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  • Scott Watkins

We Labor, and He Builds



Bezalel and Oholiab were Jewish men who took part in the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. (You can read about them in Exodus 31 and 35).


These men were artisans whom God had blessed with special talents and instructed to build a tabernacle in the desert. God directed them to work with gold, silver, wood and various clothes to build a place of worship.


Previously, God had given Moses a detailed blueprint of this structure and its furniture. These were the plans Bezalel and Oholiab were to follow.


Putting myself in the place of these men, I can imagine how easy it might have been to dream about what I wanted to build. The community abundantly provided the building materials, and these artists were brimming with creativity and vision. If they were to build what they dreamed of, it wouldn’t be hard to justify. Their skills and the materials were from God and using them to build something for him would be a good thing, right?


But that is not what God called them to do. Bezalel and Oholiab’s mission was to labor skillfully and execute God’s design. He did not ask them to dream or plan, but to obey. Yes, they would employ their God given talents, but towards his end not their own.


Their apparent constraint reminds me of Psalm 127. “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1 NIV)


God calls us to labor. And God graciously gives us skills and resources to labor well. But he is the one who prepares the good works. God is the builder; we are the laborers.


So, acquire education, develop talents and gather resources. Spend your energy becoming highly skilled. Ask God to fill you with his Holy Spirit to do good works. But don’t forget God is the architect. It is his blueprint we follow. He wants to bring about an earthly manifestation of a heavenly reality through you, for his glory.