“Look, I have appointed by name Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with God’s Spirit, with wisdom, understanding, and ability in every craft to design artistic works in gold, silver, and bronze, to cut gemstones for mounting, and to carve wood for work in every craft.
—Exodus 31:2–5 (CSB)
The Setting Described
God gave Moses the name of a specific individual who was given a particular task for the construction and beautification of the tabernacle. Bezalel was a skilled craftsman who had knowledge of metallurgy and gemstones. He used that knowledge to perform multiple tasks in the construction of the tabernacle. He was notably known for the construction and design of the ark of the covenant (Ex. 37:1–9).
The Scripture Explained
First, we see the Lord appointed Bezalel. God hand-picked him for this specific task. God knew his name, what family he belonged to, and which specific tribe he was a member of. God gave these names to Moses so he knew how to find him. But He was God, and He knew exactly who Bezalel was and how He gifted him to do this work for His glory.
Next, we see Bezalel was filled with God’s Spirit. People often debate about the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, as the Holy Spirit’s presence wasn’t fully recognized until after the ascension of Jesus. However, the Bible makes it clear the Holy Spirit was present and active from creation and all throughout the Old Testament. There was no limit to what God could do then, and there is no limit to what God can do today. He works when He desires to act for the furtherance of the gospel, not so people can see some show of power for their own benefit.
Finally, we see Bezalel had “wisdom, understanding, and ability in every craft to design artistic works . . . to cut gemstones . . . to carve wood for work in every craft.” God specifically skilled him in the task that He asked him to do. God didn’t just randomly select him, but He knew he could do the task because He gave him the ability to perform it. In addition to Bezalel, the book of Exodus speaks of how the Holy Spirit moved among the entire congregation of Israel and called them out to give their resources and talents for the work of God in their midst (Ex. 36:1–5). God does the same with His church today.
The Situation Applied
As God gifted Bezalel and the children of Israel to do the work of the tabernacle, He has gifted certain people to perform certain tasks within the body of Christ today.
In the context of missions, certain people should be assigned to particular trips based on their talent in a particular area, such as art or music. Their vocation should also be considered, and how that acquired skill set, such as medical knowledge or construction ability, can be used to assist missionaries. Allow me to share with you a couple examples.
I know a wonderful Christian woman at my church who is an amazing artist. She has become well-known for creating stage sets for Vacation Bible School and can cut foam into anything. Recently, she was sent to Uganda to “paint the gospel” on the walls of an orphanage so children and their families can walk into the front room and see the word of God displayed in story form with pictures and Scripture passages. She previously did this for the Baptist hospital in Tanzania run by the International Mission Board.
In my own life, I have seen God help me discover His will for my life in ministry. As someone who is handicapped, I didn’t understand how I could effectively serve the Lord without being able to stand for lengthy periods of time. I discovered God called me to sit in front of a computer and design Bible lessons, so others could teach the Word of God to the best of their physical abilities. I do teach occasionally, but the bulk of my ministry is preparing lesson plans others will use in their classrooms to effectively teach the Word of God.
How has God gifted you for the work of the kingdom? Do you have a specific skill set in construction, art, or music? Do you have knowledge as a medical or business professional that can aid missionaries in their task of gospel proclamation? You may not feel you have much to offer as a Christian if you don’t have seminary preparation, but God only asks for willing hearts surrendered to serve Him. The Holy Spirit will give you the words and opportunities if you yield to His call to use talents He has given you to further the kingdom of God around the world.
Bill Halladay serves as the staff writer at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In this role, he assists in the development of sermon-based curriculum for the discipleship ministries of the church. He believes in the importance of educating the next generation regarding the task of local and world missions.