Bible Readings for March 25th
Exodus 36 is written to describe the work of constructing the tabernacle, but this passage is also rich with insights about church leadership and ministry in the context of the new covenant church of Jesus Christ.
First, the text makes it clear that not only do Bezalel and Oholiab have significant skill, intelligence, knowledge, and craftsmanship to do everything needed for the construction of the entire tabernacle—working gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood (Ex. 35:31–33)—but also that Yahweh had filled these two with the Spirit of God (Ex. 35:31).
The work of building God’s tabernacle was not merely human artistry and craftsmanship—God himself was intimately involved in this work by his Holy Spirit. And in the same way, we should learn from this that there is not a single part of ministry—not even construction projects—that we can faithfully accomplish apart from the Spirit of God.
Second, Bezalel was from the tribe of Judah (Ex. 35:30) and Oholiab was from the tribe of Dan (Ex. 35:34)—in other words, these craftsmen were not Levites. Furthermore, Exodus 36:1 makes it clear that Yahweh was also calling other craftsmen to take part in building the tabernacle as well: “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.” As we talked about in yesterday’s meditation, Yahweh is graciously giving everyone (not just priests) a role in building his holy tabernacle.
Third, Yahweh not only had inspired Bezalel and Oholiab to lead this group of people whom God had given skill and intelligence (and whose hearts God had stirred; Ex. 36:2) to do the work, but he also called them specifically to teach (Ex. 35:34) the other people how to do this work.
This calls to mind Paul’s charge to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2: “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Paul had taught Timothy personally in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and here he explains that Timothy’s own call as a pastor was to teach other leaders in the church who could also teach other people the gospel. Personal training for ministry is the method that God has laid down to raise up new leaders for every succeeding generation.
As God builds his new covenant temple in the church, Exodus 36 offers us practical wisdom. We cannot be the church apart from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. We need everyone’s contributions to be the church God has called us to be, and we need to focus on training the next generation for faithful ministry.
What role has God appointed to you in the construction of his holy temple in the church?
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.