Roberts 10 days ago

The skills I am using are necessary but I get tired/resentful, sometimes don’t want to do it. However, the work being done is essential, I just pray that God changes my outlook so I do those things anyway. Is it OK to serve, many times hating the work, but knowing that you’re doing good for others/his kingdom? Bible says to serve with a happy heart but I have a hard time finding joy, but there’s nobody else filling this gap. If I stop, then 15 families won’t benefit anymore. Re. Q#1: This is for His purpose, but I get burned-out often and need prayer to go back over and over again.

Re. Q#2: This is part of God’s bigger plan. Perhaps I simply need to just ‘shut up and do it’ and eventually God will make it joyful. Going on 5 years now, still waiting for God’s timing on that.

greg jones 10 days ago

Starting in chapter 24 continuing for 7 chapters, detouring 3 chapters on the tablets and golden calf, then starting the tabernacle story again yesterday, I noticed this this morning. ESV translation uses the pronoun he starting in verse 10 which doesn’t match the tense. My NIV, edits the pronoun he with they which removes the question of purposeful edits or redactions coming the original writers from a lay reader like myself. Thank you JTJ for the ESV usage.

Sue Bohlin 11 days ago

Thanks, Jennifer.

As I read verse after verse describing the details of how the tabernacle was built out, I thought, “BOR-ING!! Why did God include all this repetitive detail?”

Then I remembered that as a whole, the Israelites were a disobedient, rebellious bunch. Since obedience seems to be one of God’s love languages, this chapter describes the heart-warming details of how He received and experienced love!

Team Bezalel-Oholiab did everything God told them to do, EXACTLY. It was a precious, heart-blessing demonstration of obedience!

Hope Harris 11 days ago

Gm JTJ

This mornings reading intersects with a discussion my Community Group had last on Spiritual gifts. I think that God gives us skills, gifts and talents; to honor and glorify Him and to strengthen others.

One person in our group stated that “we are called to steward our gifts.” John Piper says that our gifts are meant for the common good of others."

Our passage today we see people stewarding their gifts to honor and glorify God.

No matter what our skills, gifts and talents are we can glorify God and bless others with them.

Lindsey Driscoll 11 days ago

I noticed in verse 2 that this is who came to work “skilled (people) to whom the Lord has given ability and who (were) willing to come and do the work.” God assigned leaders in Bezalel and Oholiab but he also fairs everyone to come who was willing to do the work. Willingness is a heart issue that has nothing to do with skill. The Lord not only desires us to use our physical and mental skills, but he desires hearts surrendered to his will, his plans.

Hugh Stephenson 11 days ago

“And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the LORD had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work. “

I notice that God put the skill and intelligence in their mind, but each worker’s heart had to be “stirred up” on their own to come and do the work.

Clearly this was God’s calling as the people kept bringing offerings and ultimately had to be turned away.

A friend noted recently that he saw clearly God has given me purpose and passion – he observed not many people have both. With those come focus and endurance.

These skills play out in recovery ministries. A lifetime of addiction has given me a heart for those who also struggle.

His Word, His Spirit and His people equip me.

I am thankful for His gifts given for my good and His glory.

Michael Scaman 11 days ago

So many intricate details with loops and colors and types of material. The high outer walls would have to stand high desert winds and by tied down with appropriate stakes. The acacia wood helps keep things light enough to transport. The dull animal skins cover a treasure of what is inside.

Michael Scaman 11 days ago

SPOILER ALERT!

One of my favorite parts will be coming up as some women gave of their mirrors to make part of the tabernacle

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