open-handExodus 31:1-6

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, 2 “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. 4 He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. 5 He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft!

6 “And I have personally appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to be his

assistant. Moreover, I have given special skill to all the gifted craftsmen so they can make all the things I have commanded you to make:

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After God miraculously delivers Israel from Egyptian bondage, He delivers the law to Moses. He then proceeds with a monstrous delivery of instructions to construct the tabernacle and its furniture, Moses receives a welcome announcement that He has already chosen the contractor and assistant! It is in this passage, He sums it up by telling Moses who He chose to execute his instructions.

When we consider the matter from the perspective of Moses, it would likely have been an unreal project download from Jehovah Himself, laden with incredible specifics. As you may recall, Moses’ most recent employer was his father-in-law Jethro, who had commissioned him with sheep in Midian and had been content to shepherd those sheep for somewhere near forty years. Before that, history tells us that Moses lived a rather privileged life as a member of the house of Pharaoh. Perhaps you could say he had a silver spoon in his mouth. It would be easy to imagine that Moses had little to do with the rigors of manual labor.

While I am sure that while the subject matter God was delivering was fascinating, I can imagine his disconnect from the work of it. In fact, I could imagine him thinking to himself that while it all sounded grand, how was it to be accomplished? It certainly couldn’t be me! I possess none of these skills required to build any of these items.

Of course, God ALWAYS has a plan.

He is God, after all.

Immediately after the seemingly mundane details of every item, God tells Moses that He has the persons that will do the work; Oholiab and Bezalel. The passage is interesting and rather matter of fact; almost as if was part of the end of the instructions. It is very much like the legend of an instruction manual that tells you the very tools you will need to do the job. In this case, He chose his men every bit as specifically as the materials, dimensions and design.

It is interesting how the scripture says it. “I have specifically chosen Bezalel, I have filled Him with the Spirit of God…” I love this! He goes on to state that he is a master craftsman, but all indications are that Bezalel didn’t even know that yet! The fact that he was a master craftsman was a direct result of the chosen-ness of God and that He placed the abilities, yet undiscovered, in him because of the SPIRIT OF GOD IN HIM! This is an exceptionally rare statement pre-New Testament. The Spirit was said to be IN people only on rare occasions in the Old Testament (Joseph, Joshua and Daniel).

I do not wish to take the literary record to a place it was never intended but I do want to highlight a certain aspect of this passage. That is, the Divine source of the gifts given to these men for a supremely important task by a Sovereign God. I find it remarkable to consider the recent past lives of these men. After all, these men, like all Israelites, were brick makers until the end. In addition, their lives had declined in slavery where God actually used the exodus to spoil the Egyptians of the silver and gold to fund their project of building the tabernacle. So there is little doubt that either Bezalel or Oholiab had ever done any type of work prior to this assignment for which they were born and specifically outfitted by God Himself! What a beautiful picture of grace!

To be clear, I do not believe for a moment that either of them had an ounce of experience with any of the things (special skills of craftsmanship) that were going to be asked of them. Just as surely as God used a young boy to take down a giant, a normal-looking man to take down Philistines and an unassuming son of a carpenter to change the course of human history; he chose these to fabricate the tabernacle.

So how does this apply to us?

There are times when God chooses us to utilize gifts for things we have no personal knowledge or skills to do His glorious work. The “boxes” aren’t checked and it doesn’t make sense. Why? His glory. He is glorified when our weakness in made perfect in His strength. The whole world can see the love of our Father as He accomplishes His will by His Spirit THROUGH US!

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. [2Co 12:9 NLT]

This belief, that God empowers and gifts us all, is fundamental to our approach in HH4H and short term missions. We have seen this gift come alive numerous times and in numerous ways through our volunteers. Some came without a real passion for missions but made themselves available for God and left with a distinct sense of direction for their life.

Let me share one case briefly.

One lady came to Haiti after having her marriage end. She literally told me that she was coming because she felt she had to, not because she really wanted to. However, she did say that she was ready for things to change in her life.sherri

Upon arrival in Haiti, to say that she was petrified is an understatement. She remarked that if possible, she would have gotten right back on a plane to go back home! She was a bit withdrawn and we knew she was going to be a challenge. We instructed our workers to pay special attention to her. Little did we know God would use a little girl at the orphanage to totally wreck her life; albeit in a good way.

Over the course of the next few days, we saw a metamorphosis that was unrivaled among our volunteers. It reminded us a bit of our own transformation after being introduced to Haiti. By the time she left Haiti, her faith was changed, her depth of compassion had changed and her total outlook on life changed. In fact, her daughters related to us that it spilled over into her everyday life with a renewed vigor and an especially positive outlook on life. Both personally and spiritually, she discovered purpose and was given the power to hope again.

She is returning with us again this year and is easily one of our strongest supporters and advocates of our ministry.

We could tell you about God touching young man in a Sunday morning service and his subsequent trip setting him on a path of spiritual freedom. Or about a lady unlocking the heart of a young man through simply involving him in a coloring project, thus initiating a transformation of a young man we had almost wrote off as impossible. Or a single teacher in from Florida spending her hard-earned money every year to come back and make a difference by teaching crafts, English, speaking to young ladies about real life subjects. Or another young lady who is gathering her own teams to bring them to Haiti to love on kids because her heart has been so touched with compassion. These are just a few. I could go on.

What do these and so many others have in common? They found something in their hands, but only when they stepped out in faith. To David it was a sling, to Moses it was a staff, to many of our volunteers it was a hammer while working on a roof in extreme sun and heat!

The beauty of this is when that special something God has given you can only be discovered when you exercise your faith. While it is yet undiscovered coupled with the fact that your hands have never touched it before just adds to the excitement and anticipation. When it happens, maybe you inspire a boy or girl, man or woman that would have otherwise went a lifetime without ever having been inspired.

One of our groups had a pretty awesome tee shirt with the following saying: I can’t do everything; but I can do everything I can!

That is the spirit of missions.

Let God bring out what He has put in YOUR hands. God knows what He has put in you; it is up to you to stretch out your hands in faith to discover it.