SOAP Journal – 11 January 2017 (Exodus 31:6)

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 31:6

Making all the parts of the tabernacle would be a behemoth undertaking. The list of skills needed is extensive, including weaving, carpentry, gold and bronze-smithing, leather-working, gem cutting, tailoring, perfuming, just to name the ones that spring readily to mind. Moses, though he had worked more than a couple jobs in his day, was not qualified to do it all.

Exodus 31:1 says Now the LORD spoke to Moses. This is something that Moses — any of us, really — is qualified to do: Listen to God. Moses has heard the description of everything; taken copious notes (I imagine); drawn diagrams and sketches (again, just my thoughts) and is probably feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task before him. This is where God steps in and starts talking. And what God has to say must have put Moses’ mind at ease.

God says, “I have called by name [two men] … and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you.” (vv 2, 6). Essentially, God tells Moses that He (God) has prepared a workforce capable of doing the things that need to be done in order to bring the tabernacle and all its accoutrements into existence. It is at this point that I imagine Moses heaving a sigh of relief. Not only does God say that a workforce is ready, but there are two men already set up to be foremen and have the necessary skill to oversee this undertaking.

This provides two lessons for me: one lesson for times when I may be called to lead and another when I am called to work.

First, the work. God gives different skills to different people. I have, over the years, been privileged to use the skills and abilities that God has given me in various capacities. I have been able to use my art abilities — meager though I may think them — to design things for events. I have been able to use my teaching abilities to teach The Bible to young and old — a privilege which is simultaneously humbling and exhilarating. This does, however, mean that I will not have All The Skills. I have my skill set and God placed those skills in me for reasons known to Him and revealed to me only as needed. My part is to keep my skills sharp and to be ready to ply them in God’s service when He calls me.

Second, the leadership. I have, on occasion, been asked to lead one thing or another. It is a step of faith on both the part of the one asking and me, because I do not fancy myself a leader. Still, God has brought me back to leadership positions from time to time. What I need to be mindful of is that God does not expect me to do everything when leading. God provides those who are capable and necessary to the larger work. Just as God has given me skills that can contribute to a larger endeavor, He has also given skills to others that can forward the plans He bids me lead. The old adage that no man is an island is seldom more true than in service to God.

Am I keeping my skills sharp so that I am ready to work when God calls me? Am I mindful that everyone has skills that contribute to the success of the plans God has?

Father, thank You for this reminder that the skills You give are given for a reason. Thank You that the work is not meant to be done alone, but to be shared out amongst Your children so that none of us bears too heavy a burden of work. Please keep me mindful of Your gifting of skills to all of Your children and spur me on to keep my skills sharp that they be ready for use when You want them.

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