As a man, this is going to be hard to admit, but here it goes. When assembling children’s toys, I have not always perfectly followed the instruction manual. Christmas is an especially hard time for me. I can even remember one occasion when I did carefully try to follow the instructions, but still got something wrong. I had to disassemble it and start over. It can be annoying, but it’s not the end of the world. But what if the instructions were specifically given by God? That would come with a lot more pressure.
No Pressure, Israel
Exodus 25-30 gives Israel an incredibly detailed instruction manual for assembling the tabernacle along with intricate details for the priestly garments and consecration. As I read through these instructions (via my daily time in the ESV Reader’s Bible. You should check it out.), I found myself getting discouraged. What if someone doesn’t measure something right? What if they miss something? If you read through these chapters you will find that it is way more challenging than any children’s toy. And if Israel gets something wrong, it is not just annoying. It is an offense against God. I felt the weight of this as I read. I wondered, “Who could handle this pressure? This is too much.” And I was right. It is too much for any man. So a question came to mind, “Did God give Israel a job they could not do?” He did, then He equipped them to be able to do it.
Empowered By the Spirit
After the overwhelming demands of chapters 25-30 there is a sigh of relief. God says,
“See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship…And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you…”
Exodus 31:2-3, 6 NASB (emphasis mine)
There is one ingredient here that makes it possible for Israel to meet all of God’s demands: the Spirit of God. God did not make demands too heavy for Israel and leave them to collapse under the weight. He called out and empowered men from among them to be able to do the work by His Spirit.
This means God gave them a job they could only complete with God’s help which would result in the enjoyment of God’s presence for God’s glory. Notice that all of this is from God, through God, and to God.
I can relate to this. Maybe you can too. In our New Covenant times, God’s people are no longer responsible for temple and tabernacle measurements, but we are accountable to God for our lives and actions. If you are anything like me this can seem overwhelming. God’s standards are way higher than I could ever hope to meet on my own. But thanks be to God that Christ lived the life I couldn’t live, died the death I should’ve died, and gave me the life I could never earn. Because of His sacrifice I am now empowered by the same Spirit that Bezalel was. But instead of constructing a building, the Spirit is at work shaping me into a tabernacle pleasing to God. And the same goes for all who belong to Jesus.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NASB
So take courage, Christian. God has given you a job you can only complete with God’s help which will result in your enjoyment of God’s presence for God’s glory. And you have been empowered for the work from God, through God, and to God.