21–27 February 2016.
At the start of today’s long passage from Exodus 31–33, we hear about two skillful craftsmen, Bezalel and Oholiab, who are chosen to decorate the tent where the Israelites worship God. Wouldn’t that be great, to be called out by God this way as someone with such special talents!
But in 31:6, God tells us that he is the one who has given us all our special skills and talents. So while Bezalel and Oholiab can use their skills to worship God, each of us also has a special skill of our own that we can also use for God’s praise. You don’t need to be a pastor or missionary to serve God. Instead you can take whatever skills you already have in business, in study, in sport, and use those for God’s glory. Some of the most important places where we can make something truly beautiful for God are in our loving relationships, and especially in the children we raise.
God gives us gifts and talents so that we can use them to love and serve him and each other. But sometimes we use the things we make to lead us away from God; and sometimes those things become an idol that replaces God. This was something that Aaron had to learn in Exodus 32.
After leaving Egypt the Israelites were full of religious excitement and emotion, and they wanted to express this emotion in praising God. But where was this invisible God? He was nowhere to be seen. So the Israelites decided to make an idol of this God so they could see him and worship him. So they gathered their gold together and in their religious excitement they made a golden calf. Moses was furious when he saw this, but the priest Aaron didn’t understand why it was such a problem. Isn’t religious fervor good? Well no; religious feelings are not always healthy or good or lead us in the right direction, especially if they lead us away from truly knowing and truly worshipping God.
But in everything we do, whether at work, play, or in the church, so long as the things we do are directed at truly serving God and others, then we should know that we are going in the right direction.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis